How Do You Work Out?

by Amy Saffell

In our “How Do You…” series, our writers, real women with disabilities, give their real life experiences and advice on how to get more out of living life from a chair. After  indulging throughout the holiday season, our writers answer the question “How Do You Work Out?” might be the perfect topic to kick off the year! Do you have your own tips, or do you have questions about the advice given? Head over to our Facebook page, and tell us what you think.

Freezing Festive Fashion No More!

By Wendy Crawford

For those of you living in the colder climates, do you find yourselves avoiding invitations to go out at night because it's freezing? Recently, I was invited to a holiday party and I was secretly wishing it was an ugly sweater party so I could bundle up and it wouldn't matter how I looked!  There's nothing worse to me than going out into the dark and getting in a cold car to go somewhere. Often I'm even cold once I get to a restaurant or someone's home because they don't keep the temperature high enough for my liking.

So it gets even more difficult when you have to dress up because often women's clothes aren't made for warmth (Why is that? Typically men don't get as cold yet they have ties, suit jackets and thicker sweaters. They should be the ones in the strapless dress!)

Well, thankfully I have figured out some options that will keep you looking festive but also warm:

Worldwide mobileWOMEN in Madrid, Spain

by Amy Saffell

Teresa Valle, mobileWOMAN in Spain
Some of our MobileWOMEN from around the world have shared with us what living life in a wheelchair is like in their country. What you read about the differences or similarities between their stories and life in the United States might surprise you. In this installment, we interviewed Teresa from Madrid,Spain.

Laughter Yoga Is The Best Medicine!

by Daryn Brown

Chronic pain is an epidemic. The Institute of Medicine of The National Academies[1] estimates that 100 million American adults live with chronic pain, yet there are few effective treatments. Doctors only receive about nine hours of[2] education focused on chronic pain management during the course of medical school, and The National Institute of Health (NIH) spends only about 1% of their budget on researching chronic pain. Judy Foreman[3], a highly respected medical journalist for many years before she developed chronic pain, recently wrote a book “A Nation in Pain: Healing our Biggest Health Problem,”[4] about how little doctors know and understand chronic pain and how it works.

Caregivers: What I've Learned After 28 Years

by Lorraine Cannistra writer, Lorraine Cannistra and her service dog, Leah
I have heard the words hundreds of times, but they never get easier to take.  When a good caregiver tells me that they have been accepted to nursing school or are otherwise moving on, my congratulations are always genuine, but they are coupled with a flutter of fear in my heart.  Will I find someone else just as good?  Being born with cerebral palsy means that I am a full-time wheelchair user, and there are many things in my day-to-day routine that I cannot accomplish on my own.

The Raw Beauty Project

by Kara Aiello writer, Kara Aiello
Recently, I was honored to join Wendy Crawford and other members in viewing the second annual Raw Beauty Project in NYC, the first being held in 2006 in Miami Florida.  Raw Beauty Project NYC consisted of 20 models with various physical disabilities and was held at the ACA Galleries on September 20, 2014.  About 200 people were at the exhibit many of whom use wheelchairs themselves.  But the project also brought out family members, friends and many others who wanted to see what this rare event was about.

mobileWOMEN Looks North at Accessibility in Canada

by Amy Saffell

We had such a great response to the story about Sarmistha Sinha, a wheelchair user in India (, that we wanted to explore the lives of more women living internationally. This time, we meet Louise Sertsis in southern Ontario, Canada. We expect that women living in developing countries like India, might face more challenges than someone living in the United States, but what about our friends to the north? Are there more challenges for women with disabilities there?

Born Disabled vs. Becoming Disabled: Learning from Each Other

by Alicia Reagan

I was paralyzed in March of 2009. I was married, had 5 children, was pregnant with my 6th, helped my husband in the ministry and led a very active life. Then, I got sick. Really sick. I was in a tremendous amount of pain. I went to bed hoping to sleep it off. When I woke up 24 hours later, I could not feel or move my body from ribs down and my arms were very weak and heavy. Diagnosis: Transverse Myelitis.

Since that time, I have made many friends who are paralyzed. I LOVE social media and the connections that you can make. There are so many wonderful places online to connect with others like me. I have taken advantage of that and tried to make as many connections as possible so that my circle is bigger than just myself. It is therapeutic to get beyond yourself.

The ZCO/Dance Project - Dancing Beyond Disability

by Zazel-Chavah O’Garra

ZCO/Dance Project is a dance company that consists of six women and two men, all with disabilities. ZCO showcases the talent of its dancers, demonstrating “Dancing beyond Disability” with grace, charm, perseverance, soul and power!

As Artistic Director of ZCO, I would like to announce the performance of “Journey” on October 9th. “Journey” is a show that I produced, conceived and directed and will take place at the Dixon Place Theatre in New York City. "Journey" fervently explores the triumphs and challenges that we have as disabled dancers.

After becoming a disabled dancer 12 years ago, I knew I wanted to expand my creativity, so I invited other disabled artists to join me in this performance to celebrate their. From my experience and in talking to my company members, I've noticed we aren't always treated as professionals because of our disabilities. I don’t believe that these circumstances should overshadow our talents and steal our humanity.

My project is valuable to everyone because, at its core, it is about the humanity and expressing the spirit our circumstances.  We, as artists, want people to realize that everybody can dance despite their physical challenges. Our goal is to do away with the misconceptions that people have of persons with disabilities. 

Raw Beauty is All Around – A Raw Beauty NYC Model’s Reflection

By Emily Ladau

As a visibly disabled woman, I’m often made to feel during public outings that I am on display. Using a wheelchair makes me noticeable, turning me into a sight that – despite it being the 21st century – still causes far too many people to stare as though I’m an otherworldly museum piece. My body is not my own in the eyes of society, but rather an exhibit open to insensitive jokes about my disability and unsolicited comments about my appearance. I’ve spent my life shielding my self-confidence from the barrage of remarks, and yet there are times when even my thick skin begins to feel worn.

Raw Beauty Project NYC is a project that set out to change all this, and I have the honor of being part of it. I first discovered a call for prospective models on Twitter, inviting women with disabilities who are advocates and leaders to apply for the opportunity to be photographed for an exhibit showcasing their “raw beauty.” I was intrigued, but something caused me to hesitate: was I willing to go outside my comfort zone and purposely put myself on display when I’d already felt exposed for so long? How lucky I am that I took a risk and applied, because being chosen to model proved to be an experience I’ll carry with me always.

Climbing to New Heights

by Amy Saffell

Being a wheelchair user doesn’t typically mean feeling tall or towering over others. Far too often, those of us who navigate life on wheels don't get to try adventurous sports easily in our own city, either, however I recently had an experience that reverses both of those trends: climbing.

Nashville held its first adaptive climbing clinic at our local climbing gym, Climb Nashville, with the help of Catalyst Sports, the largest adaptive climbing program in the country. Catalyst is based in Atlanta and travels throughout the southeast to implement adaptive climbing programs in various cities. With the success of Catalyst’s efforts, other organizations in different areas are taking note, and adaptive climbing has spread across the country in recent years. The sport has become popular enough that this year marked the first USA Paraclimbing National Championships, with top competitors advancing to the World Cup.
Amy in the Wellman Chair
I had previously climbed once using a chair pulley system, known as the Wellman Chair, created by and named for Mark Wellman. Wellman was injured as a young adult climbing in the Sierra Nevadas and lost the use of his legs. He not only didn’t stop climbing, but he has since climbed some of the world’s toughest peaks and lit the 1996 Paralympic cauldron by climbing to its top. He has also become dedicated to helping other people with disabilities learn to climb. My first experience with the Wellman Chair was at a convention center with somewhat low ceiling. I knew that I didn’t get the full experience of what I could accomplish in climbing then, but it made me eager to try again.
The Nashville climbing clinic also had a Wellman Chair setup, but I first wanted the opportunity to climb the wall. Able-bodied climbers use their legs for balance and support, and I knew that it would be much harder to only use my arms, but I was up for the challenge. 


Igniting a global conversation about beauty! 

On September 20, 2014 in New York, meet the people who started THE RAW BEAUTY PROJECT,  Pulitzer Prize Winner, Models, National Speakers on Disability and Dating.

It's an evening dedicated to Women with Disabilities, it YOUR time, it's OUR time, THIS EVENT CELEBRATES WOMEN WITH DISABILITIES, BE PART OF THE CELEBRATION!

Buy your tickets on-line now for RAW BEAUTY PROJECT NYC! If you can't attend, please consider a donation.

What is True Beauty?

As the Gallery Reception for The Raw Beauty Project NYC, fast approaches, we thought this insightful article by one of our contributors, would be fitting. Tickets and sponsorships are still available. For those of you that can not attend, please consider giving a donation to keep the project going and to benefit the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. No amount is too small!

By Kara Aiello

 As a woman who lives with a disability, I know the stigma that I face in a culture that values a perfect body, particularly among women.  My body may not arouse “babe’ fantasies in the eyes of some when I wheel past them.  This is something I have struggled and lived with so much of my life and making peace with my body has been a challenge for me like no other.

Born with brittle bones or osteogenesis imperfect, I have had many fractures that have caused me to be petite in stature. To see me, you would notice I have very petite legs as that is where the brunt of my fractures took place.  I also have a very small torso due to a curvature of the spine called scoliosis.

The Raw Beauty Project NYC Teams Up with the Reeve Foundation to Host a Groundbreaking Photography Exhibit

To challenge the definition of beauty, The Raw Beauty Project NYC will unveil photos of twenty women living with physical disabilities founder, Wendy Crawford

To ignite a global conversation and transform stereotypes, The Raw Beauty Project NYC has partnered with the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation to showcase an exhibit of photographs featuring twenty women living with various types of disabilities. Proving there is no singular definition of beauty, the photographs will be unveiled at ACA Galleries on September 20, 2014, with proceeds from the event benefiting the Reeve Foundation.

Lucky Wheeling Soul

by Katie Rodriguez Banister

I sat with God before I arrived
Requesting abilities until age twenty-five
A planned accident put me in a chair
Some would say with a life so
I chose this life because I had to learn
And I know after there is no hell to burn

Wilderness Inquiry’s Kayaking Trip

by Kara Aiello

Well, it’s summer time again and what better way to enjoy it and beat the heat, then to get out and play in the water.  And as someone who considers herself a fish, the water is where I love to be.  Recently, I wrote an article about a wonderful organization called Wilderness Inquiry (WI) who are out of Minneapolis and provide trips for people both nationally and internationally.  I took a dog sled trip with them in Northern Minnesota back in 2011 along the Canadian border and had the time of my life. But this was not my first trip with them. Back in 2004, I took my first summer excursion in which I went Kayaking on Lake Superior while camping on the Apostle Islands.

Empowerment in Employment

by Christinne Rudd

As kids, everyone has spent some time dreaming about what they want to do for a career when they grow up.  Being a person with a disability may not even be a factor when choosing a career path.  Someone once told me people choose their career path subconsciously, not only based on what they enjoy doing, but also based on their personal strengths.  Not only did that statement sound logical to me at the time; but makes a lot of sense even today.

Worldwide mobileWOMEN - India

by Amy Saffell
Sarmistha Sinha

I have a pretty sunny outlook on life, but, at times, I still find myself lamenting about certain aspects of having a disability. Accessibility issues, wheelchair malfunctions, healthcare, insurance, transportation issues, attitudinal barriers…there is a lot to deal with sometimes. I do try to put it all into perspective, and one of the things that I think about is how different my life might be if I lived in another country, particularly one where the resources for people with disabilities are scarce and the society’s views of people with disabilities aren’t positive. I’ve always wanted to know what life was like for someone with a disability living abroad, so I jumped at the chance to interview Sarmistha Sinha, a woman living in India with a spinal cord injury. Her struggles and the way that she has persevered have certainly left an impression on me, as I hope it will you.

Accessible Camping with KOA

by Rebecca Sanchez

Summer has at last arrived. My husband and I have been discussing where to take the kids on vacation for the last couple of days. We both know that picking a vacation spot also means spending time doing research to find out about accessibility for any trip we're considering. However, we have learned that it does not matter how much research we do because once we arrive at the destination, it may not be as accessible as was expressed to us by phone. For instance, one hotel described their bathroom as having grip bars, a shower chair, and an accessible shower. When we got there, there were no grip bars, the shower chair was not stable, and the shower was definitely not accessible. But setbacks like these don't stop my family and I from venturing out of our comfort zone to find new vacation destinations and ideas. 
Last Labor Day weekend we’d planned a family trip to San Antonio, Texas. My cousin had suggested that instead of staying at a hotel in which the kids would be cooped up, we stay at the KOA (Kampgrounds of America) campsite. I had never heard of the KOA campsite and was weary about the idea of the bathroom being in a separate building than our cabin. Nonetheless, we gave the idea of camping a try!

Parenting with a Disability: Overcoming Society's Expectations with Love and Confidence

by Christinne Rudd

Being a mom is a challenging role for anyone. Add having a disability to the mix and the adventure has just begun. Getting to know how your limitations are going to affect your ability to parent and finding out what's available to help you get the job done combined are like solving a puzzle. Then once the baby arrives, you have to get adjusted to him or her at each stage of life, all the while finding ways to meet the everyday challenges of parenting.  

Even though these aspects of parenting may sound overwhelming, the role of parent can be lots of fun because it allows you the opportunity to have a hand in our society's future viewpoints. When it comes to the topic of our society's viewpoint in today's world, in my experience, people seem to automatically discount your ability as a parent just because of the physical limitations you exhibit to the rest of the world.

Beauty On Wheels

By Katie Rodriguez Banister

En guard mirror
I see you taunting me in my chair
So shiny and gleaming
The morning rise
I rub my eyes and peep into your flat form
I’ve seen enough!
I want to start my day rolling
In empowering ways
If I sit before you too long
I might not leave the house
You reflect my soul’s suitcase
A wheeler who rides
Let’s pimp that ride
Your response? 
“Not so much”
There’s another blemish
A new wrinkle there
And what’s with all the chin hair?
Tweezers to the rescue
Ouch! Hey! That hurt!
Sake of beauty
Sake of beauty
Be kind to me glass
Reflecting what is before you
The truth
There are days
I cannot and will not
Handle the truth!
Real beauty comes from the inside
Beauty’s form we cannot hide
I use to think beauty was skin deep
Facials and peels and a good night’s sleep
Ageing in my chair
Has taught me to think in different ways
No more riding the beauty craze
I turned off the TV
To see the real me
I looked in the mirror and a great surprise
I decided, “I’m not buying the media’s lies”
My skins not perfect and my hair can be a mess
But I now look into my mirror and roll on with finesse
Katie Rodriguez Banister, pictured with her husband Steve, co-founded and is a speaker, author, and actor who enjoys sharing her perspective with the hope to help and empower others. Katie has been a woman on wheels since an auto accident in 1990, at the age of twenty-five, who believes you may not always be in control of what happens but you can control how you react to it.  It’s not easy, but knowledge is power and please note; Katie’s a work in progress.

"From the Heart" – My Journey to TEDx

By Wendy Crawford
Back in late February of this year, I received a phone call from my sister-in-law, excited because she had recommended that I be a speaker at a TEDx, Traverse City, Michigan. The night before, she had been at a party and met a previous speaker and he was looking for potential nominees. Although, I appreciated her enthusiasm and support, I was wondering what was expected of me and could I pull it off. For those of you not familiar, TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world. Depending on the location, some TEDx conferences recruit speakers through nominations and others may nominate themselves but must go through a rigorous process to be chosen.

After sending my biography and going through three different interviews over the phone, I was accepted as a speaker. I was so honored but at the same time, I had mixed emotions as I knew it wasn’t going to be easy and the anxiety started to kick in. Two of the people that interviewed me had been previous speakers and both had said that it was an amazing experience but also pushed them to their limits. Both of these men were heads of huge companies and so I thought if it was a stretch for them, how was I going to do this? I did public speaking years ago when I was first injured as I was a victim of a drunk driving accident but in a way, that was easier because I was just telling my story to students and community groups and answering questions. This was different as I was speaking with incredible movers and shakers AND I was to create something that shifted the way people think. I'm not an astronaut discussing my latest voyage to another planet nor a scientist who has created a world changing invention!

How Do You…Adapt When You Travel?

By Amy Saffel Contributor, Amy Saffell

We’re starting a new series at! We have a leadership team of experienced women chair users who want to pass on some of our wisdom that we’ve gained over the years about how to successfully live life from our chairs. Maybe you’re new to using a chair and wonder just how it’s truly possible to do the things that you once enjoyed. Or maybe you’re a longtime chair user. It’s always surprising to me that despite being in a chair for over 30 years, I get stuck in a rut with my old way of doing things and can always learn a new way of doing something from someone else. We hope for you, too, that these articles are helpful. We’re also not naïve enough to think that we have all of the answers. Share your tips on our Facebook page, and feel free to ask your own “How do you…?” questions for future articles.
Since it’s summertime when many people are eager to travel, I posed the question, “How do you adapt when you travel?”. You can build a routine based on familiar surroundings of your home, but all of that goes out the window when you travel and are somewhere totally new. People with disabilities should feel free to see the world, in whatever way personally possible, and here are some tips for doing it.

Travel Should Be Inclusive - Not Exclusive

By Tarita Davenock

Some of us are lucky enough to fall into careers that we love, where just coming to work is a joyful part of the day. Fewer have been purposeful, have seized the brass ring and gotten into those careers through hard work, perseverance and, yes, even a little bit of luck. The path to Tarita Davenock’s dream career was decided by an entirely different kind of luck. A social worker whose specialty was in helping children and adults with special needs, she had stability; her BAs in English and Psychology ensured the future of that stability. In fact, as a candidate for a Master’s Degree, all she needed was a bit of time and some creative budgeting and the world, a world she had traveled extensively, would be her oyster.

The Power of Dance

By Kara Aiello

Dance is an art form that only the human body can express. Throughout the world, one sees dance as an expression to its culture, identity and visual beauty.  And when it is shared, we get a richer understanding of the world around us. Because of this, I feel dance can teach us about possibilities and help break stereotypes and that certainly happens when people with disabilities take to the dance floor.

I began my journey into dance many, many moons ago, also known as the early 1990’s when my Aunt Arlene, who lives in Grosse Pointe MI, saw a dance demonstration that utilized sit down and stand up dancers. The lead was Mary Verdi-Fletcher, a woman born with Spina Bifida and who uses a wheelchair for mobility.  Learning the art of dance on her own, she paralleled her siblings dance moves using her chair and made it her own. Eventually, she would form Dancing Wheels and marriage it with the Cleveland School of Ballet, an organization that invites dancers of all abilities to come during the summer for a week and learn to dance.

Adaptive Jean Designer Receives Major Grant to Boost Production

By Kelly Rouba
Model and reality TV star, Angela Rockwood in ABL Denim
Jeans Offer Unique Features for Individuals with Mobility and Sensory Issues
LOS ANGELES, CA- ABL Denim recently received $250,000 through Mission Main Street Grants to further production and marketing of its line of premium adaptive jeans for men, women, and children.
“It was quite an honor to be selected as a grant recipient,” said Stephanie Alves, founder and owner of ABL Denim. “The grant has been received. We’ve since been able to provide faster delivery, as I am now able to produce small production runs with factories in Los Angeles that can meet greater demands as we grow.”
Alves was one of 35,000 small business owners who competed for a share of $3 million in grants from Chase. ABL Denim was one of only 12 businesses selected. Winners were also invited to Google’s headquarters in California to participate in a marketing workshop.

Memorial Day: Red, White and Blue Salad

By Robyn Keller
I thought, since Memorial Day was this weekend, I would try to find a recipe that would be great for a picnic, but also follow a patriotic theme. I looked around and found this salad that I thought would be perfect once I added a few ingredients.  It’s a spinach salad with strawberries, blueberries and feta. Can you see where I’m going with the Red, White and Blue? Spinach is a great source of Vitamin C and A,  and it is loaded with flavonoids, which act as antioxidants, protecting the body from free radicals. Plus we are adding strawberries and blueberries, which are also loaded with fiber, potassium, and Vitamin C.  So this salad is not only delicious, it’s GOOD for you!! 

mobileWOMAN Bethany Hoppe's TEDx Nashville Speech

By Bethany Hoppe

One of the items on my “Bucket List” included speaking for a TEDx Event.  That amazing dream came true this past March when I spoke on behalf of women with disabilities at the TEDxNashville Conference, March 22nd, 2014. 

As a professor of Communication Studies, I guide hundreds of nervous students through the public speaking process every semester.  And even though I have delivered many speeches, conducted workshops, served as a Keynote, and facilitated seminars…the icing on the speaking experience being connected to TED gave me a small dose of what my nervous students go through! 

Journeying through the process, I found that I was changing how I go about speech development that seemed un-natural to me, which ultimately became one of the greatest learning lessons for me to learn while advocating on such a platform.  All competitions tell you to be yourself – whether you’re in a speech debate, pageantry, or running for an office – and it couldn't be more true statement.

Raw Beauty NYC, An Innovative Photography Exhibit is Searching for Exceptional mobileWOMEN!

Dr. Susan Solman, previous 2006 Raw Beauty model

“Raw Beauty NYC” is an innovative visual arts project designed to inspire the public to create new perceptions, transform stereotypes and breakthrough personal obstacles by expanding awareness of women with physical challenges.
This ground breaking photography exhibit is a collaboration between high-profile photographers and twenty women with living with various types of disabilities to showcase their true beauty, empowerment and sensuality. The audience will glimpse into the lives of these incredible women through photography and learn more about their stories.

Featured mobileWOMAN, Maggie Redden

Ms. Wheelchair NJ 2013, 2008 Beijing Paralympian, harpist who performed at Carnegie Hall, certified scuba diver, and ski instructor are just a few of the hats Maggie Redden has worn. A paraplegic Polio survivor who was adopted, at age two from India, by a single mother, Maggie attributes her independence and sense of “live life to the fullest” to her mother, Patricia Redden. Her mother encouraged her to go after her dreams from a young age. Growing up in Jersey City, NJ, with her younger sister Mariya Redden, Maggie has never let her disability define her.

Not one to sit idle, Maggie currently works at Heightened Independence and Progress, a Center for Independent Living, as the Transition Coordinator, helping individuals with disabilities towards achieving self-sufficiency and independence. She is also an Interpretation Associate at Liberty Science Center and just completed an internship with the NGO Committee on the Status of Women (which works with UN Women and the Commission on the Status of Women) and is a student at Saint Peter's University, pursuing her Masters of Public Administration.

Conflict: Your Fault, My Fault, No Fault

By Dr. Julie Ann Allender 

A son disappoints a Mom once again for Mother’s Day and the first instinct is to share with him the hurt and anger that he continues to create. What makes it even more difficult is that others would ask what the son did on Mother’s Day and the Mom wasn’t able to say he did much to make her feel appreciated. Was she a bad Mom?

The Mom had two days to think about it. He called the following night. His response was when the Mom’s affect was clearly not cheerful was to say, “What did I do wrong Now?” She was tired of saying the same old thing over and over, year after year. She said, “I wasn’t willing to talk about it and we could talk about something else. She had nothing to offer at that point and neither did he, so they hung up both knowing it felt bad.

He called back a few minutes later trying again. This time he responded in a more positive manner and started a conversation that was to last approximately 30 minutes. It was a pleasant conversation. They didn’t talk about the real issue. She asked him about his summer and if he had talked to his wife about this summer when he was going again to his summer job a few hundred miles away about the conflict that occurred the previous summer. He said no. “You know mom I don’t like conflict.” Avoiding conflict creates a much harsher form of conflict. It is similar to the saying that, “Not making a decision is making a decision” and carries consequences.

mobileFRIENDLY Recipe: Asparagus with Balsamic Marinade

By Robyn Keller contributor, Robyn Keller
Spring is here, at least according to the date it is!  I’m still waiting for the weather to reflect it. One indication that it is spring is all the beautiful asparagus you can find in the grocery store so I thought I would share this asparagus recipe with you. It has been a go-to recipe in my family for years!  It pairs well with fish, poultry or pork; and since Easter is coming soon, what better side dish to serve with your ham?
I recently was reading online at Eating Well about the 5 health benefits of asparagus.
  1. It is a very good source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells.
  2. This herbaceous plant—along with avocado, kale and Brussels sprouts—is a particularly rich source of glutathione, a detoxifying compound that helps break down carcinogens and other harmful compounds like free radicals. This is why eating asparagus may help protect against and fight certain forms of cancer, such as bone, breast, colon, larynx and lung cancers.

The Hibernation is Over - Get In Shape with WHEELSTRONG SPORTS!

By Wendy Crawford

Rachelle Chapmen demonstrates bar exercise
With spring fast approaching (we hope!), it's time to wake up our bodies after a long, grueling winter. Many of us crawled under our warm and fuzzy blankets, munching on comfort food and binge-watched our favorite series on Netflix to make it through this year's  record breaking snow storms!

Soon, if not already for some, we will start shedding our layers so it's time to get active and get in shape. You will feel better, enjoy the health benefits, look better and give your mood a boost. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain, give you a positive feeling and help you sleep. What could be better?

Fortunately for us, there is an online community that can help motivate us and share ideas so we can reach our workout goals, WHEELSTRONG SPORTS, Inc. had the opportunity to speak with the founder,  Matthew Celeberto.

mW: Tell us about WHEELSTRONG SPORTS, Inc.
MC: We at WHEELSTRONG SPORTS want to unite athletes of adaptive sports into the WHEELSTRONG community. Our Goal is to inspire, motivate, encourage, support, innovate and give back to others of all levels and capabilities to help accomplish their goals. In just over 4 years, WHEELSTRONG SPORTS has donated over $4,000 in money and merchandise.We are uniting adaptive sports and the athletes that play.

Is Therapeutic Chiropractic Massage for You?

By Bethany Hoppe

I remember feeling guilty yet energized by the awkwardness of stripping down in the middle of the afternoon.  A total interruption to my normal day, I slid hesitantly between the cool sheets, stretching my limbs, flexing my fingers, and flattening my back into the warmth of the plush cushioning that embraced by tiny body.  

It was leisurely. 

It was relaxing.  

It took the edge off my nerves, and soothed my frazzled hectic schedule into nothingness.  I felt like I had indulged in a fine wine without taking a sip.

Who knew that therapeutic chiropractic massage was so beneficial?

Before I began to use my manual chair full-time, I meandered around the farm, school, town, and later the campus on standard crutches. The benefit of this was virtual accessibility to just about any building I would ever want to go to.  Plus, it kept the pounds off, the muscles built, and my core strength pretty stellar.

The drawback was the wear and tear on my arms, hands, and shoulders.  Eventually, around 1997 I chose to use my chair more or less full time.  By 2000 I was seated at all times.  The benefit was the nerve and sensory recovery for my arms and hands, as well as less wear and tear on my body for my best longevity in health.  The drawback was a loss in metabolism, and a pretty quick weakening of my core.  

Teal Sherer's "My Gimpy Life" a Relatable, Laugh-out-Loud Online Comedy Series

Teal Sherer
by Cheryl Price

Picture an extremely crowded restaurant. Tables are lined up without room to spare, leaving the smallest paths to pass. Now imagine running a few minutes late to meet a blind date. You enter this restaurant and see him at a faraway table. The goal, of course, is to make it to that table in a nonchalant yet confident manner. Sounds easy enough, right?

In the episode titled “Crowded,” from season one of “My Gimpy Life,” Teal is this woman at the restaurant. The star of the web sitcom doesn’t want to stand out, however she must ask most of the restaurant diners to move their chairs so that she can get through…with her wheelchair.

“Excuse me!”


“Can you move in a little, please?”

Can you relate? I know I can! While watching this episode last year, I nodded and laughed at this and many other awkward scenarios Teal found herself in, and my reaction continued throughout the remainder of the season.

Life Lessons My Kids Are Learing From Having a Disabled Mom: People Can Be Ignorant

By Annae Jones
Reprinted with permission from
The Mobility Resource

Most of us have had an unkind word thrown at us or have been the recipient of an ignorant comment. I have had people tell me how disgusting it was when I picked something up with my foot at the grocery store and once, a man insist my mother had taken drugs while she was pregnant with me – a far cry from the truth.
Then while being denied special needs transportation for our daughter, a kindergartener, when my son was only two and it was difficult for me to get him in a car seat; my husband and I had a public service worker tell us we should have thought about that before we had children.  These examples are on the extreme side and I usually tune out “ignorant” comments, but now that my children are getting older I worry about them being exposed to this cruel side of human nature.
I am not delusional. I know my kids will experience ignorance. It is a part of life-learning to understand where these comments come from and what to do about them.  My real worry is if my children will think less of me when they hear something about their mom. Will they be embarrassed? Will they begin to think that something is wrong with me?