SCI Superstar: Rick Hansen

There are a lot of awesome things about Canada, and Rick Hansen is one of the coolest things about this beautiful place. This positive man’s journey post-injury may have began in athletics (and boy did he kick butt there), but that’s not where his resume ends; it’s where it begins.

To millions of Canadians, Rick is known as the “Man in motion” for an amazing 40,000 mile journey that took two years to complete, wearing out 117 tires and 11 pairs of gloves in the process. Read this entry

Vacay time yet?

Planning an epic tropical vacation…or dreaming of getting away? There are some insanely cool accessible vacation options out there, and the wheelchair-friendly resorts, places and activities only keep getting better. They’re so sweet in fact you may just forget the whole “not being able to walk” thing. Check ‘em out!

The first video comes from John “J2″ Mryczko, a C5-6 quad from Chicago, IL. He and his girlfriend went on an diving vacation to Cozumel, Mexico (considered one of the best diving spots in the world) and they went with the adapted SCUBA group, Diveheart (a really cool organization founded in 2001). And while he was not at all a scuba diver before this trip, he got the hang of it right away (even if it took 4 people to get him in his wet suit). Read this entry

Brazil loves wheelchair fashion (yes really)

Just like scientists realizing, “Wow, here’s another animal species we didn’t know about,” don’t think for a second you know everything that’s happening in the world of adaptive fashion. There are fashion-forward things happening in countries all over the world, and I’m here to fill you in on.

In the colorful country of Brazil (love this place) they have completely taken to wheelchair fashion, and Candida Cirino (her site) is a fashion designer who designs clothes for those with spinal cord injuries. Growing up with a mom as a seamstress, Candida received her first thread and needle at the age of 5, and by the time she was a teenager she was sewing things for her mom’s business.

This is when she made the cross-over into adaptive fashion. Her mom needed help creating designs for bodies that were not necessarily “the norm,” and the rest is history. Candida has been designing clothes since 2007 (when she took a class in fashion design), but only in the last two years has she been really making a name for herself.

December 11, 2011, was one of her first “big” events – when she submitted two models to Brazil’s annual “Fashion Mob” event, where models in haute couture looks strut their stuff in the streets. Read the rest of this entry

Animals and wheelchairs: Cute-ifying disability

The way humans perceive disability is….confusing. In the real world, able-bodied people never think of people with disabilities as cute. Sometimes, sure, the news will profile us as a puff piece, but generally speaking, people with disabilities are never considered “cute.” So, what’s with the onslaught of viral love for disabled animals lately?

Call it a trend, or maybe a new revelation, but the masses have discovered (thanks to viral videos) that they absolutely love animals in wheelchairs.  It started with cats and dogs in wheelchairs, and now even goldfish and baby pigs, like Chris P. Bacon from Florida, are getting in on the action.

Animals in wheelchairs have become almost as popular as that stupid Gangam dance. They’ve fallen into the “OMG” news category (along with the latest royal they’ve unearthed in a British parking lot). And I must say, for disability to become cute is weird. Read this entry

SCI Superstar: Esther Vergeer

I love the Netherlands. They have really good pancakes, awesome art and if you use a wheelchair, they give you a sports chair and an entire year of coaching free of charge (ah-hem, moving there now).

No wonder this is the awesome place where the effervescently positive Esther Vergeer hails, the reigning queen of wheelchair tennis – winner of 7 Paralympic gold medals and 22 championship titles – unbeaten since 1999. Read this entry

“Cruise ship from Hell” inaccessible too

If you’ve been paying attention to the news this week, maybe you read about that little foible that happened with Carnival Cruise Lines.

One of their cruise ships, the ‘Triumph,’ stopped working in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico (leaving thousands stranded with dwindling supplies, including three hour lines for food and sewage sloshing up and down the hallways). A nightmare for for Carnival Cruise Lines, but for people with disabilities who’ve been on this boat before? A sense of sweet vindication.

I took a 7-day New Year’s cruise on the Triumph in 2001 (when it was brand new), and it was really good at breaking vacation-hearts back then too. This cruise we went on (my family, bf and I) was years in the making. Read this entry

Wife of quadriplegic publishes beautiful ebook on caregiving

About six months ago, Dana Brown Ritter, the voice behind the disability relationship blog, guest posted on our site. She’s married to Michael Ritter, a C5-6 quad, and her blog highlights their relationship while she works as a television producer and journalist.

The guest post (“We Are”) she shared with us was one of the most popular posts from her site (read it here) – a beautiful poem dedicated to the wives of quadriplegics, and now she’s turned it into an ebook. Read this entry 

SCI Superstar: Francesco Clark

Founder and President of Clark’s Botanicals, an award-winning skincare company with products that have been featured in Allure, In-Style, and The New York Times (just to name a few publications) and the author of Walking Papers: The Accident that Changed My Life, and the Business that Got Me Back on My Feet.

Francesco is making the world beautiful and helping to heal it, all in one fell swoop. Read this entry on SPINALpedia

Paralyzed speed racers hitting the big time

Claustrophobic in your own body, that’s how being paralyzed can feel (at least from my experience) AND going real fast is one of the best ways to show this feeling the door.

But you don’t have to bother telling Michael Johnson and Matt Speakman, two men with paraplegia and the only two in the world with a spinal cord injury
racing at a professional level. Yep, they’re definitely the ‘big-timers.’

Michael is a 20 year old T6 paraplegic racing in the USF2000 series (with dreams of making it to the Indy 500) in an open cockpit formula car, meanwhile Matt Speakman is a 46 year old from Australia, also a paralegic, who’s become the first person with a SCI to be on the pro Porche racing circuit. Read the rest of this entry

SCI Superstar: Joni Eareckson Tada

Long before Christopher Reeve became injured, Joni Eareckson Tada was the well-known quadriplegic everyone knew about (especially in the Christian world). Injured in 1967 in a diving accident at the age of 17, Joni (the last of four girls, they wanted a boy so she was named after her Dad) well, let’s just say she’s has managed to like a remarkable life.

From starring in a movie about her life, serving under two US presidents on the Disability Advisory Commitee (GW Bush and Obama), to founding the Joni & Friends International Network (they do so much good), read my post on this very awesome lady on another site I blog for (SPINALpedia; a disability video archive). Read this entry