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picture: Bill Lawson (L) and Larry Dodson, PVA senior execs @ the Melio demo. PVA Summit '15. Caitlin Melvin (Albert Medical) and Karen Lynch OT presenting.
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Paralyzed Veterans Discover More Independence with Melio


Note: Wheel:Life editor Lisa Wells shares her thoughts below on PVA programs including the recent PVA Summit + Expo, along with one of the many new products for wheelchair users that VA clinicians discovered during the PVA event.

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US Marine veteran Thomas Vanderlaan with friend “Jerry” during the 2012 NVWG in Richmond, VA.

I attended my first event hosted by the Paralyzed Veterans of America [PVA] several years ago, serving as an adjunct reporter for SPORTS ‘N SPOKES and PN Online magazines at the 2012 National Veterans Wheelchair Games held in Richmond, Virginia. While there, I was fortunate to make friends with veterans from across the nation who also happen to use wheelchairs. I was able to join in alongside them as they cheered on comrades in arms who were taking on adapted sports like air rifle, weightlifting, quad rugby, track and field events and table tennis.

One young man in particular earned my admiration. With his cheerful demeanor and all-American good looks, Corporal Thomas Vanderlaan of the US Marine Corps was hard to miss. In his first year as a competitor, 22-year-old Vanderlaan was the youngest athlete enrolled in the 2012 Games, but he greeted new and old friends like a seasoned pro.

“While watching Vanderlaan dive into quad rugby, no one would have ever guessed it was his first time on the court. I surely didn’t.”

“Nope, it’s true. I had never done it before, and I was a little apprehensive before my first game. But it’s a whole new world, not just getting on the court to compete, but also getting on the plane for a first time post-injury, traveling with my team – the San Diego Beachcombers, and many other things that opened my eyes to so many possibilities,” Vanderlaan explains.

US Marine veteran Thomas Vanderlaan competes during the bench press events at the 2012 National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Richmond, VA.

US Marine veteran Thomas Vanderlaan competes during the bench press events at the 2012 National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Richmond, VA.

In 2012, Vanderlaan had just crossed his first year milestone of spinal-cord injury. Before his SCI, Vanderlaan played football for the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar team in the Camp Pendleton football league. A team practice scrimmage turned his world upside down last year when one play went terribly wrong. An on-field accident broke his neck, leaving the larger-than-life, six-foot-seven-inch athlete with a C5 spinal cord injury and complete quadriplegia.

That’s when Kelli Kaliszewski, a recreation therapist at the VA Medical Center of San Diego stepped into Vanderlaan’s life.

“Kelly got me motivated and helped me get out here competing again,” Vanderlaan says. The support he’s received at the VA along with friendships found on the Beachcombers team have strengthened Vanderlaan as much as his daily physical therapy.

Read more of Thomas Vanderlaan’s story here.

I know firsthand, from people like Vanderlaan and Kaliszewski, how much the PVA does to positively impact the lives of our nation’s paralyzed veterans and to help educate the clinicians who assist them. That’s why I’m a strong advocate and supporter of PVA programs, and also why you will also see Wheel:Life sharing updates about PVA events on a regular basis, like the PVA Summit + Expo below.

PVAsummitlogoA Place for Learning: The 5th Annual PVA Summit + Expo

For five years, Paralyzed Veterans of America has expanded its commitment to spinal cord injury/disease (SCI/D), multiple sclerosis, ALS and traumatic brain injury patient care through its annual Summit and Expo.

Held this year during the first week of September in Jacksonville, FL, the PVA Summit was an intensive, three-day learning and sharing experience that provided the most updated, vital information and state of the art research for VA medical professionals including nurses, therapists, doctors, social workers and more.

In an interview with PN Online magazine, PVA Summit Task Force Chairman Lana McKenzie said, “This is one of the unique conferences to have. Groups engage and share their best practices and share their knowledge, to integrate the concept that we can do better for the patient if we all get involved with our own unique role and responsibility.”

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Attendees representing multiple disciplines from the Department of Veterans Affairs as well as private health-care institutions came together at the PVA Summit and Expo to network, collaborate, and share knowledge.

Melio Debuts at the PVA Expo

melio5lowresThis year, PVA Summit attendees who attended the event expo also had the opportunity to meet representatives for the Melio Self-Emptying Leg Bag System and Community Medical Products, one of the urology suppliers that offers Melio to their customers that include veterans.

The new Melio Self-Emptying Leg Bag System© empties your leg bag with a push of a button – and it tells you when it’s time. Created by a British inventor who wanted to help his father who had suffered a stroke, Melio was born out of a desire to restore independence and dignity for leg bag users worldwide.

“Presenting the Melio Self-Emptying Leg Bag System at this year’s Paralyzed Veterans of America Summit in Jacksonville, Florida last week was quite gratifying,” says Jim McHargue, President of Community Medical Products.

“The group, made up largely of VA hospital clinicians, educators, PVA members and PVA executives, immediately saw the potential improvement in quality of life that the Melio system can deliver. Its’ ease of use, low cost and potential health benefits were positives to the audience. A number of clinicians identified patients they felt could benefit from Melio and post-show feedback has been extremely positive,” McHargue continues.

Add picture: Bill Lawson (L) and Larry Dodson, PVA senior execs @ the Melio demo. PVA Summit '15. Kaitlin Melvin (Albert Medical) and Karen Lynch OT presenting.

Bill Lawson (L) and Larry Dodson, PVA senior execs @ the Melio demo. PVA Summit ’15. Kaitlin Melvin (Albert Medical) and Karen Lynch OT presenting.

Melio Offers Independence and Convenience

Melio lets you empty your leg bag with a push of a button - and tells you when it's time!

Melio lets you empty your leg bag with a push of a button – and tells you when it’s time!

Besides its’ obvious convenience, Melio is known to increase independence by:

  • Eliminating embarrassing drips or leaks
    by the push of a button you can empty this leg bag. This way you don’t have to move your leg or get your hands wet.
  • Eliminating backflow
    let the built-in sensor alert you when the bag is full. With this reminder, you can avoid backflows.
  • Reduce the risk of a UTI
    without the hassle of emptying your leg bag, it helps to encourage proper hydration, which in return can reduce the risk of catheter-associated urinary tract infections.
  • Keeping it simple
    the Melio Self-Emptying Leg Bag System not only relieves individuals of the everyday struggle of emptying their leg bag, but it helps to improve their quality of life by being discrete and easy to use.

How Melio Works

The integrated sensor in the Melio Self-Emptying Leg Bag System© monitors the urine bag level, sending a signal to the controller when the leg bag is approximately 2/3 full.

melio - 5The controller on your waistband alerts you when the leg bag is approximately 2/3 full via a flashing amber light and discreet vibration. You can also turn on an audio alarm. When you’re ready to empty the urine bag, simply push the buttons on the top or bottom of the controller to activate the pump.

If you have limited dexterity, you can use the magnetic bracelet to activate the pump. Simply hold the bracelet against the front of the controller to activate it.

Get Connected with Melio

Melio LogoLearn more about the Melio Self-Emptying Leg Bag System or try it for yourself! Visit their user-friendly website at www.meliolegbag.com or call toll-free 800-482-2907 for details.

Or, you can inquire about Melio with your local urological supplies provider, like Community Medical Supplies, who can obtain the product from Independence Medical.

About the PVA Summit + Expo

Since their founding almost 70 years ago, Paralyzed Veterans has worked to ensure the best quality health care for our nation’s veterans with SCI/D and has expanded that commitment to serve all individuals affected by spinal cord disease. PVA is the only veterans service organization that hosts an annual health-care summit of this kind, advancing SCI/D care worldwide.

The annual PVA Summit has enhanced Paralyzed Veterans’ commitment to promoting and advocating for quality SCI/D care. Forward-focused on ways to support new therapies, treatments, and potential cures for paralysis, as well as advancements in care and education of professionals caring for individuals with spinal cord injury or disease, PVA Summit has provided more than 2,600 scholarships for clinicians and funded 500 presenters to participate in crucial continuing education. Learn more at: http://www.summitpva.org/

More Clinical Resources: Free Nurse CEUs

lynheader

Wheel:Life loves all of the nurses and medical professionals that support our online community!

That’s why we’ve partnered with LoveYourNurse.com to offer a series of FREE continuing education courses for clinicians. LoveYourNurse courses are fully accredited, and easy to follow online.  All you have to do is create an account and then login to access the course library! You can take tests at your convenience after you review the course material online.

Click here to see our course offerings.

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

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5 Extreme Activities to Add to Your Bucket List

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

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Reflections and Lessons Learned in 2017

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

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

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

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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 ...

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Winter Weather Preparedness Tips for Wheelchair Users

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

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Making Adaptive Climbing More Accessible with Arthur Torrey

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

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Barbara Cramer – 75 Years of Defying Stereotypes

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

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Serving the Spina Bifida Community with the SBAGNE

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

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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 ...

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Advocating for Disability Rights with Stephanie Woodward and CDR

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

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Building Strength and Confidence with Handi Capable Fitness

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

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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 ...

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Experience It All At the Abilities Expo!

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

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ParaSportsLive: Bringing Adaptive Sports Coverage to the World

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

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Introducing the New Cure Ultra Coude Intermittent Catheter for Men

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

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

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

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Smooth Sailing with David Gaston

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

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Gain Traction This Fall with National Ramp

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

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Wheelchair Dancers Organization Says Everybody Can Dance!

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

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Pursuing Health and Happiness with Malaise Wheelchair Fitness

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

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

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

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Dare to Discover the World of Accessible Travel With Handiscover

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

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

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

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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.
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The Abilities Expo is Coming To Boston!

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

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Comfort Conversations: Change Starts with You – Becoming an Advocate

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

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WheelchairTravel.org: Blazing the Trail Towards an Accessible World  

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

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The Artfully Gifted Foundation – Serving Entrepreneurs with Disabilities

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

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How the SCRS-IL Can Help You Live Independently

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

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Peter Arballo Never Gave Up on Himself — Neither Should You

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

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Full Speed Ahead with Endurance Racer Michael Johnson

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

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The Extraordinary Life of Triple Amputee Monica Vickers

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

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Rick Hayden Rolls on Capitol Hill for Your Rights

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

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Gear Up for Abilities Expo Chicago

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

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Run, Jump, and Throw Stuff with Angel City Sports

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

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Sled Hockey with Coach Koz

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

Summer Solutions with STYLEDWEL
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Summer Solutions with STYLEDWEL

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

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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, ...

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Comfort Conversations: Finding Encouragement Through Peer Support Groups

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

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Allen Beauchamp on Life, Love and Hockey

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

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Yoocan Get Empowered!

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

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Introducing the Cure Ultra: Ready to Use Catheter for Men

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

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Refuel and Rejuvenate At Abilities Expo New York Metro

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

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Criptaedo: Breaking Boards and Barriers

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

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Rolling Forward with Amputee Advocate Stella Sieber

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

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Stroke by Stroke: Moving Forward with Mallory Weggemann

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

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

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

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Glenn Moscoso: Wheelchair Daddy

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

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Avoiding Slippery Slopes with Garth Walker and National Ramp

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

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

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

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Wheeling around the World with Susie Twydell

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

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Amplitude Media Group: Closing the Information Gap

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

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Accessible Hiking, Camping and Fishing? WOW!  

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

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

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

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

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

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Glen Schlotterbeck: Reinvent Yourself!

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

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Educate, Energize, and Enlighten at Abilities Expo Los Angeles

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

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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 ...

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AccessibleIndonesia: Making Travel Accessible in a Non-Accessible Country

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

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

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

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Take Your Wings and Fly with Denise Horn

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

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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, ...

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Jam with Mel Bergman: Creator of Wheely Guitars

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

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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
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Meet Robby Heisner: Creative Entrepreneur on Wheels

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

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

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

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

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

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Speak Up Now to Save Your Wheelchair: Fight Medicare Cuts

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

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Go Further Together with GRIT: Stories of Community Support

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

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Paralyzed Veteran’s Mom Awarded Dream Trip by ElDorado Mobility

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

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Wheelchair Karate: Attack the Attacker with Kenneth Perry

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

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

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

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Welcome to Wheel:Life

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

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