More than Fifty Years Later, Quadriplegic Deauville Continues to Beat the Odds

Lani Deauville
When 17-year Lani Deauville dove from a seawall on a Jacksonville, Florida, beach in 1958, it didn't seem particularly risky. After all, the athletic champion diver was used to diving from bridges, racing cars at high speeds and generally, as Deauville remembers, "performing any scary activity I could think of." With this particular dive into shallow water, however, Deauville slammed hard into the ocean floor, breaking the fourth, fifth and sixth cervical vertebrae in her neck.

Deauville was paralyzed from the neck down. "If you broke your neck in the 1950s," explains Deauville, "you died. If you survived the initial injury, the life expectancy of a quadriplegic back then was five years." Quadriplegics typically have to battle of variety of health complications, including urinary tract infections, pneumonia, central nervous-system infections, gastrointestinal ulcerations, osteoporosis and bowel blockages.

Deauville refused to accept her fate. She changed from a neurosurgeon to an orthopedic surgeon when the neurosurgeon wouldn't recommend surgery to stabilize her neck, because he thought her case was hopeless. After getting neck-stabilization surgery and spending a year and a half in the hospital fighting skin ulcers, spasms and infections, Deauville became the first quadriplegic patient of the State of Florida's Vocational Rehabilitation Agency.

The “Original” Roller Girl

by Tammy Wilber
AKA “Hot Wheels, # T-5/6”

When most people think of Roller Derby, the Drew Barrymore movie “Whip It” usually comes to mind. But not everyone has the opportunity to watch Roller Derby live. Fortunately though, the sport is rapidly increasing in popularity across the nation.

I didn’t have any exposure to Roller Derby until 2006, when one of my co-workers invited me to watch her. At the time I was Ms. Wheelchair Washington and was looking for some interesting and different ways I could break down the stereotypes of people with disabilities. Watching Roller Derby on that day, I became inspired to get involved. Roller Derby is not a wheelchair sport, but watching these women on skates speed around the track, I knew that I belonged in this arena somehow. I loved the fact that it was a women-dominated sport, but I wondered what role I could possibly play. After some brainstorming, the idea came up for me to be the flag bearer during the National Anthem. As long as I didn’t have to sing, I was up for the part. Once I was flag bearer for the first time, I was hooked! 

Enter our First Ever mobileWOMEN Photo Contest

mobileWOMEN, it is time for our first-ever photo contest. We want you to look through your photos or think of taking a new one the depicts "The Ultimate mobileWOMAN." Along with your photo, you'll need to write a paragraph of approximately 150 words or more explaining how this photo in fact highlights "The Ultimate mobileWOMAN." Remember, being a mobileWOMAN encompasses so much and doesn't solely refer to a woman who's physically active; therefore, remember to think outside the box and show us what makes you a reflection of the community we represent!

IMPORTANT:  To be eligible to win, contestants must be registered in the Community Forum. If you are not yet signed up, it is free and only takes a couple of minutes. Visit to join our Community. If you have any problems doing so, please email

We will judge each photo on the following criteria:

Relevance to category- Does the photo illustrate a mobileWOMAN?
Creativity- Does the photo have a unique quality, without being the standard posed shot?
Technical quality- Photo is clear, unblurred, no distraction from the subjects.
Overall impression- How does the photo impact us?
The winner of "The Ultimate mobileWOMAN" contest will receive a $50 gift card, an official coffee mug, and a Chair Flair cover, a fashionable accessory that turns ordinary wheelchairs into extraordinary wheelchairs. Thank you Chair Flair for generously donating to our contest. Please visit for more information on these stylish covers.

It's time to show us your winning photo! Deadline for entry is Sunday, November 20. Email photo entries in .jpg or .tif format to will contact the winner via e-mail by Friday, November 25, 2011.

Ask mobileWOMEN's Financial Advisor--Health Insurance and Pre-Existing Conditions

by Matthew McManus

Dear Matthew,

For those of us with physical disabilities who need health insurance to cover our pre-existing conditions but are not working, what do you suggest?

Jen from Florida

Dear Jen,

Thanks for your email. I completely understand your concerns regarding obtaining medical insurance if you have disability. It’s a tough hurdle to overcome but hopefully this information will point you in the right direction.