Isabel and Ailbhe Keane, sisters from Dublin, Ireland, co-founded Izzy Wheels, a company that sells wheelchair spoke guards. The spoke guards, which are designed by various artists, are strapped onto the wheels as a decorative piece. Isabel uses a wheelchair because she has spina bifida and is paralyzed from the waist down. Accepting international orders, Izzy Wheels has received four awards, including Accenture's Leaders of Tomorrow Award 2017. To browse their shop, go to https://www.izzywheels.com/.
Isabel Keane with a wheelchair spoke guard
(courtesy of trendhunter.com)
Formerly an event planner, Leanne Lauricella founded Goats of Anarchy (GOA), a nonprofit that rehabilitates baby goats with special needs on a farm in New Jersey. A few of the goats use small wheelchairs for their hind legs while others have prosthetic legs. Some goats have health problems for which surgery is necessary. GOA, which has appeared on TV shows and in publications, was voted the winner of the People's Voice Webby Award for the Animal Social Media category in 2016 and 2017. For more information (including how to donate) and a dose of cuteness, go to http://goatsofanarchy.com.
Stellar Transport is a non-emergency medical transportation company based in Melbourne, Florida. For a fee, Stellar drives people to doctor's appointments, the hospital for ongoing medical treatments, and other locations as needed. Passengers also have a long distance option if they must travel more than 150 miles. Stellar's vehicles are wheelchair accessible and have room for a stretcher. If passengers need assistance, EMT-certified drivers help them get out of their homes and into their doctor's office or other destination. For more information, go to https://www.stellartransport.com/.
Hugs + Mugs is a cafe and gift shop staffed by adults with Down syndrome in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. Gelato and milkshakes are two of the items served at the cafe as advertised on its website. Some of the staff members make and sell personalized gifts such as travel mugs and cell phone cases. Hugs + Mugs hosts birthday parties, field trips, and other events. The cafe staff are graduates of GiGi University, a program run by GiGi's Playhouse. The value of the cafe can be summed up in the following formula: Hugs + Mugs = Jobs (for people with disabilities). For more information, go to https://gigisplayhouse.org/hugsandmugs/.
Chelsie Hill, a 25-year-old who is paralyzed from the belly button down, started a wheelchair dance team named the Rollettes in October 2012. Hill, who was on SundanceTV's reality show Push Girls, was an aspiring professional dancer before she was injured in a car accident in 2010. Based in Los Angeles, the Rollettes (who practice every Tuesday) do dance routines at events across the country. The team holds biannual dance intensives where wheelchair users learn a dance routine. The next dance intensive will take place August 9-13. To learn more about the Rollettes, go to http://www.rollettesdance.com/.