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Jody Copp stands next to his son in his wheelchair. Next to them stands Joanna Gaines and the other Copp son in his wheelchair. Melissa Copp crouches next to her son. They all have a surprised look on their faces as their new home is revealed on Fixer Upper.
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Fixer Upper Family Gives Back through Raising Wheels Foundation


Editor’s Note: When Melissa and Jody Copp noticed their firstborn wasn’t hitting his milestones as an infant, the concerned parents took him to a neurologist. Although the test results came back normal, the Copps knew something wasn’t right. With so many unanswered questions, the couple began their quest for a diagnosis. For the next several years, they spent countless hours and dollars on visits with various specialists, none of which were able to pinpoint the cause of Calan’s condition. Wheel:Life met up with Melissa Copp at Abilities Expo Dallas where she talked to us about her family’s financial and emotional struggles, obtaining an accessible home with the help of HGTV, and launching their nonprofit, the Raising Wheels Foundation.

Calan and Lawson

Our two sons, Calan and Lawson, were born with a life-threatening condition that took seven years to diagnose. That journey took us on such highs and lows that were almost impossible to keep up with. It all started when we noticed signs of delayed development in our oldest son, Calan, who is 11 now. As an infant, he couldn’t lift his head and wasn’t developing any muscle tone. We took him to a neurologist initially. Since then, we’ve seen around 22 different specialists. While we were searching for a diagnosis, we spent every third or fourth day in a doctor’s office. That’s how we lived our lives for seven years.

It was a very difficult time, but my husband and I decided we wanted a second child. Even though Calan was still undiagnosed, and we didn’t know whether the cause of his condition was spontaneous or genetic, we knew that whatever happened would be a blessing.

Two boys from the chest down in wheelchairs holding hands.

When we had our second child, Lawson, almost four years later, we soon realized we were living déjà vu. He was experiencing the same symptoms as Calan:  muscle weakness, colic, and delayed development.

When the boys were finally diagnosed, we found out they have a mutation of the PNPT1 gene. This mutation affects the mitochondria, which are responsible for the energy production of cells in the entire body. The mitochondria help the body’s systems work together. We also discovered that both my husband and I are carriers. By getting together, we hit the genetic lottery, and this mutation was passed on to both of our children. We later found out that there was only a .05% chance that our second child would be positive for the same genetic mutation and would also show symptoms.

We only know of around 16 confirmed cases in the world of the same genetic mutation. There are three cases in the United States, two of which are our boys. Calan and Lawson are also one of only two sets of siblings in the world.

“It’s so rare that there’s no medical term or name.”

 

With this condition, the boys can move their bodies, but their brain doesn’t send the right signals to their muscles. There’s no medicinal cure or treatment. Instead, they do therapy — physical, occupational, and speech — to build muscle memory. That’s how they learn what their bodies can do. We intervened at six months old and started therapy, which has saved their lives.

Looking for Resources

At one point, we got to a stage where we had run out of local resources, but we knew there had to be something else out there. After researching online, we found the Abilities Expo in Houston, Texas. We started attending in 2016, and we have found almost everything we’re using now in regard to resources for equipment there.

One of the resources I came across was the Disability Funding Guide. I met the author, Tammy Simmons, and when we sat down together, I told her about my next big idea — a 100% accessible home.

“I no longer wanted to see my kids struggle in an inaccessible home.”

 

I knew it was going to be a mountain of a task, but I left the expo with confidence about what my goal was and how I was going to obtain it. I didn’t know what the steps would be and which direction it would take me, but I knew it would be very hard. Some days, I wanted to give up, but I knew it was something I had to do for my boys.

Two boys in wheelchairs with their mother, father, and dog standing between them.

One day, it’s vivid in my memory, I saw my boys looking out the window at our former home wanting to go outside, but they couldn’t. That has stuck with me for the entire journey because I never want them to wish for something; I want them to be able to do it. When I left the Abilities Expo that day, I started the journey for our accessible home.

As we looked for funding, we were constantly coming up short. We wanted a 100% accessible home because our sons deserve nothing less. I decided to contact Chip and Joanna Gaines and their Magnolia Foundation because their show, Fixer Upper, was up and coming on HGTV. I knew if anybody would be able to help us, it was them if they just heard our story. After a year of trying to contact them, I received a phone call in which their PR rep told me they couldn’t help. I kept that voicemail as motivation, and we continued doing what we could on our own.

The Phone Call

A year later, I reassessed. We had worked hard on the project, and I wanted to keep going and see what other options there were. In a leap of faith, we had sold our home full of barriers and moved into a small apartment. I contacted Magnolia again to see if they had set up a nonprofit for a possible grant to obtain a piece of equipment we were hoping to purchase that would help us get better access inside the home. Low and behold, I got a phone call back from the executive director of Magnolia Foundation telling me he loved our story and how we’d worked so hard to try to get access for our boys. He couldn’t promise anything, but he wanted to meet us.

We met inside the house we had been looking at. It was a shell with nothing inside and no electricity, water, sewage, heat, or air conditioning. We talked with the executive director for more than an hour there. But after that, we didn’t hear from Magnolia for over three months. I tried to stay positive. I wanted to keep the momentum going forward. My husband was more realistic and wanted to move on, but I knew something had to happen.

A chest up shot of Melissa Copp.

As a matter of fact, we had recently met with our primary specialist in Houston who told us we needed to move closer to the city because of the level of care needed for the boys. She said we’d be having appointments every three months, and a one-way trip from Waco to Houston takes about three and a half hours. Secretly, we began looking for jobs and homes in College Station, about halfway between Waco and Houston. Neither of us wanted to move to Houston, and since Jody and I had both attended Texas A&M University in College Station, this seemed to be a great fit for us and would get us closer to our specialists while being in a smaller city we felt more comfortable in.

Four months after meeting with the executive director of Magnolia Foundation, we got the phone call that changed our lives forever. It was the call I’d been waiting for. He said he needed to meet with us urgently. In the courtyard of our apartment complex, he told us we were not only getting the grant for the piece of equipment we requested but that they had also connected with Tim Tebow who wanted to help. They were going to renovate the entire house we had been looking at to be 100% wheelchair accessible, and they had saved an episode in season five of Fixer Upper specifically for this project.

“For the first time in my life, I was speechless.”

 

The house had been on the market for seven years prior because it was just a shell. The owners at the time had gutted it and decided to leave it as a project for later. To a family with two boys who live life on wheels, it was a gold mine. We could turn it into anything, but it took almost two years of talking with and convincing the owners of our need as they really weren’t in a hurry to sell. I finally wrote a personal letter about how much the property would mean to us and change our lives as a family. Convinced by the passion of the letter and the dedication of our family to each other, the owners agreed to sell the property to us and hold it for us when we were ready. Since we had planned to take on this project previously on our own, we had already hired an architect to draw the plans we wanted. When Magnolia, Chip and Joanna, and Tim took over the project, they had all of the desired parts in place because we had already done the work. It was perfect timing — God’s timing — and we pinch ourselves still to this day. It had to have been on TV for me to know it was real.

Our 100% Accessible Home Named Hope

We were lucky that the Magnolia team was extremely proactive about wanting to create a fully functional home for Calan and Lawson. They had us make a wish list, and they included everything we asked for in the home. My favorite elements are those that bring the boys the most function and joy.

The Copp family and Joanna Gaines crouch down in front of their soon to be revealed new home.

For me, it starts with the flooring. We researched options for several years and found that luxury vinyl tile is one of the most wheelchair-friendly floorings. Also, from room to room, we have no thresholds. They installed grab bars throughout the home so the boys can pull up and hold on because their play areas are on the wall rather than the floor. On the walls, there are areas for them to build with their LEGO sets, cork boards to display their art, and metallic panels to play magnetic games while standing and building muscle tone.

The bathroom is one of our favorite rooms because it’s split into two spaces: a caregiver room, and a washroom. The washroom is cool because not only are there wheelchair accessible sinks, but the mirrors also tilt down.

“The boys can now look at themselves in the mirror for the first time in this home.”

 

A white, tiled bathroom with a changing table. Jody and Melissa Copp are standing in the doorway.

The door leading to the backyard opens up with the press of a button like you’d see at a commercial retail store. Chip and Joanna asked us to research and find these types of products for the home that are actually reasonably priced.

Most of the home is free of anything on the floor. There are no rugs. The boys have no furniture in their rooms other than their beds because a dresser is built into the closet, giving them more space to play and move around. The light switches and electrical outlets are at their level so they can reach them. All of these things seem little, but they make a world of difference. We couldn’t be more grateful. We call our home Hope because we never lost hope that we would one day have a fully accessible home.

Connecting with Other Families

After the episode aired in January of 2018, we connected with other families with the same diagnosis. They found us. Without the show, we wouldn’t have known that we were not the only ones out there. Many blessings took place after Fixer Upper. Not only do we have our accessible home, but we now have a larger family and thankfully, don’t feel so isolated anymore. That’s one of the feelings we couldn’t shake. It was amazing to find out that there were other children, some older than our boys, living a full life.

Raising Wheels Foundation

The first few weeks in the house were magical. We were making memories we never thought would be possible. The boys were running down the hallways with their posterior walkers, turning on faucets on their own, and playing in the backyard just like I had envisioned the day I saw them looking out the window. That joy turned into the desire to give back. The day the Fixer Upper episode aired, Chip Gaines launched a campaign online to ask people to help us with our mortgage. To our amazement, it was completely paid off within two hours by the fans. We will never be able to repay them, so we decided to live life to the fullest for the fans, Chip and Joanna, and Tim Tebow. We also wanted to give back by launching a nonprofit that focuses on assisting families like ours. We felt so isolated and desolate on our journey, and we don’t want anyone else to experience that.

The Raising Wheels Foundation logo. The two letter "e"s are icons of wheelchair users.Our 501(c)(3) nonprofit, the Raising Wheels Foundation, was launched in July of 2018, a few months after our episode of Fixer Upper aired. Our mission is to assist families who are raising differently abled children to become more empowered and enabled through accessibility. Our first year was amazing. We’re in our second year now, and we’ve already doubled our grants. We’re only going to get bigger as more of the public becomes aware of us.

We focus on three initiatives. The first one emphasizes education and awareness of the need for better accessibility. We educate the public as well as the families needing resources. The public needs to be more aware of what accessibility truly means. It’s different for everyone depending on their mobility type, but we whole-heartedly believe that if a world is built for wheelchairs, it’s built for everybody. You work with your most differently abled, and you go from there.

“If accessibility became a universally accepted concept, it would make the world so much better.”

 

As part of this initiative, we do awareness campaigns about how fun life is on wheels. We launched our awareness calendar of the kids we have impacted and photographed them doing their favorite activity on wheels. We want to show the public that it’s not a life that’s bound. We always say our children are not bound by a wheelchair; they’re bound only by the barriers they come across.

A boy in a power wheelchair wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses smiles large while looking off to his side.

Our second initiative focuses on universal community spaces. We open up the dialogue about the need for more universal design in public areas especially for those that are differently abled. We partner with schools, churches, businesses, and other organizations to encourage the installation of universal changing areas in public buildings and centers. We do the most advocating in this initiative because it is almost non-existent in the community. Through our personal experience, we have come to realize that families will not travel more than 30 to 60 miles from their homes because there are no proper changing spaces or restrooms to accommodate all abilities.

The third initiative we’re most excited about is our Accessibility Grant Program. We are a monetary resource for families to help them obtain equipment their insurance will not provide. We awarded two Life Assist Table grants in our first year, and we’re doubling that this year. Life Assist Tables are what we’ve coined adult changing tables and is something we are very passionate about.

A woman holds a smiling child up as Jody Copp talks to her.

I do have a full-time job, but because I love helping others and feel so passionate about our mission, I devote a lot of my spare time to the foundation. I know families are waiting for help, and that’s my driving force for doing this.

The kids are a huge part of the Raising Wheels Foundation. They talk about the mission to anybody who will listen. They enjoy helping us because they see that our passion is true and real.  You will find them with us speaking at presentations, expos, and events we host in the community.

My husband Jody works for the foundation full time as an unpaid volunteer. He’s our operations manager and treasurer. I usually have the vision, and he helps me make it happen. He’s the driving force behind the execution and keeps us organized.

Wash ‘N Roll

Many people washing a wheelchair.

One of my favorite events is our Wash ‘N Roll. We get tons of volunteers to help wash wheelchairs. It’s one of those moments where you look back and realize that all the hard work is worth it. I get to see parents beside themselves because their child’s wheelchair got washed. It’s a simple thing, and yet, they’re so appreciative of the fact that their child has a clean wheelchair because that’s always the last item on the to-do list. While we clean the wheelchairs, we feed and entertain the kids. The Wash ‘N Roll has become a staple event for us, and we do it every spring.

The Triumph Book: Raising Wheels

The Raising Wheels book cover. It features two shadows of people in wheelchairs against a grassy and blue-sky background.I met author Melanie Davis at an Abilities Expo back in 2016. When we connected, she had this lightbulb moment that our story should be told. This was years before Fixer Upper. After the show, the book Melanie and I had envisioned finally came to fruition. It’s a collection of stories I helped curate about overcoming tragedy and triumphing over difficulties. The stories are about families who are raising differently abled children and adults who are living successful lives on wheels. It’s a mix of both so that readers can see what it’s like to raise a child on wheels and how that child can grow into an independent and successful adult. It’s a very powerful book, and I’m so proud of it. I know it will resonate with so many people and hopefully provide comfort to those needing it the most.

Editor’s Note: The Triumph Book — Raising Wheels can be purchased on the Raising Wheels Foundation website. All proceeds go to the Raising Wheels Foundation.

Advice for Parents

My number one resource has been other parents. You’ll use professionals for the medical side, but you need a support system. Start gathering up emotional, physical, and monetary support as well as caregiver relief. You’ll need to tackle this intense journey head-on with those four things. For monetary support, know that nothing is impossible. I found out quickly that you don’t get what you don’t ask for.

“Don’t be so proud that you can’t ask for help because this is beyond you.”

 

You already have yourself to worry about, and now you also have a medically fragile child to raise. Your number one goal should be to let other people help you raise the needed funds. There are resources out there, but you have to do the legwork to find them.

The Copp Family, Jody, Melissa, Calan, and Lawson in front of a brick building smiling at the camera.

Editor’s Note: If you’re looking for support in or near Waco, Texas, reach out to the Raising Wheels Foundation.

Watch the Copp Family Fixer Upper episode (season 5, episode 10) on your cable provider’s On Demand service or Apple TV.

All information in this article was extracted from an interview and email communication with Melissa Copp. It has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

About the Author

betsy-bailey-headshot

Betsy Bailey has a diverse background that includes experience in travel and culinary writing, business operations, marketing research, and playing volleyball professionally overseas.

Betsy has been writing for Wheel:Life since January of 2017 and thoroughly enjoys the process of getting to know her interviewees. She also enjoys a good vegan brunch, practices parkour, speaks French fluently, and travels any chance she gets!

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5 Adaptive Events You Should Try This Year

2019 is here! What’s on your list of resolutions for the new year? ...

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3 Accessible New Year’s Destinations You Still Have Time to Book

Are your New Year’s plans still up in the air? How about taking a ...

group photo in park
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Comfort Conversations: How Does Giving Help Defeat the Holiday Blues?

Feelings of sadness are different for everyone as is each ...

Hand cycler on trail
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Visit these Bucket-List Accessible Travel Destinations in 2019

This New Year, resolve to explore your world with these U.S.-based ...

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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
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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 ...

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Don’t Miss These 5 Adaptive Events This December

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

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How Adaptive Fitness is Helping Joanna Bonilla Fight for Recovery

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

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

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

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Clay Garner’s Fight to Beat Transverse Myelitis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Meet Stanley + More Great Resources for Kids Who Cath

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

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SAS: Campaigning for the Support of Adaptive Sports

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

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101 Mobility Chicago: Helping People Stay in Their Homes

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

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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, ...

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Go Off the Beaten Path with the Outbounder 6×6

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

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

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

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Causes for Change: Making a Difference at Home and Abroad

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

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Chris Lenart on Life With Cerebral Palsy and DisabilityAwareness.us

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

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Ms. Wheelchair America: Empowering Women, Shaping Leaders

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

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

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

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Edna Serrano is a Roll Model for Strong Latina Women

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

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

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

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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
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Two SpeediCath Users Tell Wheel:Life Their Stories

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

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

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

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Freedom Concepts: Helping Kids Be Kids

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

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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 ...

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

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

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

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

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Tecla: Fostering Independence Through Access to Technology

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

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

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

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Super Leg Joel Ellen on Faith and Fitness After Limb Loss

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

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

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

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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
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The Benefits of Your Child Getting Active with Adaptive Bike Riding

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

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Our Top 5 Accessible Summer Vacation Destinations

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

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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 ...

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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.
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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 ...

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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 ...

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The Healing Powers of Grounding Therapy for Wheelchair Users

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

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Cruising the Planet with Amputee Debra Kerper

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

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The Online Dating Experience for the Disabled

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

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Inclusion, Adventure, and Therapy with Freedom Concepts

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

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Where Do You Want to Go?

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

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TerrainHopper USA: Bringing Adventure and Freedom to People with Disabilities

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

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Breaking Down Broadcasting Barriers with Paul Amadeus Lane

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

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Zebreda Dunham Powers Through Challenges on the Pitch and in Life

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

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Adaptive Aerial Yoga Allows Wheelchair Users to Fly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sheri Melander-Smith on Living Your Best Life

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 ...

woman next to girl on Freedom Concepts adaptive bike
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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 ...

women in wheelchairs dancing at Abilities Expo
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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 – ...

engineered for adventure GRIT
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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, ...

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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 ...