TAMPA, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) proudly kicks off today the 2013 National Mobility Awareness Month campaign. This movement educates seniors, veterans, caregivers, and people with disabilities about wheelchair accessible vehicles and adaptive mobility equipment options available to them to live an active and mobile lifestyle.
“During last year’s Local Heroes program, we were touched by more than 1,700 inspiring entries, saw 1.2 million votes cast, and delivered wheelchair accessible vans to three amazing families. We remain humbled by the response and look forward to creating life changing experiences in the lives of the 2013 winners.”
NMEDA is once again awarding three deserving “Local Heroes” with a wheelchair accessible vehicle tailored to meet their needs through an online contest. Sponsors, Chrysler Automobility, SanTan Honda and Toyota Mobility, are providing the vehicles, which will be customized by NMEDA manufacturers – BraunAbility and Vantage Mobility International (VMI).
To qualify as a “Local Hero”, entrants are encouraged to submit either written or videotaped stories of how they are triumphing over their mobility issues through their academic and career ambitions, as well as their family and local community contributions. Caregivers, friends and family members are also welcome to submit entries. Stories are being accepted at MobilityAwarenessMonth.com starting February 25, 2013. Voting begins on March 11, 2013 and closes on May 10, 2013. Winners will be announced the last week of May 2013.
“We’re pleased to sponsor this important program after a rewarding inaugural year,” said Dave Hubbard, executive director and CEO of NMEDA. “During last year’s Local Heroes program, we were touched by more than 1,700 inspiring entries, saw 1.2 million votes cast, and delivered wheelchair accessible vans to three amazing families. We remain humbled by the response and look forward to creating life changing experiences in the lives of the 2013 winners.”
The awareness month is supported by prominent spokespersons and advocates for those with disabilities:
- Josh Dueck – Hailing from British Columbia, Canada, Dueck is a Winter Paralympic and X Games medalist, who experienced a spinal cord injury in 2004 while coaching. Dueck has also enjoyed international fame as the first snow sit-skier to complete a back flip.
- Ashley Lauren Fisher – Fisher, who suffered a spinal cord injury, is an award-winning New Jersey restaurateur (four-star rated, Pazzo Pazzo); co-founder and chairwoman of Discovery Through Design, a non-profit organization that creates awareness and raises funds for disabled women's health initiatives and spinal cord research; and a model and actress. To date, this celebrated philanthropist has raised more than $1 million for spinal cord research.
- David Lowell – Now transitioning into retirement, Lowell has enjoyed a prosperous 35-year career in the loss control engineering industry, and he proudly served in the U.S. Marine Corps. At the age of 48, he sustained spinal cord injuries while riding in a limousine. A T-12 paraplegic, he supports spinal cord research, and is currently testing a device called, ReWalk.
- Mike Savicki –Savicki is a veteran; athlete; entrepreneur; and a C6, 7 quadriplegic due to a diving incident in 1990. The North Carolina resident, has won more than 70 gold medals in the National Veterans Wheelchair Games, and is the only person to finish the Boston Marathon both on foot and in a wheelchair, a race he has completed 18 times.
- Nick Springer – As a Paralympic and World Cup medalist in wheelchair rugby, Nick Springer is a world-class athlete. When he was fourteen years old, he contracted meningococcal meningitis at summer camp. Due to blood clotting, Nick’s legs and forearms were amputated. Nick travels the world speaking about the power of sports in disabilities, the need for vaccination, and about living the normal life of a teenager and “twenty-something” who just happens to be missing a few parts.
About National Mobility Awareness Month
National Mobility Awareness Month is the annual celebration that encourages seniors, veterans, caregivers and people with disabilities to enjoy active, mobile lifestyles. Founded in 1989 as a not-for-profit trade association, the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) supports the awareness month with the assistance of approximately 600 mobility equipment dealers, manufacturers and driver rehabilitation specialists located in the United States and Canada dedicated to expanding opportunities for people with disabilities. For updates, please visit MobilityAwarenessMonth.com, as well as Facebook, Twitter (@NMEDAcom) and Pinterest.