Archive for the ‘Physical/Mobility/Medical Disability’ Category

A Twitterer…er…rer…you get the idea…we can get into following

Check out this awesome story we found on Gizmodo.


Tony Niclinkson a massive stroke in 2005 that left him completely unable to move or speak. Check Tony out on the handle @TonyNicklinson. Using special software that follows the movement of his eyes on a keyboard and using blinks allows Tony to convert each selection into text and speech.

Despite this development, Tony’s story is pretty bleak. Living with a condition known as “Locked-in syndrome,” Tony is currently petitioning the High Court in the U.K. to let him end his life lawfully. Maybe having this kind of access to the world through this new software will change Tony’s mind.

Here’s a video of Tony’s story:

Paralyzed Man Is the First Person To Tweet With His Eyes

Jeff Owen Hanson: Investing Painter

By 14 years old this young man not only defied the odds against an optic tumor he named “Clod Cloddhopper”, he also owned multiple money making stocks and through his art and entrepreneurship had raised and donated $15,000 for multiple charities. To date, Jeff has donated over $200,000 to charity and continues to lead the way in disability advocacy with the sale of his brilliant abstract paintings.

Jeffrey Owen Hanson story.

For more on Jeff, to view his gallery, or to find out how you can contribute to his cause, visit

Jaguars Center Changed a Little Boy’s Life

Yahoo! Sports published a heart warming story about 6-year old Luke Akerstrom and his life changing friendship with Jaguars Center Brad Meester. You can read that article here.

Luke suffered a 35 minute seizure brought on by a rare form of encephalitis that unexpectedly struck him las New Year’s Eve and left him unable to walk. After extensive treatment and physical therapy, Luke took his first five steps last weekend, right into the arms of his friend, Brad Meester.

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Battle of the Build: OCC vs PJD in the Cadillac Build-off to Cure Duchennes


OCC and PJD face-off in the Cadillac Build-Off. PJD's Cadillac inspired bike (left) and OCC's (left) were commissioned by Cadillac for a charity auction. Proceeds from the auction will be donated to Cure Duchennes. Duchennes is a recessive X-linked form of muscular dystrophy. Image via Motor Ride.

Fans of the hit Discovery Network show American Chopper are familiar with the father/son dynamic that is heated enough to start World War III.

But in the show’s most recent episode, the two put their battle of the bikes to good use, each working with Cadillac to build two bikes to be auctioned off to raise money and awareness for the cure for Duchennes.

You can see a clip of that episode here.

Duchennes is a recessive X-linked form of muscular dystrophy. It is the more fatal of the forms of muscular dystrophy.

The two bikes, one from Orange County Chopper, or the Paul Sr.’s bike shop, and one from Paul Jr. Designs, the son’s shop, were designed utilizing elements, hardware, and even cadillac owned paints, to build a bike that represented the heart, image, and style of Cadillac. The two bikes are currently in an auction bidding war, the proceeds of which will be donated to Cure Duchennes. Paul Jr.’s bike is currently in the lead.

See this auction and more on Discovery Channel’s official website.

Closeup pictures and spec information on the two bikes can be found in this articel written by Motor Ride.

ORACLE meets yet another obstacle, DC comics

Oracle from DC comics

Oracle; image via

Comic book mania found an explosive resurgence as Hollywood caught the fever to turn some of America’s most beloved comic book heroes and heroines into moving pictures. From Tim Burton’s Punch! Boom! Pow! Batman reminiscent of the 1960’s Adam West Batman, to the return of Batman’s dark comic book beginings with Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins,” new generations are being introduced to the comic book icons who have lived decades worth of lives and tackled issues ranging from sociopathy to schizophrenia to acceptance of homosexuality to the integration of persons’ with disabilities into the world of heroedom.

So for those who know all about the world of Batman strictly through the movies, you’ll remember meeting Batgirl, played by Alicia Silverstone, in Joel Schumacher’s “Batman & Robin.” What you may not know about Batgirl that comic book followers know is that Batgirl Barbara Gordon becomes Oracle in 1989 after the Joker shoots Barbara in the spine in her civilian identity, librarian daughter of Commissioner James Gordon, leaving her a paraplegic in Alan Moores graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke.

As the Oracle, Barbara Gordon has become and icon of strength, determination, perserverance, and intelligence.


Oracle; image via

But at the beginning of the month DC Comics announced that its new release of Batgirl #1, written by Gail Simone, Oracle will rise again as Batgirl…as in Oracle will be a new walking, leaping, jumping, flying over tall buildings, Un-paralyzed Barbara Gordon. Yep. good ole Babs will no longer be the paralyzed superhero iconically reknowned.

Oracle fan Jill Pantozzi passionately wrote about her feelings on this matter in post over at NEWSarama. What’s more, she has taken an active role in advocating against the Oracle-turns- Batgirl-once-again event by introducing fans to Elena Barbarich’s, a.k.a. Yamino, Oracle Draw-a-thon. Yamino is inviting all artists to illustrate Barbara “Babs” Gordon in her chair. Yamino writes on her Tumblr, “I think we should do a big Oracle Draw-a-thon, to support visibility for disabled characters in mainstream comics, and comics in general. Heck, it doesn’t have to be just visual art. How about an Oracle Create-a-Thon? Whatever it is you do, fanart, fanfic, music, sculpture, cakes…. let’s do it!”

Information on where you can submit your own fan-art for the draw-a-thon can be found here. The official Oracle Create-a-Thon Tumblr has been made.

Aimee Mullins speaks on the art of disability

“Pamela Anderson has more prosthetic in her body than I do and nobody called her disabled.” ~Aimee Mullins

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Whirlwind RoughRider(tm) Wheelchair

Whirlwind Wheelchair International is a non-profit social enterprise dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities in the developing world while promoting sustainable local economic development in the process. We work to make it possible for every person in the developing world who needs a wheelchair to obtain one that will lead to maximum personal independence and integration into society. By giving wheelchair riders a central role in all aspects of our designs and projects we ensure that our chairs are appropriate for their real lives in their real environments. For thirty years in over 40 countries we have focused on producing durable, low-cost, and highly functional wheelchairs. These chairs give riders the reliable and functional mobility they need to reach their full potential. Our active adult wheelchair design, the RoughRider is used by 25,000 riders traveling over every terrain imaginable from muddy village paths to rough pot-holed urban streets.

In partnership with our wheelchair buyers, Whirlwind provided 3,000 RoughRiders in 2008 and 3,500 in 2009. These chairs were produced through our network of regional, quality-certified manufacturers, which currently can produce 12,000 RoughRidersTM per year. Small wheelchair shops across the developing world produced many more Whirlwind chairs under our public domain licensing program.

Whirlwind headquarters is located on the San Francisco State University campus as part of the Institute for Civic and Community Engagement. Whirlwind is a tax-deductible 501(3)(c) non-profit operating under the umbrella of the University Corporation San Francisco State. [Source]

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For more information, and in greater detail, on the RoughRider by Whirlwind, and to find out how you can help by donating a chair today, visit

A Selfless Act of Sisterly Love

Anaiah Rucker

Screenshot of 9-year old Anaiah Rucker from MSNBC.

Just what we all need on a Thursday morning, a good cry!

Nine-year old Anaiah Rucker, of Madison, Georgia, is being heralded a hero for saving her five-year old sister’s life after pushing her out of the way of an on-coming vehicle while walking to a school bus stop. Anaiah said she simply acted on instinct, snatching her baby sister back from danger, even though it placed her own life in mortal peril, fearing her younger sibling wouldn’t survive the accident.

Taking the hit instead, Anaiah’s spleen was damaged as well as her kidneys and both legs were broken. Sadly, doctors were unable to save one of her kidneys and had to amputate her left leg.

But this humble young girl doesn’t feel she deserves to be called a hero, instead simply says it was an act of sisterly love.

You can read the full article here.

Watch the news story and Anaiah’s interview on USA Today below:

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Anaiah has a tough road ahead of her, though this little hero has a wonderfully supporting mother, sister, and community behind her. She was given a heroes welcome home from the hospital and the community held a BBQ to raise funds for Anaiah’s medical bills and the renovations needed to make her home handicap accessible. Anaiah’s mother, Andrea Taylor recently lost her job, though there is some small blessing in that she will have the necessary time to dedicate to Anaiah’s long road to recovery and adaptation to her new disability. To mkae your own dedication to help Anaiah you can contact United Bank in Madison through the link provided. A donation fund has been set up in Anaiah’s name.

Goodwin, Liz. “Nine-year-old Loses Leg While Saving Little Sister’s Life.” Online posting. Yahoo!News. MSNBC, 23 Mar. 2011. Web. 24 Mar. 2011.

Roger Ebert Closed this year’s TED conference

Roger Ebert

Film critic Roger Ebert gave the final talk at this year's TED conference. Image via CNN.

At the beginning of the month, TED held its annual conference. This years conference ended with an emotionally wrenching talk from film and culture critic Roger Ebert, his wife, and two friends.

Ebert lost the ability to speak four years ago after much of his lower jaw had to be surgically removed in his battle against cancer.

But at this years conference, Ebert appeared center stage with a newly designed facial prosthesis and “Alex”, a computer voice from his MacBook. With his wife and two friends, Ebert shared his story of his illness, which turned the man who is well known for his running mouth into a man who was unable to have a conventional conversation.

In his speech, the critic likened the use of computer voice to that of HAL 9000, from the film “2001: A Space Odysseey,” but pointed out that there has been immense progress in technology used to simulate voices. A company in Scotland has been able to create a computer voice that sounds like Ebert before he lost the ability to speak. The voice was generated through processing many hours of tapes of Ebert talking.

“Alex,” however, is not this Ebert-sounding computer voice that Ebert spoke with at the conference; it is, instead, a rather impersonal computer generated voice. Still, Ebert told his captive audience that “the ultimate test of a computer voice is whether it can tell a joke like Henny Youngman.” Ebert then proceeded to tell a joke.

We wish we could find footage of “Alex” and the joke in action, but were unable to. We can tell you the joke ended with “You’re ugly.”

Read the CNN article on Ebert’s appearance and find out what the joke was here

Galant, Richard. “Ebert Closes TED Conference with Emotional Talk – and a Laugh.” Online posting. CNN. CNN Cable News Network, 4 Mar. 2011. Web. 8 Mar. 2011.

Amputee Wrestler Tries to Ease His Rival’s Pain

The New York Times recently published a story that was just heartwarming and should another side of coping with becoming disabled that isn’t normally discussed with any great length in media.

Read the New York Times story, After Amputation, Wrestler Tries to Ease Rival’s Pain, by Dirk Johnson, here.

Heriberto Avila

Heriberto Avila getting a push to class Tuesday at Belvidere North High School. Photo by John Konstantaras/Chicago News Cooperative. Image via

High school wrestler Heriberto Avila lost his leg after opponent Sean McIntyre’s legal take-down broke Avila’s leg. The broken bone caused a reupture in a blood vessel that then led to the necessity to amputate Avila’s leg.

Avila woke up in a hospital bed with a shocking struggle to deal with the loss of his leg. It was Avila who reminded his family and his pastor that though he was struggling, he was not the only person who needed solace.

Avila, known as Eddie to family and friends, said, “We need to pray for Sean too, because he needs to have peace in his heart.” [Source]

How beautiful a sentiment. When anger and grief are the first emotions that most are quick to latch onto, creating a whirlwind force of lawyers and legal destruction in the wake of its winds, the Avila family, on the encouragement of Eddie, sought to comfort the young rival who also was dealing with the accident that changed both the young men’s lives.

The article is incredibly heartwarming. The courage and compassion that Avila, the son of Mexican immigrants, shows his once rival and now friend is something that we should all take away a piece of goodness from and spread into the world. He harbors no ill will or hard feelings for the situation or for the young man who many would be quick to simply lay blame on, wooden cross and all.

You can read the full story here.

Johnson, Dirk. “After Amputation, Wrestler Tries to Ease Rival’s Pain.” New York Times. Chicago News Cooperative, 5 Mar. 2011. Web. 8 Mar. 2011.