Sunday, May 29, 2016

Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month

Last but not least, May is Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month. Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disease that results in lung infections and breathing difficulty over time. People with CF struggle with the buildup of mucus in their lungs, pancreas, and other organs. Symptoms include salty-tasting skin, regular coughing, and below average growth or weight gain. Treatment options are airway clearance, inhaled medicines, and pancreatic enzyme supplement capsules. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is raising awareness and doing research to find a cure. For more information, go to

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Handling Disability with Grace

Last Saturday, Team Grace, an organization that spreads awareness of children with disabilities, kicked off its 2,000-Mile Challenge in Rockledge. The team will ride bicycles through different parts of Florida over the next few months. To watch a video about Team Grace, go to

Monday, May 23, 2016

On Top of the World

Last Thursday, Thomas Charles "Charlie" Linville, a Marine Corps veteran who lost his right leg in Iraq in 2011, became the first combat amputee to reach the summit of Mt. Everest. Linville, who climbed with The Heroes Project during his third attempt, hopes his feat will show that veterans with disabilities are capable of more than other people think. For more details on this story, go to

Update: Five days after Linville, former Army Staff Sgt. Chad Jukes was the second combat amputee to reach the top of Mt. Everest.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

ALS Awareness

May is National ALS Awareness Month. ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a disease in which nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord deteriorate progressively. Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge from 2014? That was a fundraiser for ALS, which makes it increasingly difficult for people to control their muscles and do activities of daily living. Individuals with this disease eventually pass away, but research is being done to find a cure. For more information, go to

As a side note, Neurotech Network is a non-profit organization that promotes neurotechnology for people with physical disabilities. Neurotechnology consists of devices such as deep brain stimulation and spine stimulators, which improve people's lives. Neurotech's founder Jennifer French, who became paralyzed after a snowboarding accident, benefited from an implanted neuroprosthetic system. The network's website,, contains valuable resources.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Tourette Syndrome

Today is the first day of Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month with the last day being June 15. Tourette Syndrome is a neurological disorder in which a person has motor and vocal tics. The person, who might also have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or obsessive compulsive disorder, is unable to control the repetitive movements and vocalizations. Although they might find themselves in socially awkward situations, people with Tourette Syndrome can lead productive lives. For more information, go to

Friday, May 13, 2016

Beach Access for All

Inspired by a relative with a physical disability and a Facebook post, Trish Facciobene of Grant-Valkaria has been leading a campaign to have access mats installed at beaches in Brevard County. These mats allow people who use wheelchairs and walkers to get closer to the shore line. A beach-access mat purchased from Mobi-Mat will be installed at James H. Nance Park in Indialantic in October. For more information on this story, go to pages 4 and 14 at

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

May: Mental Health Awareness Month

May has been Mental Health Awareness Month since 1949. One in five Americans has a mental health issue. Depending on its severity, mental illness can be disabling in that it affects a person's thinking and ability to function on a daily basis. Depression, a form of mental illness, can be a result of disability if one dwells on the negative aspects of it. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the United States' largest grassroots mental health organization. For more information, go to

Sunday, May 8, 2016

A Tribute to My Mother

My mother Tracy (pictured with me below) is one of the main reasons I'm "unabashed by disability." She knew I was different before I was born, but she didn't let that daunt her. My mom retired from her secretary job so she could focus on taking care of me. She helped me get through surgeries, school, and numerous activities while celebrating my milestones and achievements. I can't thank my mom enough for everything she does for me on a daily basis. Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Let the Games Begin!

The Invictus Games are a series of Paralympic-style events in which wounded or sick armed services personnel and veterans compete (please see the "Getting the Royal Treatment" post dated January 31 for my first reference to the Invictus Games). The inaugural Invictus Games were held in London in September 2014; this year's events take place May 8-12 in Orlando. The following is a list of the events: archery, Jaguar and Land Rover driving, indoor rowing, powerlifting, road cycling, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, and wheelchair tennis. For more information about the Invictus Games, go to Go, USA!

Monday, May 2, 2016

National Mobility Awareness Month

May is National Mobility Awareness Month among other things. The purpose of this awareness period, which is in its fifth year, is to show how people with disabilities can lead active lives with handicapped accessible vehicles. There are over 18 million people with mobility impairments in the United States and Canada. The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) is sponsoring a giveaway of three wheelchair accessible vehicles in honor of National Mobility Awareness Month. For more information, go to