• Wilmington Gets Visit from Miss Wheelchair NC

    madeline-delp-bwWhen Madeline Delp was just ten years old, she was in a vehicle that was struck by a truck, leaving her paralyzed from the waist down. In spite of this, Madeline never let her disability stop her ability to succeed.

    Now, as Miss Wheelchair NC USA 2017, Madeline recently visited Wilmington, NC to speak at a medical conference.

    Adjusting to a New Reality

    In an interview with NBC affiliate, WECT, Madeline admitted to struggling with her 'new reality' before finally turning a corner during her teenage years. It was then that she decided to use her disability to help others who faced similar situations.

    How can I be that change in the world that I want to see? So I started to get this idea of…how can I change myself and how can I inspire others to do the same?

    Spreading Awareness About Disabilities

    Being wheelchair-bound hasn't slowed Madeline down in the least. Her current pursuits include traveling throughout the country, making public appearances and spreading her idea of “living boundless,” regardless of injury or condition.

    As part of her efforts to raise awareness about disabilities, Madeline is also in the process of filming, Live Boundless, a 24-part video series where Madeline teaches others how to live and thrive with their handicap.

    Madeline will return to Wilmington in next month to begin filming the series.

    [via WECT and UNCA]

  • Learning to Deal with a Sudden Disability

    There's a saying that "Life isn't always fair." This especially true for many who are suddenly and unexpectedly faced with a physical disability. The sudden restriction of independence or freedom can lead to anxiety over what the future may look like.

    The following are some steps and coping mechanisms to help you face your physical disability head on.

    3 Tips for Dealing with a Physical Disability

    #1 - Avoid self pity.

    It's often easier to feel bad for yourself or about your situation. Instead of looking at everything that is wrong, try instead to surround yourself with people and activities that have a positive impact in your life. Though it's not always easy, having a positive attitude goes a long way in helping you improve not just your outlook for your overall health.

    #2 - Learn how to react.

    You can't always control what happens to you in your life, but you can most certainly control how you react to it. Learn not only how to react to the things that happen to you and around you - but also learn how to react to other people's reactions to your situation.

    People who have physical disabilities sometimes face pity, animosity from others. Expect different reactions from those around you, and try not to let ignorant people upset you. Instead, practice patience. Remember that how you react to someone or something can drastically change the outcome.

    #3 - Don't be afraid to ask for help.

    Surround yourself with family and friends who are positive and upbeat and who you trust. Consider joining a support group. Identify the things about your situation and about yourself that you have and/or are struggling with, and don't be afraid to ask for the help of family, friends, or members of your support group.

    For more information about mobility products that assist those with physical disabilities, contact Van Products today.

  • Disability Awareness: Polio

    When most people think about polio, they often think of an old-timey disease that no longer applies to them. However, did you know that polio does, in fact, still exist?

    Though cases of polio have decreased drastically over the last several decades (more than 99% since 1988), there are still two countries in the world that have never fully stopped the transmission of this disease. These countries are: Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    What does this mean for U.S. citizens?

    As long as a child is infected with the polio virus, it puts children in all countries at risk of contracting the disease. This is because the polio virus can easily be imported into a polio-free country and can spread rapidly among those who haven’t yet received immunizations.

    The most terrifying part?

    According to the World Health Organization (WHO), failure to completely eradicate polio could result in as many as 200,000 new cases of polio each year, within 10 years, ALL OVER THE WORLD.


    What is Polio?

    Polio is a crippling, infectious disease caused by the poliovirus.

    The poliovirus spreads from person to person and affects a person’s brain and spinal cord, causing paralysis.

    Currently, there is no cure for polio. It can only be prevented. This is why it is so important to make sure that children are vaccinated at an early age.

    The CDC defines a person as “fully immunized” from polio if he/she has received a primary series of at least three doses of inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV), live oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV), or four doses of any combination of IPV and OPV.

    Children should be vaccinated with 4 doses of inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) at the following ages:

    • A dose at 2 months
    • A dose at 4 months
    • A dose at 6-18 months
    • A booster dose at 4-6 years

    If you were vaccinated for polio as a child, you should not need an additional polio vaccine as an adult. However, if you are traveling to an area where there are cases of polio, or if you work in an environment (such as a lab) where you risk exposure to polio, you may need to get re-vaccinated.

    Symptoms of Polio

    girl with polio | image by RIBI Image LibraryMost people who contract polio show no visible symptoms at all. However, for some, symptoms may be flu-like and include:

    • Sore throat
    • Fever
    • Tiredness
    • Nausea
    • Headache
    • Stomach pain

    A small percentage of people with polio may display more serious symptoms, such as:

    • Paresthesia (pins and needles feeling in the legs)
    • Meningitis
    • Paralysis
    • Weakness in the limbs

    Of these symptoms, paralysis is of the greatest concern as it can lead to permanent disability or even death as the muscles needed to breathe may become paralyzed.

    How Polio is Transmitted

    As far as research is concerned, polio only affects humans and is extremely contagious. Most often, polio is transmitted via human-to-human contact.

    The disease enters the body through the mouth and can be spread by coming into contact with fecal matter, or through sneezing and coughing. Even if you don’t have polio symptoms, you can still spread the virus to other people just before you get polio as well as up to two weeks after you become symptomatic.

    Polio in the United States

    Since 1979, there have been zero reported cases of polio originating from the United States. However, polio has been brought into the U.S. from people who have traveled outside of the country.

    The last documented case of polio being brought in from a traveler was in 1993.

    Increasing Mobility for Polio Users

    Like many disease that have potentially debilitating side effects, such as paralysis, physical restrictions, muscle weakness, and more - our goal at Van Products is to make it easier for people who have limited mobility to get around a little easier in their day-to-day lives. We do this by providing quality handicap vans and mobility products and accessories. For more information about any of the mobility items we sell, contact us today by calling: (800) 209-6133 or (919) 238-4597.

  • Multiple Sclerosis: 10 Facts You Need to Know

    by dierk schaefer on flickr ccWhat is Multiple Sclerosis?

    According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society,

    Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body.

    Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

    Did You Know?

    People with MS may experience different signs and symptoms that vary, depending on a number of factors, such as the location of the affected nerve fibers. Some of the more common symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis include (but are not limited to):

    • Partial or complete loss of vision
    • Double vision or blurring of vision
    • Tingling or pain in parts of the body
    • Tremor, lack of coordination or unsteady gait
    • Slurred speech
    • Fatigue
    • Dizziness


    10 Facts About Multiple Sclerosis

    1. MS is generally believed to be an autoimmune disease. [source]
    2. While the exact cause of MS remains unknown, some data suggest that a common virus or other infectious agent may play a role in the cause of MS. [source]
    3. MS is not contagious or directly inherited [source]
    4. MS can be difficult to diagnose. Since there is no single test for MS, the diagnosis can be missed, delayed or even incorrect.[source]
    5. MS is not a “reportable” disease, which means that the government does not require physicians to inform any central database when they make the diagnosis.[source]
    6. Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, although MS can occur in young children and significantly older adults. [source]
    7. The most commonly used scale to measure mobility and other areas affected by MS is the Kurtzke Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS). [source]
    8. MS is neither contagious nor fatal. People with MS have a life expectancy that is not really any different from the general population. [source]
    9. MS is neither contagious nor fatal. [source]
    10. The most common types of MS are: relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS); secondary-progressive MS (SPMS); primary-progressive MS (PPMS); and progressive-relapsing MS (PRMS). [source]

    Other Multiple Sclerosis Resources:

  • Van Products to Host ALS Q&A with Chris Rosati Friday, March 13, 2015

    I have ALS, known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, and I refuse to live in fear.

    These are the words of Chris Rosati, father, husband, and founder of Inspire MEdia. In 2010, at the age of 39, Rosati was diagnosed with the degenerative nerve disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease. According the News & Observer, his wife was 5 months pregnant at the time, and his first daughter was 5 years old.

    Now, he will be sitting down with us as we host a Q&A session with Rosati to talk about his struggles and triumphs with ALS. We are welcoming and encouraging folks to submit their questions now through March 13th.

    Chris Rosati will sit down with Van Products for a Q&A on March 13, 2015

    14 Facts About ALS

    There are many misconceptions about ALS, and like Rosati, those who live with ALS have been working tirelessly to raise more awareness about the disease as well as raise funding in the hopes of one day finding a cure.

    According to the ALS Association, the following are some facts about ALS that everyone should know.

    1. ALS is not contagious.
    2. It is estimated that ALS is responsible for nearly two deaths per hundred thousand population annually.
    3. Approximately 5,600 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year.
    4. The incidence of ALS is two per 100,000 people, and it is estimated that as many as 30,000 Americans may have the disease at any given time.
    5. Although the life expectancy of an ALS patient averages about two to five years from the time of diagnosis, this disease is variable and many people live with quality for five years and more.
    6. More than half of all patients live more than three years after diagnosis.
    7. About twenty percent of people with ALS live five years or more and up to ten percent will survive more than ten years and five percent will live 20 years.
    8. There are people in whom ALS has stopped progressing and a small number of people in whom the symptoms of ALS reversed.
    9. ALS occurs throughout the world with no racial, ethnic or socioeconomic boundaries.
    10. ALS can strike anyone.
    11. The onset of ALS is insidious with muscle weakness or stiffness as early symptoms. Progression of weakness, wasting and paralysis of the muscles of the limbs and trunk as well as those that control vital functions such as speech, swallowing and later breathing generally follows.
    12. There can be significant costs for medical care, equipment and home health caregiving later in the disease. It is important to be knowledgeable about your health plan coverage and other programs for which your may be eligible, including SSA, Medicare, Medical and Veteran Affairs benefits.
    13. Riluzole, the first treatment to alter the course of ALS, was approved by the FDA in late 1995. This antiglutamate drug was shown scientifically to prolong the life of persons with ALS by at least a few months.
    14. More recent studies suggest Riluzole slows the progress of ALS, allowing the patient more time in the higher functioning states when their function is less affected by ALS.

    Chris Rosati: Making a Difference in the Triangle Community and the Nation

    When you are diagnosed with a disease, some people tend to retreat into themselves. Not Rosati. Since his diagnosis, Rosati quit his job as a marketer and started his own company, Inspire MEdia, in which he hopes to inspire others to perform acts of kindness. These acts of kindness are then filmed and shared with others.

    Since jumpstarting his own company with his own act of kindness (partnering with Krispy Kreme to give away 1,000 doughnuts to people at a local hospital and school), Rosati has been featured on CBS. Rosati was also featured on WRAL, as well as other local and national media. We hope you'll take the time to learn more about his wonderful story, and we also hope you'll join us in the Van Products Q&A event with Chris Rosati next week!

    You can follow Chris on Twitter, or you can become a fan of InspireMedia on Facebook.

    You’d be amazed at how wonderful life can be when you worry less. - Chris Rosati

  • Greenville, SC Now Has More Choices for Adaptive Sports

    Today, there are more options than ever for those who have physical disabilities to engage in sports and other recreational activities.

    One woman in particular, Luann Bannister, was recently featured on Greenville Online. Having suffered a severed spinal cord as the result of a car accident, the Greenville, SC native struggled to find athletic opportunities for people in wheelchairs. Bannister's story isn't uncommon, and neither is the outcome.

    The Growth of Adaptive Sports in the U.S.

    Today, there are countless adaptive sports organizations, team, and athletes throughout the United States as well as the rest of the world. In Greenville, SC, the adaptive sports offered to wheelchair users is growing, thanks, in part, to Bannister. Not only did Bannister learn to play adaptive sled hockey, she is also leading the adaptive sled hockey program, which is designed to expand the recreational activities offered to people with disabilities in the Greenville, SC area.

    The adaptive sled hockey program is being offered through the Roger C. Peace Rehabilitation Hospital, thanks to a grant from the South Carolina Development Disabilities Council.

    Breaking Barriers,  Moving Beyond the Disability

    Bannister's story is just one inspiring example to show how physical disabilities are no longer preventing people from moving ahead with their lives. Part of the program that Bannister leads involves having therapists meet with disabled people at the hospital to help them pick the sports or activities that interest them most. Then, together, they make a plan to move beyond their disability and become more engaged in the community doing something that they enjoy.

    Recreation therapist and project coordinator at Roger Peace Rehabilitation Hospital, Kristen Caldwell cited the importance as well as the impact of sports in the lives of those faced with physical disabilities:

    "Often ... they're sitting at home and bored, lonely, isolated or depressed. We want them to be out doing meaningful, fun things. We want to make sure we're getting people active and engaged in their communities."

    Some of the sports options currently offered include activities such as: cycling, hockey, basketball, and kayaking. Still, even more sports and recreation activities are being planned for 2016.

    [via GreenvilleOnline]

  • 5 Tips for Selling Your Used Handicap Van

    Upgrading to a new handicap van and interested in selling your used handicap van as a result? We've got some great tips to help ensure a great experience to help you sell your used handicap van for the best bargain.

    used handicap van

    5 Tips to Help You Sell Your Used Handicap Van

    Deep clean your entire vehicle, inside and out. 

    Nothing is more unappealing than a filthy van. Even if you think you kept your handicap van in decent shape, when you are preparing to sell your handicap van, it may behoove you to have it detailed and/or deep cleaned. A vehicle that shines like new will fair much better with buyers and will help potential buyers to focus on other things besides dirt, grime and leftover food particles.

    A picture is worth a thousand words. 

    Once your handicap van is sparkling clean, take some quality photos of it, but not just any photos. Take a few photos of the exterior, from different angles. If your handicap van has a ramp that extends out, make sure you take a photo of it (pictured above).

    Think of your audience. The people you are selling your used handicap van to are likely interested in the various features the van has, so make sure you highlight these. Take plenty of interior shots of your handicap van, including shots of the dashboard area, hand control areas, storage areas, and any other locations within the van that may be of special interest to a buyer.

    If you're not that handy with a camera, find someone who is. A poor quality photo will only work against you when you are trying to sell your used handicap van. Other considerations for photo-taking include:

    • removing any personal items/memorabilia from the inside and outside of the van (ex: bumper stickers, personalized blankets, pillows, mugs, etc.)
    • being wary of the weather and lighting (try to take photos in natural light; avoid overcast days or noisy backgrounds

    Get your official paperwork together.

    Whenever you purchase a vehicle, whether it's a new handicap van or a used handicap van, keep any official paperwork that came with the vehicle (including the original sticker price, if there was one), inside of the glove compartment. This should also include the original owner's manual and any service records that you may have. Other information, such as Carfax reports, brochures and title information should be kept in a separate file folder within your home. Have these items handy as well as each piece of organized information demonstrates how diligent you were with regards to the maintenance associated with your handicap van.

    Seek an expert opinion from a certified mobility specialist.

    Van Products employs a number of mobility specialists who are qualified to assist you with any questions, concerns or otherwise that you may have about the process of selling a used handicap van for the first time. In some cases, we even offer to purchase used handicap vans from sellers as well  as offer other types of incentives to used handicap sellers.

    Ensure that everything in your handicap van works correctly.

    Honesty is the best policy when selling a used handicap van to someone. You wouldn't want to sell a used handicap van that has a number of issues, so to make sure that this doesn't happen, you need to test everything in your handicap van to ensure that it all works correctly.

    For more tips about selling your used handicap van, contact Van Products today by visiting the Contact Us page.

  • Raising a Disabled Son: Standing Up For Harvey

    When supermodel and British television personality Katie Price was faced with the reality of raising a disabled son, she struck out on a mission to ensure he will have as normal a life as possible. Her son, Harvey, suffers from a condition called septo-optic dysplasia, a rare disorder characterized by abnormal development of the optic disk and pituitary deficiencies. Harvey has restricted sight, life-threatening hormone deficiencies, learning difficulties and autism.

    To help other families cope with the prejudice surrounding disability, she is putting her TV skills to good use by making a film called Katie Price: Standing Up For Harvey.  She hopes the documentary will be insightful and help show the world the realities faced by families with disabilities.

    “Harvey is a wonderful boy,” Price said, “ I am so proud of how he deals every day with his disability. He has been my one constant over the past eight years and, alongside Junior and Princess, remains the most important person in my life. But of course Harvey doesn’t have the voice to defend himself, so through this documentary I hope to encourage other people to appreciate the difficulties that children with disability and their parents face every day. I am lucky to be able to make this film and hope it helps those who struggle to cope with disability and prejudice without the support network I have.”

    In the film, she shares an honest view of the challenges of raising a child with disabilities, focusing on discrimination. She even discusses her reaction to a slur made by British comedian Frankie Boyle and challenges the trend toward using disability as a topic of comic capital.

    The film shares an insightful story that any parent with a disabled child can relate to.

    What challenges have you faced while standing up for your children?

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