Monday, November 30, 2009

wUnderGlow Wheelchair Light Website

A new website was launched for wUnderGlow Wheelchair Light. wUnderGlow is the first wheelchair light designed for use on manual wheelchairs. Check out the new uUnderGlow wheelchair light website.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Aaron Fotheringham: Young Guy Who Rocks

Aaron Fotheringham was featured on the CNN program "Young People Who Rock". It was a good interview. If you have never seen Aaron before, it gives a good overview of some of his accomplishments.

What is amazing about Aaron is that he is 17 years old, has been on ESPN, CNN, has appeared in movies and TV shows, has traveled all over the world! This kid has had a pretty eventful life and he is just at the very beginning of it. Aaron, there is so much in life waiting for you!

Now, if the rest of us, disabled and able-bodied alike, would take Aaron as an example and approach life as if there are no limits, no boundaries, nothing we can not do, just imagine what we could accomplish!

Rock on, Aaron!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Lady Gaga Hired an Able Bodied Wheelchair Dancer!!

My last blog is about Hollywood producers who hire able-bodied actors to play the role of disabled characters, such as the able-bodied actor who was chosen to play a disabled wheelchair charactor in Fox's Glee.

Now Lady Gaga has hired an able bodied dancer to be a wheelchair dancer??? You have GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!

Have a look at Lady Gaga's Dancer. The woman can not even push herself, she is being pushed!!! (She comes on about half-way through the video).

There are some VERY talented wheelchair dancers in the world who put on AMAZING performances such as Auti Angel. I know Auti. She is a sweetheart and is VERY talented. You can catch Auti Angel in the video below.

Have a look at Auti dancing.

Have a look at a wheelchair dance competition (dancing starts after about 1 min).

Obviously, there is no shortage of talented wheelchair dancers. What is it with these people, who would select someone with no talent and not even consider someone whose career is based on wheelchair dancing?? I just dont get it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Spread the Word: DON"T WATCH GLEE!

Do you remember the old days, when hollywood producers would hire a white actor to play an asian or an American Indian? Don't remember? Watch a clip of The King And I.

Do you think you would see that today? No way! So why would hollywood producers use an able bodied actor in a role of a wheelchair user??? Here is KEVIN McHALE, who plays Artie in the series:

What are the excuses for this disaster? I do not believe what they are saying

"I think there's a fear of litigation, that a person with disabilities might slow a production down, fear that viewers might be uncomfortable," said Robert David Hall, longtime cast member of CBS' "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."

And further

That was the intent in assembling the cast of "Glee," said executive producer Brad Falchuk, along with getting the best performers possible.

"We brought in anyone: white, black, Asian, in a wheelchair," he said. "It was very hard to find people who could really sing, really act, and have that charisma you need on TV."

What do the masses of today think about this? Washington post did an online poll on the topic and an incredible 88% are OK with the idea!!

From millions of wheelchair users, they could not find one who had enough talent for this part? I don't buy it.

I won't be watching Glee and I suggest that you dont either. I would love to see other disability blogs passing the word.

Charlie Wilks: A High School Football Player Who Happens To Be Blind

Ok, I know that this is a wheelchair blog. And of course the vast majority of my posts have to do with wheelchairs or wheelchair users. But this is an exception because it is an exceptional video. I just have to share it with you.

This is the story of Charlie Wilks, a high school student and football team player. Charlie is blind. He is known by his High School Football team as "The Beast". With some help from his teammates who line him up before the play and his teammate who shouts "GO" when the play starts, Charlie is an important member of the team.

Do you note the word "team" frequently in the paragraph above? It is not an accident. That is the key word in the story of Charlie Wilks. Charlie's team helps him and in turn he is a valued and important part of the team. That is the way it should be.

What is also cool about the documentary is that it is Charlie who interviews his mom, his grandfather, his teammates and his coaches. It appears that it is Charlie who has made the documentary.

At the end Charlie says "Don't view the disability as a crutch. View the disability as a leg and start running". Watch this excellent video of Charlie Wilks:

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Ultimate Quad Rugby Match!

On September 20, 1973 the world watched a young woman kick an aging man's butt across a tennis court. Billy Jean King's defeat of Bobby Riggs in the "Battle of the Sexes" went down in history as a break through match for women's tennis. Before then, few were interested in watching women's tennis and women tennis players earned a fraction of male tennis players. After that game, the masses began to accept women professional tennis players as serious athletes.

Of course, this was not the only step in bringing women's tennis out of the shadows and into the spotlight. But it was a very important step. And even though the match was not an even match, Riggs was 55 years old and out of shape while King was a 29 year old champion, it proved something to the masses. Before that game, women tennis players were simply not taken seriously. By winning the game, King made the world take note that women were serious contenders.

Quad Rugby shares a similar image to women's tennis of that time. Basically, outside a small insider crowd, the game is hardly seen. There is almost zero media attention. Since few know how exciting the game really is there virtually no mass appeal.

If you have never seen women's professional tennis before, you might imagine it to be rather boring. Who wants to see a bunch of women tapping a ball over a net? Once you have seen women's tennis, you know that it is every bit as exciting as men's tennis. Similarly if you have not seen quad rugby, you might imagine a bunch of sad disabled guys rolling around a court. Once you have seen it, you understand that quad rugby is every bit as exciting as any professional game.

How could quad rugby be brought into the spotlight? Create a demonstration match based on the Riggs vs King game. It does not matter if it is a fair match. It only matters that it peaks the interest so that people can see the game as it really is.

I propose a demonstration match between a top quad rugby team and a top professional NFL team. Or better yet the best NFL team; the Super Bowl team. Such a demonstration match would create a media frenzy. Top professional football players taking on a bunch of paralyzed guys? The image alone is almost frightening. Such an image would draw alot of attention to the sport, the way that the tennis match between Billy Jean King and Bobby Riggs brought attention to women's tennis.

Give the NFL team 1-2 weeks to train. Bring in Joe Soares, the bad boy American coach of the Canadian quad rugby team which kicked the US Team's butt in the paralympics. Soars' presence would help to bring some tension into the game.

Would the match be fair? Absolutely not. Who would win? Frankly, I have no idea. I don't think it really matters. The ultimate winner would be the sport of quad rugby.

Watch the trailor from "Murderball" the Acadamy Award Nominated Documentary about Quad Rugby:

Friday, November 13, 2009

Pimp My Wheelchair!

Did you ever thing about having a pimped out wheelchair? You know, like the MTV TV Series, Pimp My Ride where they would take a beat up, tired old wreck and turn it into an over-the-top, jaw dropping, more than cool super car?

Did you ever think about what you could do to your wheelchair if there were only the right accessories and if you had lots of money? We want to get your ideas about the things you would do.

We created an interactive article with a few ideas to start with, beginning with our own line of cool wheelchair bling, of course. The article is called Pimp My Wheelchair. Please give your input as to what you would do or what you would dream.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Blacks Friendlier to Wheelchair Users?

Ok, this is an interesting topic for a debate. According to a poster on the website "Urban Baby": "Which culture or group do you think has been the warmest and kindest.. meaning .. they make eye contact, they smile, they help with doors or even say a few words of greeting?"

According to the poster, in their experience:

"African Americans were far and away the warmest and kindest people toward the person in the wheelchair. I include many afro-carribean people, (eg. Jamaican) as well."

"Whites and Hispanics were generally equal. Maybe the whites were slightly less willing to interact. Least friendly and avoiding eye contact almost all of the time.. east Asian."

Does anyone have personal first hand experience with this?? If so, let us hear from you.

Read the discussion on Urban Baby

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wheelchair Beauty Contest

Some stunningly beautiful wheelchair users in this wheelchair beauty contest. The first one looks a bit sleepy though. Have you taken part in a wheelchair beauty pagent? Do you know anyone who has? What do you think about it?

Personally...I think it is GREAT! These women are simply beautiful, wheelchair or not. What do you think? If you happen to know any of these women, ask them to write to me (RehaDesign at If they send any photos, I would be pleased to post them on the blog.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Erik Kondo's Response To a Stupid Anti-Wheelchair User Campaign

Gene: Erik, Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. Tell me about your blog Cool Not Crippled , what gave you the idea to start it? When did you launch it?

Erik: Stan, one of the members of the blog, went to a movie in Salt Lake City where the Don't Drive Stupid ad was featured during the previews. He contacted me about it. We decided that it was an outrageously offensive ad and that we needed to get it discontinued. The blog has created in August of this year as a means to voice our disapproval of the manner in which wheelchair users are portrayed.

Gene: Do you see the Dont Drive Stupid campaign as a type of prejudice? What do you think is behind it?

Erik: The campaign is prejudice because it takes advantage of and promotes an extremely negative perception of wheelchair users. The campaign is an example of a "good" public service message that was executed very poorly and in a short sighted manner.

Gene: What is your long term objective? Are you trying to get them to stop the campaign? Do you think you will be successful?

Erik: My objective is to promote a positive image of wheelchair users. One that counter acts the current negative stigma that currently exists. Don't Drive Stupid has responded to our criticism and has discontinued their "wheelchair" campaign. But I feel they need to be held accountable for their actions. They need to take steps to reverse the damage they have caused. In addition, I recently found other negative "wheelchair" ads. These ads seem to feed upon each other. Therefore, they need to be stopped.

Gene: Who is working together with you? I see photos of all kinds of disabled athletes and celebrities on your blog. What is their involvement?

Erik: Right now I am the main driving force behind the blog. Erika Bogan (Ms. Wheelchair America 2010) has recently become involved too. Others have expressed an interest in helping out. Everyone on the blog has provided their support by promoting a more positive image of wheelchair users.

Gene: How can other people help you to achieve your goals? What would you like other people who are interested in this to do?

Erik: My first goal is to build up the blog with "cool" photographs of wheelchair users doing "cool" activities. Future plans will be to expand the blog into a display book and video. People can help out by simply submitting a photograph for the blog, or by informing others who would like to be involved.

Gene: That is exactly what we have in mind too. I hope we can work together on that. Thanks so much for participating in this interview. Please keep us informed about how things are progressing.

Erik: Thank you.