A Hero in a Wheelchair

June 16, 2011

A Hero in a Wheelchair

The Patriot Post | June 16, 2011 | By Roy Exum

As we sound the drums and lower the house lights so the spotlights can pick up the newest hero in my personal Hall of Fame, you’ll notice our newest honoree is dwarfed by the motorized wheelchair she is commanding with a hand lever but we make no apology that it will serve as the Chair of Honor for Audrey Winkelsas.

In fact, that chair is a beautiful accessory to this pretty girl’s life and has enabled her to scurry from first one classroom and then the next at Wekiva High School, where she and 500 of her classmates were graduated this weekend in the annual ceremonies held near Apopka, Fla.

Audrey Winkelas was the overwhelming choice as the school’s Valedictorian where, based on a 4.0 grade-point scale, her overall average was 5.1. The reason for such a disparity was because she made A’s in 14 Advanced Placement courses, this despite the fact her classmates would literally have to help her get her lessons from her bag because her hands and wrists are too frail to lift an average textbook.

Audrey, you see, has a crippling and incurable disease called spinal muscular atrophy and it is with great pleasure we tell you that she plans to dedicate the rest of her life studying and researching the disease. She has already been awarded a full scholarship to the University of Miami in Coral Gables.

Click HERE or on the image below to read more…

Advertisements

Wekiva High valedictorian’s life a victory over disability

June 3, 2011

Wekiva High valedictorian’s life a victory over disability

Orlando Sentinel | June 3, 2011 | By Joseph Freeman

The valedictorian at Wekiva High School near Apopka succeeded in 14 Advanced Placement courses, but she lacks the strength to operate a stapler. She earned a grade-point average of 5.1, but whenever she started a new class, she had to ask another student to help her take books out of her backpack.

Audrey Winkelsas’ life has been full of such difficult contrasts. Yet when she emerged from behind the stage in a wheelchair to raucous applause and a standing ovation during graduation ceremonies Friday, she finally had a moment to focus only on the victories. In her small, frail hands, she held a copy of her valedictory speech.

Winkelsas, 18, has spinal muscular atrophy, or SMA, a disease in which the body’s muscles degenerate. Although her affliction is crippling and incurable, she is a dazzling student who has received a full scholarship at the University of Miami, where she plans to study the disease that has dominated her life.

Click HERE or on the image below to read more…


Hundreds of children and adults will come together for Jacob’s Run, Walk & Roll to Cure SMA

February 25, 2011

Hundreds of children and adults will come together for Jacob’s Run, Walk & Roll to Cure SMA

Press Release | February 25, 2011

Sunday, March 6 at 9:30am hundreds of children and adults will come together at the South Country Regional Park in Boca Raton for Jacob’s Run, Walk & Roll to Cure SMA.  Boynton Beach residents Shaina and Adi Rappoport have served as the event organizers since 2002 when their son, Jacob, passed way from SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy) related complications.  Jacob was nine months old.

“We had never heard of SMA, but now we have pledged our lives to fighting this horrific disease” said Shaina. “We have chosen to do this to honor our son’s memory.”

Click HERE or on the image below to read more…


Spinal muscular atrophy: Meet a toddler who suffers

February 16, 2011

Spinal muscular atrophy: Meet a toddler who suffers

WTSB | February 16, 2011 | By Stefanie Fogel

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Tampa, Florida – Each and every morning a strict regiment is played out and it’s never easy for Shirley and Joe Cuadrado. Their grandson Christian is a small frail little boy who can’t do for himself.

Shirley Cuadrado, “I’ve become a radical grandmother on a mission to get a cure.”

Christian suffers from a disease called spinal muscular atrophy, otherwise known as SMA. It’s an extremely rare disease that affects 1 in 24,000 babies. It causes muscles to deteriorate and can lead to severe respiratory problems, among many other afflictions.

Click HERE or on the image below to read more…


Couple designs apartments for the disabled

January 26, 2011

Couple designs apartments for the disabled

The Miami Herald | January 26, 2011 | By Laura Isensee

In his Quickie P200 electronic wheelchair, Pedro Rodriguez recently whizzed along East Third Street in Hialeah. Just ahead, his wife Angie rolled along in her 1113 Jazzie.

They quickly reached their destination: a complex with 18 wheelchair-friendly apartments with roll-in showers, specially designed kitchens and extra-wide hallways.

The couple has made it their life’s work to assist others with physical disabilities through their 25-year-old nonprofit. The new complex is their latest effort.

In February, their nonprofit, Spinal Cord Living-Assistance Development Inc., will debut the building, called SCLAD Plaza, at 201 E. Second St. It will offer housing that is both affordable and accessible to low-income, disabled residents.

“We want people with disabilities to live in their own communities,” explained Angie Rodriguez, 58. “Accessibility in the home — we consider that to be No. 1. If you can’t get into your bathroom, if you can’t move around in your kitchen, you are tied. You don’t have freedom.”

Apartments like the ones at SCLAD Plaza are precious.

Click HERE or on the image below to read more…


John Bell and Patterson Hood Share Stage at Hannah’s Buddies Benefit

January 24, 2011

John Bell and Patterson Hood Share Stage at Hannah’s Buddies Benefit

Jambands.com | January 24, 2011

The 12th Annual Hannah’s Buddies benefit, which raises money for spinal muscular atrophy research, took place over the weekend at the Grand Cypress Golf Club and The House of Blues in Orlando, FL. Saturday saw the event’s host John Bell introduce Hannah for whom the event is named, before performing a set that focused on material from the Widespread Panic catalog, such as “Let’s Get the Show On the Road,” “Mercy,” and “Dirty Side Down.” Towards the end of the set, Bell brought out Buck Williams, Widespread Panic’s longtime booking agent and co-manager, who added harmonica to Neil Young’s “From Hank to Hendrix.” Bell’s set concluded with the Drive-By Truckers’ Patterson Hood joining in for “Smokestack Lightning” and “End of the Show.” Bell also appeared with Hood’s group on a version of Alice Cooper’s “I’m Eighteen.”


John Bell Offers Hannah’s Buddies Update

January 6, 2011

John Bell Offers Hannah’s Buddies Update

Jambands.com | January 6, 2011

The 12th Annual Hannah’s Buddies benefit will take place on January 21 and 22 at the Grand Cypress Golf Club and The House of Blues in Orlando, FL . Friday the 21st will feature a golf tournament followed by an awards reception and then a performance by Galactic and the Bobby Lee Rodgers Trio. Saturday the 22nd will offer a dinner and silent auction followed by music from John Bell & Friends, the Drive-By Truckers, and Nickel and the Polar Bears. The event raises money for spinal muscular atrophy research.

Bell has offered the following update on the event, including a link that offers a glimpse at some of the auction items:

Click HERE or on the image below to read more…