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The Abilities Expo Rolls Through Atlanta


logoabilitiesexpoLast weekend, the Abilities Expo consumer roadshow arrived in Atlanta, to the delight of hundreds of local residents who explored their aisles for new products, sporting events, clothing designs, accessible travel destinations and more helpful resources. Highlights from the Atlanta event included the following activities, products and sports:

FreeWheel
The FreeWheel Wheelchair Attachment turns your manual chair into a 3-wheel all-terrain chair, in a matter of seconds!  With Free Wheel, you can safely glide over uneven sidewalks, down curbs and even off road.  Their latest product, FreeWheel RACK, allows you to carry groceries, your tackle box and fishing pole, cooler, luggage or any other item with comfort and ease.  Company founder Pat Dougherty is a C6-7 quadriplegic who personally designed Free Wheel in his garage before launching this full-fledged assistive device company.  Learn more at www.gofreewheel.com.

Pat Dougherty of FreeWheel demonstrates his device to an Expo guest.

Pat Dougherty of FreeWheel demonstrates his device to an Expo guest.

Happy Happy Horses
Special Equestrians of Georgia provides a nurturing, therapeutic environment using the positive power of the horse to help individuals who are facing physical and other challenges.  The littlest members of their team, the Shetland ponies, joined the crowd at the Abilities Expo to help encourage others to try adaptive riding!  How could you not love these little guys?  For your own horseback adventure, visit www.specialequestriansofgeorgia.org.

Horses make any day better, don't you think?

Horses make any day better, don’t you think?

Adaptive Rock Climbing

The No Limits team encouraged Expo visitors to get out of their chairs, literally!

The No Limits team encouraged Expo visitors to get out of their chairs, literally!

The Atlanta event offered a climbing wall sponsored by Home Delivery Incontinent Supplies [HDIS] that was accessible to every visitor.  Expert mountaineer and Paralympian Mark Wellman oversaw the team that helped guests scale the side of his No Limits 25-foot adaptive climbing wall.  Designed to be perfectly safe, climbers were unencumbered by their usual mobility equipment, using a self-propelled pulley system to carry them far above the ground up to the top of the wall summit.

If you’re local to Atlanta, Catalyst Sports will be hosting one of the largest adaptive climbing clinics in the country here in Atlanta Georgia. This event will be held on March 23, 2013 at Stone Summit, one of the largest climbing gyms in the country. Individuals of all physical disabilities are welcome to attend at no cost. There will be one-on-one instruction provided by USA Paraclimbing Athlete, Ronnie Dickson, along with other highly qualified Catalyst Team Members led by founder Eric Gray. Interested in volunteering or participating? Visit www.gocatalystsports.org for more info.

Smart Drive
One of the coolest new products for wheelchair users, Smart Drive gives you the power of cruise control for your manual wheelchair.  This revolutionary new power assist device will propel you up steep hills, through carpet and over grass. It is intuitive to use, just push to go and brake to stop.  Portable and lightweight at only 11 lbs, the battery pack lasts for days.  This product is available for cash purchase and it is also insurance reimbursable. More details at http://max-mobility.com/products/smartdrive/.

 See how SmartDrive works:

Accessible Travel with Delta
Delta Airlines also rolled out the red carpet for Expo guests, with friendly staff on hand to talk about best practices for travelling with wheelchairs or other mobility equipment.  Delta has shared an educational video to assist their guests with future travel arrangements.  View the video that was developed in conjunction with Atlanta’s Shepherd Center and Delta’s Advisory Board on Disability at http://www.delta.com/traveling_checkin/travel_tips/disabilities/disability.jsp?MkCpgn=EMTNUPAA001115110311180444-A01A-A9.

BraunAbility
BraunAbility wheelchair vans and lift systems offer the ultimate in convenience, safety, quality and reliability.  Their dealers are trained mobility experts who focus on your individual needs.

Company founder Ralph Braun was a pioneer in the mobility industry, struggling with SMA from a young age. Out of a need to improve his own mobility, Braun built his first three-wheel scooter in 1962. Realizing that there were many others like him, he started his own company developing and manufacturing several mobility products. This began in 1963 when he started Save-A-Step Manufacturing. This eventually grew into The Braun Corporation in 1972. What began as a solution to his own mobility needs grew to a company that would eventually change thousands of lives. In 2006, The Braun Corporation adopted the brand name, BraunAbility for its products. Today his company has grown into a worldwide corporation, with its headquarters still based in Winamac, Indiana.

Sadly, Ralph Braun passed away this weekend and the news was shared with attendees during the Expo.  Braun Ability was very kind in sharing copies of Braun’s autobiography, Rise Above, with guests.  If you’d like to get a free copy, or learn more about BraunAbility products, please visit www.braunability.com.

Honoring Ralph Braun for all of his contributions to the wheelchair community.

Honoring Ralph Braun for all of his contributions to the wheelchair community.

For more than 30 years, Abilities Expo has been the go-to source for the Community of people with disabilities, their families, seniors, veterans and healthcare professionals. Six more Abilities Expo events will take place nationwide throughout 2013. Their next stops are listed below.

  • Los Angeles: March 15-17, 2013
  • New York Metro: May 3-5, 2013
  • Chicago: June 28-30, 2013
  • Houston: August 2-4, 2013
  • Boston: September 22-22, 2013
  • San Jose: November 22-24, 2013

Register for your free Abilities Expo pass at www.abilitiesexpo.com.

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