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Mary Verdi-Fletcher of Dancing Wheels Says If You Can’t Walk, Dance - 1

Dancing Wheels Lifts People Up Worldwide With Integrative Dance Programs

Editor’s Note: Mary Verdi-Fletcher of Cleveland, Ohio, is the president/founding artistic director of Dancing Wheels Company & School and oversees the operation of the organization.  Wheel:Life sat down with Mary to talk about the adaptive dance program she created and the vast number of people’s lives worldwide that are better for being part of it.

Mary Verdi-Fletcher of Dancing Wheels Says If You Can’t Walk, Dance

Mary Verdi-Fletcher of Dancing Wheels Says If You Can’t Walk, Dance

“Being part of the Dancing Wheels Company really has changed my life,” Tanya Ewell of Cleveland, Ohio, says. After Tanya’s injury, she stayed home for a couple of years. She felt there wasn’t much she could do with her life because she was in a wheelchair.

Prior to her injury, Tanya loved to dance. When Tanya learned about Dancing Wheels, something inside her awoke to the possibility of being able to dance again. “When Tanya came in to audition, we found her to have beautiful movements,” Verdi-Fletcher explains. “We’ve been training her to dance for the last couple of years. Today, she does a beautiful job as a performer.”

Dance and Music Were a Part of Verdi-Fletcher’s DNA

Mary Verdi-Fletcher of Dancing Wheels Says If You Can’t Walk, Dance - 10Mary Verdi-Fletcher never assumed she couldn’t dance, although she was born with spina bifida. “My mother, Nancy Verdi, was a professional dancer during the days of vaudeville, and my father, Sylvio Verdi, was a musician,” Verdi-Fletcher mentions. “I always loved listening to my parents as they talked about how they had performed, what places they had visited, and what people they had met all across America.”

“I always dreamed of following in my mother’s footsteps. My mother and her sister performed together on the vaudeville circuit, doing ballet, soft shoe, tap and acrobatic dances. My dad played saxophone and clarinet in a number of big orchestras, including Bob Hope’s orchestra when he performed for the U.S. Armed Forces. I was born into a very rich dance and musical background and had big dreams as a child of following in my mother’s and dad’s footsteps. I never thought I couldn’t be a dancer.”

“At that time, society said people in wheelchairs couldn’t dance, but I never bought into that idea.” ~ Mary Verdi-Fletcher


Mary Verdi-Fletcher of Dancing Wheels Says If You Can’t Walk, Dance - 14When Verdi-Fletcher was a small child, her mother choreographed dances for her and her brother that they performed for the family. Verdi-Fletcher watched television to see people dancing and old movies of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire – two of the most famous dancers in Hollywood and movies at that time. She also watched “American Bandstand” that featured teenagers showing off the latest dance moves.

“As I watched the dancers on TV, I started moving my wheelchair to the rhythm of the music, until I finally broke one of the wheels off my wheelchair,” Verdi-Fletcher recalls. “When I was really young, I often used braces and crutches. However, I broke my leg three different times dancing with my braces and crutches. After I broke my leg the third time, I opted to stay in the wheelchair.”

For years, all Verdi-Fletcher could do was dream about dancing in spite of being grounded by her wheelchair. Then in the 1980s, disco sparked a fire that fueled the nation to dance. According to Verdi-Fletcher, “Some friends invited me to dance with them. We experimented with partnering and dancing. We found there was a very unique relationship between what we now call a stand-up dancer and a sit-down dancer.”

“For years, I danced and experimented with partners who weren’t disabled. We’d go to dance clubs and dance socially. Next came a TV show called ‘Dance Fever’ that had competitions all across the country where young people competed to be on the television show. Our friends would ask me, ‘Are you and your partner practicing to perform for the ‘Dance Fever’ tryouts?’ We’d always answer back, ‘No, we’re just having fun and going dancing because we like to dance.’”

Mary Verdi-Fletcher of Dancing Wheels Says If You Can’t Walk, Dance - 12

But finally Verdi-Fletcher signed her and her dance partner up for the competition. She didn’t tell anyone she was in a wheelchair. As she explains, “When I was filling out the application to compete, it never occurred to me to put on the dance form that I was in a wheelchair. I was just entering the ‘Dance Fever’ competition.”

Dance Fever was an American musical variety series that aired weekly in syndication from January 1979 to September 1987. The series was created and produced by Merv Griffin and written by Tony Garofalo.

Each week on the show, four dancing couples competed for a weekly cash prize of $1,000; Each couple performed their dance routine for a total of two minutes and the celebrity judges scored them anywhere between 70 and 100 points. The couple with the highest total score were the winners and advanced into the next round of competition. In the event of a tie, one set of celebrity scores was dropped in an effort to decide a winner; every fifth week was a semi-final show where those winning couples from the last four weeks competed for $5,000.

At the end of a 25-week competition, the five semi-final winners all came back to face off in the show’s annual Grand Prix Finals for cash and prizes worth over $25,000 which included two brand new cars (one for each member of the winning dance team).

In 1980, a competition was held in Cleveland, Ohio, for the Dance Fever producers to look for new dancers for the TV show. On the day of the competition, about 2,000 people were in the audience.

When Verdi-Fletcher rolled out on the stage with her partner, a hush fell over the audience. No one ever had seen, heard of or thought about a person in a wheelchair competing in a dance competition. The producer of Dance Fever leaned forward in his chair, amazed that a person in a wheelchair and a standup-dancer even would think about dancing in a competition with other dancers for a spot on a TV show.

But Verdi-Fletcher wasn’t phased, as she always had drawn strength from a saying her mother taught her when she was young. “Mary, when people come up to you and ask ‘What’s your handicap?’ just say, ‘I’m not handicapped. I’m Mary.’” Rather than being defined by her medical problem, Verdi-Fletcher defined herself as Mary. “I wanted people to see me as me and not see me as my disability,” Verdi-Fletcher says today.

Mary Verdi-Fletcher of Dancing Wheels Says If You Can’t Walk, Dance - 11

Mary Verdi-Fletcher with her stand-up dance partner during her Dance Fever days.

“When the music was cued up, David Brewster and I started dancing to ‘It’s Raining Men’ by the Weather Girls (a very popular song and group at the time),” Verdi-Fletcher remembers. “We had pop-open umbrellas and bits of mylar falling from above to simulate rain.”

To have a flashy finale at the end of the dance, Brewster, a gymnast, jumped up on the armrest of Verdi-Fletcher’s chair and then jumped over her head. The crowd went wild. The first-ever wheelchair dancer for “Dance Fever” and her partner got a standing ovation. The producer of the show told Verdi-Fletcher and Brewster, “I’ve never seen anything like you two before.” They were chosen as alternates to go to California and possibly be on the “Dance Fever” TV show.

Mary Verdi-Fletcher of Dancing Wheels Says If You Can’t Walk, Dance - 4

Dancing Wheels performs all kinds of entertaining dance shows across the country.

The following year, Brewster and Verdi-Fletcher were on the Walt Disney show, “Coming Up,” on national television. In a short time, the public had seen articles in magazines and newspapers and TV shows of Brewster and Verdi-Fletcher. More opportunities to perform came their way. In their first year, Brewster and Verdi-Fletcher performed 70 times and made $15,000 to $20,000 in appearance fees – which was really good money at that time.

They didn’t realize it then, but they had become the first professional wheelchair dancers.

“My parents thought my performing as a dancer was really great, and they were proud of me, but still my wheelchair dancing didn’t really seem to be a big deal to them,” Verdi-Fletcher says. “I guess they never thought I wouldn’t dance and perform. At that time, I didn’t know where my professional dancing career was headed. I just knew I liked to dance and I liked to perform.”

A Tremendous Leap of Faith Creates Dancing Wheels

Mary Verdi-Fletcher of Dancing Wheels Says If You Can’t Walk, Dance - 6

Verdi-Fletcher never considered the possibility of making her love of dance a career or being able to support herself from her dancing and performing. She had a fulltime job as a development director for an independent living center. She was also the program director there and the attendant care program for personal care assistance.

Also, she worked as an advocate for independent living, but the requests for her to perform continued to grow. She finally told her husband, Bob Fletcher, who then was a manager at an insurance company and today is a management consultant, “I want to perform full-time.” Her husband said, “Okay, let’s take one year for you to try to make it happen.”

Mary Verdi-Fletcher of Dancing Wheels Says If You Can’t Walk, Dance - 8

The Dancing Wheels performance company has performed in front of 5 million people all over the United States and in several foreign countries.

Verdi-Fletcher had majored in business at college. However, she had to quit college before she graduated because, “I was driving a car, and the car was completely consumed by fire. I just got out of the car in the nick of time, or else I would have died.”

Because of the intensity of the moment and her fight for survival, that included developing a pressure sore from the trauma, Verdi-Fletcher lost time in school and money. When she recovered, she went back to work and wasn’t able to complete her college education.

However, her strong background in business has helped her build and develop Dancing Wheels, which reaches over 6,000 people per year through education. The Dancing Wheels performance company has performed in front of 5 million people all over the United States and in several foreign countries.

“Our dance company is integrated – having both stand-up dancers and sit down-dancers,” Verdi-Fletcher explains. “So, we use the term “physically-integrated dance.” Verdi-Fletcher always has been an advocate for equality for people with disabilities and people without disabilities.

“Because there was no dance created for people in wheelchairs, in my mind’s eye, I wanted to make Dancing Wheels integrated and present equal opportunities for both stand-up and sit-own dancers. I soon learned that by integrating these two different types of dancers, we created a really new and unusual art form that the world never had seen previously.”

Mary Verdi-Fletcher of Dancing Wheels Says If You Can’t Walk, Dance - 9

When Wheel:Life asked Verdi-Fletcher to describe what Dancing Wheels looks like, she explains, “It resembles a combination of stand-up dancing and ice skating. It has such a different type look and beauty to it. Once people have seen a performance, we’ve had them comment that as the couples dance across the floor they’re not conscious of the fact that one of the dancers is in a wheelchair. They don’t really notice who’s disabled and who isn’t. For me, those comments are the greatest compliments that anyone can give our dance company.”

Verdi-Fletcher soon learned that the more people who saw her programs, the more demand there was for Dancing Wheels to perform. She decided to develop an organization not only to perform but to teach and train stand-up dancers and sit-down dancers. Fate stepped in and provided unbelievable opportunities for Dancing Wheels.

She recalls, “I did a performance at a nursing care facility, and I noticed a striking young man sitting with an older person watching my performance. I wondered who he was. After the performance ended, one of the therapists at the nursing care facility came over and said, ‘We were visited today by a very special person – the new artistic director for the Cleveland Ballet.’”

Mary Verdi-Fletcher of Dancing Wheels Says If You Can’t Walk, Dance - 13

Dancing Wheels programs resemble a combination of stand-up dancing and ice skating.

The Cleveland Ballet is a world-class ballet company in Cleveland, Ohio. Verdi-Fletcher experienced a strange feeling and said to her dancing partner, “I feel that one day we’ll dance with the Cleveland Ballet.” Her partner smiled and replied, “You’re crazy. How are we ever going to be able to do anything with them?” Verdi-Fletcher told him, “I don’t know, but I just feel that’s going to happen.”

Later, this artistic director wrote Verdi-Fletcher and told her how impressed he was with her performance. Immediately, she wrote him back, thanking him, and added to her note, “I’d love to do something with the Cleveland Ballet one day.” He wrote back telling her he agreed, and fate took its’ course from there.

Mary Verdi-Fletcher of Dancing Wheels Says If You Can’t Walk, Dance - 18

When Verdi-Fletcher decided to pursue a career with Dancing Wheels, she didn’t know where her career path would lead. As a backup plan, Verdi-Fletcher decided she needed another income while determining what to do as one of the first professional wheelchair dancers the world ever had seen.

“I decided to do some consulting work,” Verdi-Fletcher explains. “With the income from the consulting business, I thought I could pull enough money together to create a professional dance company made up of stand-up dancers and sit-down dancers.”

While searching for consulting jobs, Verdi-Fletcher found an ad for someone to help on the administrative side of the Cleveland Ballet. It seemed fate was stepping in yet again, as is often the case when a person is on his or her appointed path. Often, seemingly impossible things happen.

Verdi-Fletcher was hired to direct the performance of “Swan Lake” in Detroit, Michigan, and do other projects. As the director, her job was to bring together all the elements required to get the dancers, the musicians, the travel, the housing, the food and all the logistics required for the performances to take place. While working with the administrative staff of the Cleveland Ballet, she also met and made friends with many of the dancers.

While working for the Cleveland Ballet, Verdi-Fetcher discovered that the ballet needed an outreach program to the community, especially in the schools. Verdi-Fletcher told the Cleveland Ballet, “I can put together this outreach program, especially if you’ll let me work with some of the Cleveland Ballet dancers.”

She began working with, dancing with and choreographing with the professional Cleveland Ballet dancers and developed an outreach and educational program. She wrote scripts for the performances and demonstrated how and why everyone could participate regardless of their physical challenges.

Mary Verdi-Fletcher of Dancing Wheels Says If You Can’t Walk, Dance - 17

“We combined information and dance together,” Verdi-Fletcher recalls. She decided she next wanted to do what’s known as main stage performances with a large group of dances with both stand-up dancers and sit-down dancers performing at the same time.

From this outreach program, she began to grow the organization now known as Dancing Wheels that today includes professional stand-up dancers, professional sit-down dancers and teachers to train people to dance and also to perform. She now had a feeder system of students who also could enjoy futures as teachers of dance.

As Dancing Wheels performed on major stages with a wide variety of choreography, the Dancing Wheels organization grew tremendously. Because of her association with the Cleveland Ballet, many of the dancers of the Cleveland Ballet would perform with the sit-down dancers.

When the organization performed on big stages, it included professional ballet dancers and trained sit-down dancers. She had a professional touring dance company as well as teachers and students under the banner of Dancing Wheels. The demand for this type of dance grew exponentially.

“Today we have 15 full-time dancers who work year-round as part of our touring company,” Verdi-Fletcher emphasizes. Verdi-Fletcher has built an organization to teach, promote and perform all over the world and has captured her dream, when she and her partner danced in the Cleveland Ballet’s performance of the “Nutcracker Suite” on the big stage. The Dancing Wheels Company now schedules 70 to 90 performances in the USA and in foreign countries, and according to Verdi-Fletcher, has performed in Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Canada, Trinidad and several other countries.

Dancing Wheels Today and What’s Left to Do

Mary Verdi-Fletcher of Dancing Wheels Says If You Can’t Walk, Dance - 71

This huge dance company and dance school all started with Verdi-Fletcher’s dream of wanting to dance when she found herself in a wheelchair. “We have an integrated teaching division as a part of Dancing Wheels,” Verdi-Fletcher reports. “Our school is integrated with people in wheelchairs and stand-up dancers.” The school is located on Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio. Like many colleges and universities today, the Dancing Wheels school has two divisions – at the school and through outreach. Some students go to the school on Euclid Avenue, and other students have the school come to them.

“Our teachers go out and teach dance away from our location, and students come to our dance classes at our school weekly,” Verdi-Fletcher explains. “The majority of our students are younger people, but we also work with some older people, especially individuals with intellectual challenges.”

Combining the number of both the in-school and outreach students, Dancing Wheels teaches about 6,000 students per year. Currently, the number enrolled is 6,500. Students also have a path they can follow from being trainees to becoming apprentices and then possibly reach the level of instructor or touring company performers. The touring company performers are paid a weekly salary. When they’re not performing, they’re practicing from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm daily. Members of the touring company also receive paid vacations and paid holidays.

Mary Verdi-Fletcher of Dancing Wheels Says If You Can’t Walk, Dance - 51

According to Verdi-Fletcher, “Our students come from all over the world – our community in Cleveland, other
schools of dance and disability organizations. We work with United Cerebral Palsy, Easter Seals, Youth Challenge and other groups who serve the wheelchair community. Some of our students are economically challenged. We have students visit from other countries, mostly in the summer, when we offer a summer intensive training program. Also, students from foreign countries may bring Dancing Wheels’ teachers in to teach them how to teach individuals in wheelchairs and stand-up individuals to dance. Some of our instructors teach other dancing instructors how to teach our form of dancing with both sit-down dancers and stand-up dancers.

OSU“Mark Tomasic, our artistic advisor, and I have created a manual along with a DVD to help train dancing instructors on how to teach the Dancing Wheels form of dance. Copies of the manuals and the DVD can be purchased on our website at

We also have instructors available to go to communities and countries to teach. We average sending instructors to about 20 different sites to teach each year. The classes are designed specifically for each venue, and what the organization wants to accomplish.

We do: 1 day seminars; 3 days of instruction with one performance; and week-long instruction, if that’s what the organization wants. One of the things we’re most excited about is the day when there are 50 integrated dance companies besides the Dancing Wheels Company worldwide.

“I believe that many of our students join the Dancing Wheels school and become a part of the Dancing Wheels Company because they view our form of dance as a different art form that gives back to the community in a way that nothing else can. Our form of dance inspires people who never may have thought that there’s a possibility they can dance. Our form of dancing also allows individuals to see themselves and their own abilities in a different way. I always think, ‘If I can dance in my wheelchair, what can you possibly do?’

“One day I’d like to see the Dancing Wheels Company on the TV show ‘Dancing with the Stars.’ Out in the future, I’d also like to have Derek Hough choreograph for Dancing Wheels. I’m not sure what will be required for these two things to happen, but I’m going to keep trying to contact ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and Derek Hough.”

When asked what kind of legacy she hopes to create, Mary said, “I’d like to be remembered as the woman who changed the face of dance for the world.”

Mary Verdi-Fletcher of Dancing Wheels Says If You Can’t Walk, Dance - 15

Mary is at home on the stage, doing what she does best, dancing from the heart.

Next year, Dancing Wheels celebrates its 35th anniversary, and the organization is planning to do an entire concert based on the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The group is also working with the Canton, Ohio, symphony orchestra that has commissioned Dancing Wheels to create a new dance to be performed with an original piece of new music.

For more information about Dancing Wheels, visit, or go to, or call 216-432-0306. To learn more about Mary Verdi-Fletcher, visit

About the Author: John E. Phillips
For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at

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You Are Enough, Disability and All

No one can deny that living with a disability renders daily living ...

Bennie Jose Perez

Amputee Veteran Bennie Jose Perez Didn’t Let Shattered Dreams Stop Him From Finding a New Passion

Editor’s Note:  Bennie Jose Perez had dreamt of joining the Marine ...

adaptive winter sports

Don’t Miss These 5 Adaptive Events This December

December is here, and while we love to use holiday parties as an ...


How Adaptive Fitness is Helping Joanna Bonilla Fight for Recovery

Editor’s Note:  Fitness enthusiast Joanna Bonilla hadn’t been ...


One Adaptive Athlete’s Story on How Perseverance Saved His Life

Editor’s Note:  From dancing to triathlons, 31-year-old Vincenzo ...


Clay Garner’s Fight to Beat Transverse Myelitis

Editor’s Note:  Clay Garner, a successful entrepreneur and ...

Sit Skiing is a fantastic winter past-time that lets you enjoy the great outdoors!

5 Adaptive and Advocacy Events You Shouldn’t Miss This November

This November boasts many reasons and ways to get active. By ...


Gaelynn Lea is Changing the Music World in More Ways Than One

Editor’s Note:  When an orchestra performed at her school, ...

Close up of big watch on the wrist of the disabled man

Comfort Conversations: Top 10 Instances of Discrimination Against People With Disabilities

People with disabilities make up the nation’s largest minority ...


Meet Stanley + More Great Resources for Kids Who Cath

When you watch Stanley, a 15-month-old Bernedoodle, work with kids, ...


SAS: Campaigning for the Support of Adaptive Sports

Editor’s Note: Connie Cardenas grew up running, and even into early ...

daughter and senior man in wheelchair on walking green nature.

101 Mobility Chicago: Helping People Stay in Their Homes

Editor’s Note:  When a dear friend was diagnosed with Amyotrophic ...

A close up of the handbike athlete on the special bicycle asphalt track in Krylatskie Hills. Evening sunset above the road.

It’s Disability Awareness Month! Here’s What’s Happening Near You This October

In late summer of 1945, as World War II was coming to an end, ...

Oubounder 6x6 at lake

Go Off the Beaten Path with the Outbounder 6×6

Editor’s Note: After falling from a tree while hunting, Geoff ...

Photo by: Natalie Koziuk Photography (

Celebrate World Ostomy Day by Running, Walking, or Rolling for Resilience

Disability Awareness month is coming up and with so many great events ...


Causes for Change: Making a Difference at Home and Abroad

Editor’s Note:  As an infant, Zully JF Alvarado contracted polio, ...


Chris Lenart on Life With Cerebral Palsy and

Editor’s Note:  After a difficult childbirth in which both baby ...

Ms. Wheelchair America 2019

Ms. Wheelchair America: Empowering Women, Shaping Leaders

Editor’s Note:  Over three decades ago, Michigander Shelly Loose ...


The Story of Two Guys, a Wheelchair, and El Camino

What was simply meant to be two best friends hiking El Camino de ...


Edna Serrano is a Roll Model for Strong Latina Women

Below, Edna Serrano of the Rollettes shares her story of growing up ...


Pauline Victoria Shares Why She’s Creating a Media Outlet for the Disability Community

Editor’s Note:  While Pauline Victoria’s parents were preparing ...


Adaptive Events Happening This August

We have to face the facts…another summer is nearing its end. ...

Two photos, on of Tatiana Lee, the other of the Ingram family

Two SpeediCath Users Tell Wheel:Life Their Stories

When Wheel:Life learned that two Coloplast SpeediCath users would be ...

Young asian women pushing the elderly woman on wheelchair in garden,helping and support concept.

Air Travel as a Wheelchair User: What Should You Expect?  

After my injury twelve years ago, there were many things I had always ...


Freedom Concepts: Helping Kids Be Kids

Editor’s Note:  After complications at birth, Jacoby Zebinski was ...


Travel for All: Making Adventure a Reality for Joanne and Bill Hogan

  Editor’s Note: As the son of a military man and the daughter ...


The Chanda Plan Foundation:  Changing Lives Through Access to Integrative Therapy

Editor’s Note: When conventional medicine was failing quadriplegic ...


Founder of Life Rolls On Jesse Billauer Wants to Help You Catch a Wave

Editor’s Note:  Growing up in southern California, Jesse ...


Tecla: Fostering Independence Through Access to Technology

Editor’s Note:  While studying biomedical engineering in his home ...


New! A Pocket-Sized Cure Hydrophilic Kit Made for You

A new pocket-sized kit from Cure Medical is now available for people ...


Super Leg Joel Ellen on Faith and Fitness After Limb Loss

Editor’s Note:  When athlete and fitness fanatic Joel Ellen ...

cheerful boy with disability at rehabilitation center for kids with special needs

From Frustration to Innovation:  How Universal Vests is Changing Industry Standards

While studying physical therapy, the founders of Universal Vests ...


Comfort Conversations: Anyone Can Dance

Join us every other month for Comfort Conversations, a discussion ...

4 girls riding bikes, one of which is an adaptive bike by Freedom Concepts

The Benefits of Your Child Getting Active with Adaptive Bike Riding

Parents of children living with disabilities:  Take a minute to ...

feeling freedom for disabled people

Our Top 5 Accessible Summer Vacation Destinations

It’s time to talk about summer vacation plans. If you like to have ...


A New Book Teaches Kids About the Life of a Service Dog

Editor’s Note:  As a single mom of a 7-year-old, Amy Sherwood was ...


Win a Trip to the Boston Abilities Expo

Have you always wanted to attend an Abilities Expo but you don’t ...

A person with a green helmet uses an ice pics to climb an icy cliff.

Wheel:Life and Comfort Medical Sponsor the Paradox Sports Adaptive Ice Climbing Trip

Editor’s Note:  A little over a decade ago, a group of guys with a ...


Norah Self-Caths in Kindergarten, Thanks to this Free Resource

It’s a given that kids who cath want to be like their friends at ...

Senior man in wheelchair outside in nature

The Healing Powers of Grounding Therapy for Wheelchair Users

Editor’s Note:  Having grown up on a farm in rural Montana, Clint ...


Cruising the Planet with Amputee Debra Kerper

Editor’s Note: When a bone infection complicated by lupus took ...

Being prepared for college is one thing, being prepared for college dating is another!

The Online Dating Experience for the Disabled

Dating is hard. Dating is really hard. If you have a disability, ...


Inclusion, Adventure, and Therapy with Freedom Concepts

Editor’s Note: In 2014, Michigan residents Caroline Booth and Matt ...


Where Do You Want to Go?

Have you always dreamt of seeing the Aurora Borealis in Alaska? Or ...


TerrainHopper USA: Bringing Adventure and Freedom to People with Disabilities

Editor’s Note:  Born with osteogenesis imperfecta, Todd Lemay ...


Breaking Down Broadcasting Barriers with Paul Amadeus Lane

Editor’s Note: Growing up in Long Beach, California, Paul Amadeus ...


Zebreda Dunham Powers Through Challenges on the Pitch and in Life

Editor’s Note:  Born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, ...


Adaptive Aerial Yoga Allows Wheelchair Users to Fly

  Editor’s Note: Texas native Sara Schaffer has been ...


Sex, Love, and Disability:  Ben Duffy’s New Documentary Exposes It All

Filmmaker Ben Duffy and Ajani “AJ” Murray met while working on a ...


Amputee Bob Clausen Says If You Want Something Bad Enough, You Will Do It

Editor’s Note:  Widower and Navy veteran Rober “Bob” ...


The Ms. Wheelchair California Pageant: A Life-Changing Experience

As the Ms. Wheelchair California Leadership Institute, formerly known ...


Comfort Conversations: Support Systems Are Key After a Life-Altering Tragedy

Having key support systems after a life-altering injury is crucial. ...


Sheri Melander-Smith on Living Your Best Life

Editor’s Note:  Sheri Melander-Smith was born with a vascular ...


5 Extreme Activities to Add to Your Bucket List

Have you already tried all of the typical adaptive sports available ...


Reflections and Lessons Learned in 2017

We hope your 2017 was as enlightening and empowering as ours was here ...


Living with MS: One Family’s Solution to Enjoying Life Events Again

Dave was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1999 and for the first ...


4 Tips to Help Teach Your Child About Self-Catheterization

At a certain age, kids will be the first to tell you that they want ...

waving happy young adult woman on wheelchair in the city in winter at sunset

Winter Weather Preparedness Tips for Wheelchair Users

Are you dreading this winter season? Dealing with slushy, icy, snowy, ...


Making Adaptive Climbing More Accessible with Arthur Torrey

Editor’s Note: When a tree-cutting accident in 2010 led to broken ...

woman on wheelchair entering the platform

Barbara Cramer – 75 Years of Defying Stereotypes

Editor’s Note:  An earlier version of this post may have left the ...


Serving the Spina Bifida Community with the SBAGNE

I serve as the executive director of the SBAGNE. One of my primary ...


Comfort Medical is Helping People to Achieve a Healthier and Happier Lifestyle

If you’re an avid Wheel:Life reader, you may remember that we ...


Advocating for Disability Rights with Stephanie Woodward and CDR

Editor’s Note: During a summer internship at the Center for ...


Building Strength and Confidence with Handi Capable Fitness

Editor’s Note: A botched hernia operation during infancy left James ...

woman next to girl on Freedom Concepts adaptive bike

Comfort Medical Sponsors Freedom Concepts to Help You Win An Adaptive Bike

Have you always dreamt of gliding down the street with the wind in ...

women in wheelchairs dancing at Abilities Expo

Experience It All At the Abilities Expo!

Days are becoming shorter, nights longer, and the holiday season is ...


ParaSportsLive: Bringing Adaptive Sports Coverage to the World

Editor’s Note:  When wheelchair user Tony Jackson’s original ...


Introducing the New Cure Ultra Coude Intermittent Catheter for Men

Cure Medical has unveiled the new 16-inch Cure Ultra® Coude ...


Get Ready for Rolling With Me’s Each By Name Conference

Wheel:Life, Comfort Medical, and Rolling With Me is excited to ...


Smooth Sailing with David Gaston

Editor’s Note:  A Texas coast native, David Gaston has been in and ...

Husband and handicapped wife taking stroll in park alley

Gain Traction This Fall with National Ramp

Summer is officially over and dreary winter weather is on its way. ...


Wheelchair Dancers Organization Says Everybody Can Dance!

When life-long dancer Beverly Weurding was diagnosed with limb-girdle ...


Pursuing Health and Happiness with Malaise Wheelchair Fitness

Editor’s Note: Justin Malaise grew up in small-town Wisconsin as a ...


Former Ms. Wheelchair Illinois Continues to be a Voice for the Community

Editor’s Note: Born with spina bifida, Kim Brown has been a ...


Dare to Discover the World of Accessible Travel With Handiscover

Editor’s Note: Sebastien Archambeaud has always loved traveling, so ...


Made for Kids! The Pediatric Hydrophilic Cure Catheter + Free Backpack Program

Parents only want what’s best for their children and keeping them ...


Wheeling, Driving, Bowling, Preaching, Parenting…Johnny Hudson Does It All Hands-free!

Editor’s Note: Johnny Hudson was born in 1977 with unforeseen ...

Pat Dougherty explains FreeWheel to a new fan at a recent Abilities Expo.

The Abilities Expo is Coming To Boston!

Boston awaits with open arms. This September 8–10, head over to the ...


Comfort Conversations: Change Starts with You – Becoming an Advocate

Join us every other month for Comfort Conversations, a discussion ...

» Blazing the Trail Towards an Accessible World  

Editor’s Note: After sustaining severe burns during a car accident ...


The Artfully Gifted Foundation – Serving Entrepreneurs with Disabilities

Editor’s Note: The Artfully Gifted Foundation (a non-profit) was ...


How the SCRS-IL Can Help You Live Independently

Editor’s Note: When triple degree holder Jose Gonzalez returned ...


Peter Arballo Never Gave Up on Himself — Neither Should You

Editor’s Note: Peter Arballo was born in Southern California to ...


Full Speed Ahead with Endurance Racer Michael Johnson

Editor’s Note: Michael Johnson of Lansing, Michigan, started racing ...


The Extraordinary Life of Triple Amputee Monica Vickers

Editor’s Note: Monica Vickers was born in 1954 missing both legs ...


Rick Hayden Rolls on Capitol Hill for Your Rights

When Rick Hayden visited the US Capitol last week, he went with your ...


Gear Up for Abilities Expo Chicago

Calling all Midwesterners — Abilities Expo is coming to Chicago! As ...


Run, Jump, and Throw Stuff with Angel City Sports

Editor’s Note: Clayton Frech is the CEO and founder of Los ...


Sled Hockey with Coach Koz

Editor’s Note: Sled hockey (also known as sledge hockey) is almost ...

Summer Solutions with STYLEDWEL

Summer Solutions with STYLEDWEL

Editor’s Note: Mary Marshall, founder of STYLEDWEL, created ...


Following Your Inner Guidance with Kristina Rhoades and How National Ramp is Helping Her Do It

Editor’s Note: Kristina Rhoades is a mom, wife, speaker, writer, ...

men who use wheelchairs

Comfort Conversations: Finding Encouragement Through Peer Support Groups

Join us every other month for Comfort Conversations, a discussion ...


Allen Beauchamp on Life, Love and Hockey

My name is Allen Beauchamp, and I’m 43 years old. I live in a ...


Yoocan Get Empowered!

Editor’s Note: Inspired by a family member with disabilities, Moshe ...


Introducing the Cure Ultra: Ready to Use Catheter for Men

Cure Medical has unveiled the new 16-inch Cure Ultra™ Intermittent ...


Refuel and Rejuvenate At Abilities Expo New York Metro

East coasters, or anyone within striking distance, gear up for ...


Criptaedo: Breaking Boards and Barriers

Editor’s note: Paul Brailer, aka Criptaedo, was born with spina ...


Rolling Forward with Amputee Advocate Stella Sieber

I’m currently 63 years old and live in Durham, North Carolina. ...


Stroke by Stroke: Moving Forward with Mallory Weggemann

Editor’s Note: At 18 years old, Mallory Weggemann walked into the ...

Margarita Cover Photo

Comfort Conversations: Finding Your New Normal After a Spinal Cord Injury

Join us every other month for Comfort Conversations, a discussion ...


Glenn Moscoso: Wheelchair Daddy

Editor’s note:  Glenn Moscoso is a husband and father living with ...


Avoiding Slippery Slopes with Garth Walker and National Ramp

Editor’s Note: After selling his prior business, Garth Walker went ...


The National Sports Center for the Disabled: Finding Self-Confidence through Personal Challenge

Editor’s Note: The National Sports Center for the Disabled, founded ...


Wheeling around the World with Susie Twydell

Editor’s Note: Based in England, Susie Twydell, an avid traveler ...

Wheelchair walk

Amplitude Media Group: Closing the Information Gap

Wheel:Life is thrilled to announce their newest community partner, ...


Accessible Hiking, Camping and Fishing? WOW!  

Editor’s Note: Wilderness on Wheels (WOW) is a foundation and a ...


Comfort Conversations: Events, Free Packs, and More with James “Woody” Beckham

Editor’s Note: The Woody Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit ...


Jenn Sexton Shares Her Secret for Independence: An Extra Long Cure Catheter

Jenn Sexton was five weeks pregnant when she and her husband, Thomas, ...


Glen Schlotterbeck: Reinvent Yourself!

Editors note: As a graduate of the US Air Force Academy, Glen ...


Educate, Energize, and Enlighten at Abilities Expo Los Angeles

The Abilities Expo is back in Los Angeles and gearing up to show you ...


Juan Sebastian Betancourt: Changing the Way Businesses Serve People with Disabilities

Editor’s Note: Juan Betancourt is on a path to change the world for ...


AccessibleIndonesia: Making Travel Accessible in a Non-Accessible Country

Editor’s note: Kerstin Beise, a German physiotherapist, who also ...


A Lesson on Living Life to the Fullest with Hydred Makabali

Editor’s note: Hydred Makabali, born and raised in England and now ...

Up/Down Team Champions (Top L to R) Shane Hayden, Harold Collins (Seated L to R) Gary Bowling, Kenneth Hill, and Don Law

Knocking Down The Pins of Life with Wheelchair Bowling Champion Kenneth Hill

Editor’s Note: Fifty-year-old Kenneth Hill from Plainfield, ...


Take Your Wings and Fly with Denise Horn

Editor’s Note: Fifty-six-year-old Denise Horn of Janesville, ...


Ashley Hutson Wilson Beat a Small Chance of Survival to Live a Full Life

Editor’s Note: Thirty-one year old Ashley Hutson Wilson from Kyle, ...


Jam with Mel Bergman: Creator of Wheely Guitars

Editor’s Note: Mel Bergman of Camarillo, California, is the ...


Gary “Tiger” Balletto: Champion Prize Fighter Who Rolls with the Punches

Editor’s Note: You can capture a ferocious wild tiger and put him ...

9 Robby Heisner

Meet Robby Heisner: Creative Entrepreneur on Wheels

Editor’s Note: Robby Heisner of Smyrna, Georgia ...

Joseph Logar1

The National Rifle Association’s Adaptive Shooting Program with Dr. Joseph Logar

Dr. Joseph Logar Editor’s Note: Dr. Joseph Logar has his doctorate ...


The Rollettes Take On an E.P.I.C. Project to Empower Others

Editor’s Note: Chances are, you’ve seen these ladies ...


Speak Up Now to Save Your Wheelchair: Fight Medicare Cuts

Your window is narrowing to preserve access to mobility equipment – ...

engineered for adventure GRIT

Go Further Together with GRIT: Stories of Community Support

Our friends at GRIT, the makers of the revolutionary Freedom Chair, ...


Paralyzed Veteran’s Mom Awarded Dream Trip by ElDorado Mobility

Editor’s Note: Serving our country as a military service member is ...

4Kenneth Perry

Wheelchair Karate: Attack the Attacker with Kenneth Perry

Editor’s Note: Kenneth Perry from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ...

5 Tom Cannalonga

Ditch Your Chair to Sit-Ski the Slopes with Tom Cannalonga 

Editor’s Note: Fifty-two-year-old Tom Cannalonga lives in Edison, ...


Welcome to Wheel:Life

We are so glad you’re here! Wheel:Life is a global initiative ...

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