Wheelchair Accessible Vans, Handicap Accessible Vans, Mobility Impairment

  • What Kind of Adaptive Driving Equipment Is Right For Me?

    Thanks to all of the latest technological advances in the automotive industry, those faced with physical disabilities now have more options than ever when it comes to selecting the right kind of wheelchair van or other mobility product to help them meet their unique needs. The following are some things to consider when trying to assess what kind of adaptive driving equipment you may or may not need.

    *This information is intended to be used purely for informational purposes. Please consult with your doctor as well as one of our qualified vehicle modification dealer specialists to help you make the most informed decision.

    car steering wheel by Sheffield Tiger on flickr cc

    Evaluating YOUR Needs

    What is my budget?

    The type of adaptive driving equipment that you need will depend, largely, on your budget. Know ahead of time how much money you will need, based on the actual cost of the adaptive technology you require.

    What are the limitations within my disability?

    Each disability is different, and the type of adaptive driving equipment you’ll need will depend on a number of factors, which the NHTSA lists as:

    • Muscle strength, flexibility, and range of motion
    • Coordination and reaction time
    • Judgment and decision making abilities
    • Ability to drive with adaptive equipment

    The NHTSA states that driving rehabilitation specialists will perform comprehensive evaluations to help identify the adaptive equipment most suited to your needs. You’ll also want to work with your medical care team as well.

    Selecting a Wheelchair Accessible/Handicap Vehicle

    Other questions to think through when considering adaptive equipment needs include:

    • Will a regular passenger sedan suffice, or will my adaptive equipment require a wheelchair van?
    • Will the vehicle be able to handle the amount/type of adaptive equipment that may need to be installed?
    • What about additional room for passengers/family?
    • Do I have adequate space at home to park my vehicle and get out?
    • What additional modifications may need to be made down the line?

    As you can see, there are numerous considerations to take into account when selecting mobility products and adaptive driving equipment for your wheelchair van or vehicle.

    If you are just getting started in the selection process and have questions or concerns about which types of adaptive equipment is best suited to your specific mobility situation, contact a Van Products mobility specialist today. All of our mobility specialists are highly trained professionals in the area of wheelchair vans, adaptive vehicle equipment, and various other mobility needs.

    Raleigh, NC

    (919) 878-7110

    Toll Free: (800) 662-7572

    Wilmington, NC

    (910) 793-5661

    Toll Free: (866) 381-7192

  • Wheelchair Accessibility & Physical Disabilities in the Sports Arena

    In the past, those suffering from disabilities often faced several limitations. Nowadays, however, advancements in technology and the introduction of new equipment and accessories have all but eliminated these limitations and have allowed for greatly increased mobility among those suffering from a wide range of disabilities.

    Today, we have wheelchair vans, scooters, handicap accessible buildings, and disability-friendly places of business that serve the approximately 600 million people, or 10% of the world’s population, who are disabled.

    Carving a Path for Physical Disability in Sports

    Looking back, wheelchair-based sports seem to have gotten their start after the Second World War, when those who were confined to wheelchairs became frustrated by their situations and decided to get involved in sports as a way to release some of their unchanneled energy.

    In 1946, the California Chapter of Paralyzed Veterans of America played the first match of wheelchair basketball.  Not long after this event, word spread about disabled persons getting involved in sports [source].

    Sports were subsequently introduced as a critical part of rehabilitation, a fact that allowed them to evolve into recreational sports, and from there, into the competitive sports we see today, such as those in the Special Olympics.

    Wheelchair Accessibility and Adaptive Technology

    Ralph Braun is a man who perfectly exemplifies how wheelchair accessible vans, vehicles, and accessories paved the way to allow so many physically disabled persons the opportunity to experience real mobility.

    Braun, who had been diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy as a child, was unable to walk. By the early 1960s, he invented the world’s first electric scooter, and by 1966, he had created the first wheelchair accessible vehicle by creating a wheelchair platform lift and hand controls that were added to an old postal van [source]. By 1991, Braun (now with his own company), had introduced the first wheelchair accessible minivan.

    Today, countless disabled persons throughout the United States (and the world) rely on wheelchair vans and other adaptive technology to help them participate in sports and to function independently. From archery to cycling and from rafting to surfing, there is no longer a limit on what sports physically disabled persons can participate in. This fact is thanks, in great part, to wheelchairs, wheelchair vans, and the continued improvements to adaptive technology.

    About Van Products

    Van Products, Inc. provides freedom of mobility to physically challenged individuals throughout the Southeastern United States with wheelchair accessible vehicles, lifts, ramps, hand controls, and other handicap-accessible accessories. Visit one of our two showrooms in Raleigh, NC or Wilmington, NC, or speak to a representative today by visiting our Contact page.

  • Annual "Kids Day" Event at the 32nd National Veterans' Wheelchair Games

    The 12th annual "Kids Day" took place Wednesday, June 27, as part of the National Veterans Wheelchair Games this summer, and several of us with Van Products had a chance to spend some time with one very special kid...

    Kids Day is a special time set aside for children with disabilities to have a chance to interact with the wheelchair athletes attending the Games and experience the world of adaptive sports. A group of dedicated wheelchair athletes took time from their competition schedule to develop the kids skills at three adaptive sports:  softball, basketball and wheelchair slalom.  Here's a short video clip to give you an idea of what Kids Day is like.

    “Kids Day is the highlight of my week, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” says Joey Avellone, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and Paralyzed Veterans’ member and one of this year’s Kids Day mentors. “In addition to showing the kids what adaptive sports are all about, I want to tell the kids about the importance of an education and that they can become anything they want using their brain—that a good education can overcome any physical disability.”

    Giving Back After the Wheelchair Games

    After participating in Kids Day, some of the veterans who served as mentors there have gone home and continued giving, including Van Products' Johnny Holland from Goldsboro, NC, who found opportunities in his hometown to introduce children to various adaptive sports.

    “At home, I volunteer at schools sometimes to help kids with disabilities,” Holland said. “It’s a way to give back (to society) and a way to educate the kids and parents.”

    Dominic and Johhny hangin' out at the 2012 Richmond Games

    Johnny also goes by the name "Quadzilla" which caught the attention of young Dominic Ruperto when the Games were in Pittsburgh, PA in 2011.  Dominic’s mom, Michele, wanted her 7-year-old to have the chance to participate in some of the athletics that were featured at the Games.  Dominic and everyone else at Kids Day had a tremendous time together at his first Kids Day last summer.

    But he and his mother went to those games specifically to see if they could meet "Quadzilla."  Dominic saw him in a TV commercial promoting the games, and he just had to try to catch up with him at the Games last year.  Sure enough, they found him at the Kids Day event, and Dominic and Johnny got a  chance to become friends last summer.

    This year Dominic, who has cerebral palsy, and his mom made the trip all the way to Richmond, VA to catch up with Johnny and the other Veterans.  They spent time laughing and teasing with each other, and generally just had a great time hangin' out.

    Carving A Path to Adaptive Sports

    President of the Paralyzed Veterans of America, Bill Lawson, said Kids Day is likely to start many children on paths to adaptive sports.  “It’s a very important event at the National Veterans Wheelchair Games,” he said. “It allows some of us to come out and introduce younger folks to sports they can do. It shows parents that it’s important to start the kids in sports.”

    “He met so many people and just really developed so many friendships,” Michele said. “To Dominic, the athletes here are gentle giants. And he sees the potential for an active lifestyle when he watches them.”

    Dominic has kept close ties to some of the participants he met last year, and Johnny tells us that some of them got together to help with travel expenses for Dominic to attend the Games this year.  Dominic, now 8, participated in the day's events along with about a dozen other children. Veteran athletes stayed close by and taught the kids skills in their designated games.

    In 2013, the Games will move farther away from Dominic's home in Pennsylvania, but that won't keep him away from Kids Day!  Many of the Veteran's who helped with the expenses of getting him to this year's Games have already made it clear that Dominic will be at the Tampa Games in 2013.

  • "Local Heroes" to Receive Three New Wheelchair Vans

    The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) will give a new wheelchair accessible vehicle to three “Local Heroes” in a contest that will run through May 13, 2012.  Three winners will each own a new 2012 wheelchair van as part of May Mobility Awareness Month. Van Products encourages people of all ages and abilities to enter the contest…you can either enter yourself or a friend or family member who might benefit from owning a new wheelchair van.

    May has been declared the first National Mobility Awareness Month, and Van Products is pleased to help raise awareness about how important it is for individuals to regain or preserve their mobility to the greatest extent possible.

    Entries are being accepted through May 13, 2012.  You may submit either a picture and written story or a video of how you are dealing with mobility issues. Your story will be voted on by participants and the three most inspiring stories will be the winners of the vans.  Participants should encourage their friends and family to vote for their entry at the site.

    To get a 5 vote head start…contact Van Products or call 800-662-7572 and just ask for your “Local Heroes” code.  Use that code when you enter the contest and you will automatically receive 5 extra votes.

    In May, the three people with the most votes will be awarded their new wheelchair accessible vehicles by NMEDA on a national TV show such as "Good Morning America" or "Ellen." Van conversion companies like Braun Corporation and Bruno Independent Living Aids are providing lowered floor conversions and specialized equipment for the contest.

  • North Carolina Handicapped Sportsmen "Back In the Woods" Hunt near Bear Creek, NC

     

     

     

    "Back In the Woods" Hunter & Guides

    Back In the Woods 2011

    The following is the narrated audio in the above video:

    So now that the holidays are over, I finally have time to share my pictures and remember November’s “Back In the Woods ” hunt in Bear Creek, North Carolina.  Twenty wheelchair hunters were offered two days of hunting with all food and accommodations provided free of charge over the weekend of November 18th and 19th.  It was a huge endeavor spearheaded by 1995 Professional Bull Rider, Jerome Davis, paralyzed since 1998, and made possible with monetary contributions from numerous corporate sponsors and individuals alike; and just as importantly, with the help of the community of Bear Creek.

    There certainly are some big hearts in Bear Creek.  What can you say about all those landowners who opened up their properties and set up blinds and cultivated just the right spot to allow the greatest opportunity for each disabled hunter to harvest a deer?  Even though deer season had been opened for well over a week, some of them had waited and not hunted themselves: leaving that pristine territory for those to come. A lot of credit needs to also be given to Tommy Estridge for helping to get the whole thing organized.  He’s been friends with Jerome since before 1998 when Jerome was thrown from a bull, paralyzed, and instantaneously found himself one among millions of disabled Americans dependent upon a wheelchair for their mobility.  Tommy accompanied Jerome on another hunt organized for the disabled in Alabama and both men came back with ideas about providing such an event, back home in Bear Creek.  Through their partnership with the North Carolina Handicapped Sportsman (NCHS), those thoughts became reality.

    Tyson’s Creek Baptist Church Recreation Center provided the perfect venue for all of us to gather. With so many hunters, Van Products supplied two vans and one of our lead technicians, Stacy Scott came along to help me get folks into the woods.  Having a technician around proved useful since word spread and we were immediately asked questions in regard to several transportation issues that a few of the hunters were having with their existing vans.  Stacy loves to hunt and really enjoyed helping out even if it did mean getting up at 4:30 on Saturday morning.  We took hunters into the woods by truck, by van and by 4-wheeler -often with a scooter or chair piled on the back.  The mass exodus from camp was filled with anticipation.  Blinds high and blinds low were ready and waiting.

    As with every hunt, there is always a special feeling of excitement you sense whenever there are “young” hunters around.  This event introduced us to Ethan Freeman, Danny Glenn and Noah Ward.  Noah attended with his dad, Mark and his mom, Janet.  (Sometimes I’m not good with remembering names but those were amazingly easy!)  I met Danny Glenn and his family at an event last year hosted by Braggtown Baptist Church in Durham.  Van Products has provided transportation and door prizes for Braggtown’s Luke 14 Banquet for the past two years.  It was great seeing Danny enjoying a father-son outing with his dad, Walter.  Both Noah and Danny had successfully harvested deer by lunch on Saturday and although Ethan had not, his guides were set to take him back out Saturday evening.  After another disappointing hunt, they made arrangements for him to come back two weekends later and he was finally able to get both a doe and a button buck!  Thank you to all those who did whatever it took, for ever how long it took, to make that happen.

    Charles McLeod and his wife, Martha were hunting again which was particularly remarkable in light of the fact that his foot was still bandaged from having to be partially amputated just a couple of weeks before!  It was great to see them and to hear of their upcoming plans to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on a four-month cruise around the world!  Mr. McLeod’s chair sure has never slowed them down and he can always be counted on to bring down a deer.  Roger Kidd is also a familiar face to Van Products as is Joe Kirkpatrick.  They also were successful hunters and seemed to really enjoy the event.

    The greatest success story has to be that of Dale Wolf.  Dale was involved in an automobile accident some 17 years ago.  I believe he told me he was 19 at the time and had only been hunting once before he was paralyzed, and not at all since.  He didn’t even own a gun.  I’m not sure who loaned it to him but it must have been a good one because his aim was dead on and he brought down both the largest buck- 7pts, 162lbs- and the largest doe with that 243 rifle.    Befittingly the prize for both was a brand new rifle.  So now, he owns a gun.  Since Dale won a rifle for the big buck, the prize for the biggest doe was awarded to the runner up in that category, Alan Bracket.  I overheard someone ask Dale if he planned to have that beautiful buck mounted.  When Dale said no because it was just too expensive, that problem was also remedied by the big hearts and generous pockets of Bear Creek.  I guess you could say Dale had a pretty perfect weekend

    There were others that harvested two deer also.  One was Jim Goodwin of China Grove.  He was the first one back on Saturday morning and his guide, Ennis Loflin, said Jim was deadly with this 270 Remington.  From about 150 yards he took the buck down and while waiting to get that one loaded, caught sight of the doe and got her as well.

    Even though I’ve only mentioned a few of the hunters that went “Back in the Woods”, I saved my favorite for last.  Maybe it’s because she was the only female disabled hunter there; or maybe it’s because she’s a veteran who served her country well and who learned all about guns while in service.  Like Dale, she didn’t own a gun but in the military you don’t own the guns they give you there either.  Or maybe it’s because I have to admire a person who broke through every barrier just by showing up -whether it be color, gender or size!  Twila Adams is an attractive petite woman that you can’t help but like.  She and her guide, Tracy Stamey kept me smiling. Tracy hunts regularly and wore her pink accented camouflage gloves and gun bag with a style all her own.  Keenan and Deanna Jones set the ladies up on the backside of their property that Deanna often uses herself. Keenan’s another one of those men that made the mistake of letting his wife come along hunting.  Now she loves to hunt as much as he does!  They were like proud parents when both Twila and Tracy each got a deer.  Twila’s doe and Tracy’s button buck were both small but the excitement of Twila’s first time deer hunting and first conquest was huge, and her smile was even bigger!

    All in all it was a great weekend.  Great hunting, great food (thanks Bear Creek ladies), great music…Legends and Outlaws came all the way from Virginia to entertain us, great fellowship and great fun.  Even Keenan and Deanna’s dog had a great time, and we’re hoping he lets us “back in the woods again” next year.

  • 2012 National Veterans' Wheelchair Games Come to Richmond, VA

    The National Veterans' Wheelchair Games were first held in 1981 in Richmond, Virginia.  Since then the games have grown from seven events and 74 athletes, to 600 athletes and 17 events.  Last year's games in Pittsburgh, PA were a big success with many athletes coming from well beyond the east coast.

    After a successful inaugural event back in 1981, the Virginia Mid Atlantic Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Richmond VA Medical Center will host the games at its original site June 25 - 30, 2012. The National Veterans Wheelchair Games will be held in downtown Richmond at the Richmond Convention Center and at various other venues throughout the city.

    Athletes are all military veterans, and in the 2011 games, they ranged from newly injured Vets from recent conflicts to a 90 year-old veteran of World War II.  Vets quickly develop a sense of camaraderie which continues outside the competitive arena long after the games are over.   Be sure to make plans to attend the games in Richmond...the events are free to the public, and like in all other sports, the athletes love to play to a big crowd!

    Van Products friend, Johnny Holland had a great showing in the 2011 Games in Pittsburgh and he plans to compete in the Richmond Games as well.

    Volunteers are always a very important part of the success of events like this, and if you would like to help out as a volunteer during the National Veterans' Wheelchair Games, here is the registration form, and here is the application form.

    If you are a wheelchair athlete and would like to participate, you can visit the athlete information page to learn more.  All of the rules for eligibility are explained there.

    All registrations are due April 15th, 2012, so don't wait too long...see you there!

     

  • Choosing the Right Wheelchair Accessible Van

    When it comes to purchasing a wheelchair van, price is important, but  there are other points to consider as well.  We always stress how important it is to visit your local dealership to actually test-drive that vehicle...examine every feature, make sure you are able to easily move in and out  of the vehicle.  We encourage testing competitor's vans so you can see first hand the superior quality of a BraunAbility Entervan.

    When you visit your local dealership, ask about service and support AFTER the sale.  Take a look at their facility.  Meet the people who’ll be working for you.  THEN, decide.

    Have a look at the video below, and schedule an appointment to test ride a BraunAbility wheelchair van at Van Products!

    Choosing the Right Wheelchair Van

    Entervan picture

    Choosing the right accessible van will make a huge difference in your overall quality of life.

  • North Carolina Handicapped Sportsmen - Pender Possible Hunt

    Pender County Possible Hunt, held November 2011 (click on any image for a larger version)

    Just back from the second annual Pender Possible Hunt  hosted by the men of Pender Outdoor Ministries and sponsored by Van Products and Karl Reichardt with Wildlife Preservation Specialists. (If you need a great taxidermist, Karl's the man to call.)

    Once again the hunters were all lodged at Camp Kirkwood.  The beautiful fall foliage and lakeside lodges were welcomed sights and every one was so appreciative of the wonderful meals provided by Pender Outdoor Ministries and the staff of Camp Kirkwood.

    Another cabin at the camp

    Camp Kirkwood cabin

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We had a great hunt even though it rained a lot during the evening on Thursday and on Friday.  The big buck was taken by Ricky Morrow  seen here being congratulated by Karl as he awarded a free mount as the prize for getting the trophy deer.

    The biggest buck was taken by Rick Morrow

    Rick Morrow receives his trophy for the biggest Buck from Karl Reichardt

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Janet Harmon of Van Products awards a CVA 50 cal Muzzle Loader for the biggest doe to Gene Hildebran 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Even though these guys took top honors, the real prizes were in the smiles I saw throughout the 3 day hunt.  Who could be prouder than Sean Houston?  The father of three boys, Hunter, Cole and Luke, ages 15,13 and 8 respectively.

    Cole has been fighting cancer and has had to have numerous brain surgeries over the past few months.  I'm told that after each one, the first question from him was always "Do I still get to go hunting?"  And his anticipation was rewarded when he shot his first deer using a special rig provided by NC Handicapped Sportsmen (NCHS) that allowed Cole to control everything by using a joy stick apparatus.  Not far away but in a separate stand, his Dad and brothers watched the joyous shot but not losing sight of everyone's ultimate goal, his Dad and Hunter reacted quick enough for Hunter to get a doe within seconds after Cole took the buck.  It was Hunter's first deer also. The next day we all agreed that Hunter was appropriately named when he shot another doe!

    Hunter Houston with his first deer

    Sean Houston and his sons Hunter, Cole and Luke

     

     

     

     

     

    Another one doing alot of smiling was Debra McKenna.  I first met Debra's husband Ray, back in March when they attended the Dixie Deer Classic and stopped by to see the GoShichi wheelchair accessible truck that Van Products had just acquired.  That outing was also when Debra first met Tony Robinson. Tony is a retired game warden and currently the Vice President of the NCHS.  He asked Debra was she a hunter?  When she said no, Tony set out to give her husband a new hunting partner.  Ray may never be able to hunt alone again! Debra's hooked and got a nice spike to brag about with her very first shot.

    Debra using her hunting rig

    Ray and Debra Mckenna

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    And then there's Lee Hogan.  Lee and his neighbor and hunting partner, Bob Pershelli came all the way from the Charlotte area to hunt and I was fortunate to be able to use one of our vans to help get them in and out of the woods.  And boy did we go into the woods!  The first evening was unproductive and quite disheartening for Lee.  By the time we got back to camp he was so tired and hurting so much that all he wanted to do was take his meds and crawl into bed.  Lee's journey includes losing his home and belongings when Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans.  His dependency on a leg braces and a wheel chair date back to an injury while working as a roofer.  Top that off with an aneurysm that is truly a ticking time bomb and a recent diagnosis of cancer and you can get a sense of the courage that it takes for him just to face each day.  Lee hadn't been in the woods hunting in a very long time.  He had no way.  He had no gun.  But then he found out about the NC Handicapped Sportsmen and started planning to do something he thought he'd never do again.  With Bob's help and a borrowed gun from Tony Robinson, I took Lee back into the woods.  Way back into the woods.  We actually drove 7.2 miles down a dirt road/path that runs along side the Cape Fear River.

    The Chrysler Entervan at the end of the trail

    The long drive along the Cape Fear for Lee Hogan

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The land owner was a little concerned about the Van Product's Chrysler Entervan making it through some of the mud and muck and I don't think I've ever gotten a van that dirty, but we made it and both Lee and Bob were rewarded with two deer a piece over the course of the weekend.  Even though it felt like it took an eternity to get to the sight where the owner had both a tree stand for Bob and a ground blind positioned just for Lee, it was truly a deer haven and all along the trek I could since Lee's anticipation.

    We could just tell it was going to be a good outing, and in less than 45 minutes, Lee took a four point buck and Bob using black powder took a doe just a little while later.  I even shot one, course it was with my camera, but I felt lucky just to get the shot.

    Lee and his 4 point buck

    Bob and the doe he took using black powder

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I did my shooting with a camera.

    The experience was the best dose of medicine Lee Hogan could have ever been given.  His testimony to us all at the closing meeting didn't leave many dry eyes.  Bob's having bypass surgery in just a couple of weeks and he certainly brings a whole new level to the meaning of "good neighbor." It is such a rewarding experience to represent Van Products as we support the endeavors of the North Carolina Handicap Sportsmen association.

    Every time I'm involved with these hunts and see all the volunteers as they help with weighing  and skinning  and all the effort that these landowners put forth to insure that each disabled hunter will have an ideal opportunity for success, I know that I am truly blessed to be able to witness the very best of humanity.

    Preparing to skin

    Weighing

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Time for quiet camaraderie after the hunt

    Sean Horsely (right) with Gene Hildebran and Mike West

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It takes a lot of time and effort to make an event like this successful and the  land owners and volunteers and folks like Sean Horsely, a wounded warrior and the Hunt Master for this hunt, can't be thanked enough for all that they do.

    There are so many that I have left unnamed and many that I didn't even have the opportunity to meet.  The Third Annual Pender Possible Hunt is already in the works and I look forward to having another opportunity to meet you then.  To everyone involved and until next time, thank you and Good Hunting.

    Janet Harmon

    jharmon@vanproducts.com

  • Wheelchair Van Conversion Safety - Sliding Door Dependability

    There is probably nothing more important to a person with limited mobility than dependable operation of the sliding door and ramp on their vehicle.  Obviously, this would be one of the worst places to cut corners during the conversion process.  But, believe it or not, there are accessible van conversion companies that do take the quick and easy way out in this very important step.

    In this video we discuss the importance of safe and reliable operation of  the sliding door in your wheelchair accessible van.  At Van Products, we can assure you that your van conversion has only the highest level of engineering and manufacturing quality built in.  Rather than figuring out  the cheapest and easiest way to make the sliding doors open, Braunability doors are engineered to be every bit as reliable as the original equipment doors.

    In the video, you will see first hand how other conversion companies cut corners (literally) in adapting the sliding doors on their vans.  Then we will show you how the Braunability doors are adapted so they not only open wider, but also more reliably.  You will easily be able to see the difference in quality between a Van Products accessible van and the competition.

    Click on the link below to view the video...

    Straight Talk About Sliding Doors

  • Parkinson's Can't Stop This Triathloner

    Van Products is a corporate sponsor of the Lake Royale Triathlon held near Bunn, NC, and that's how we learned of Jim Berndt's story.  When Jim recently entered the Lake Royale Triathlon, he was not really doing anything he had not successfully done before.  Jim was a triathlon veteran from years back.  In fact, he participated in triathlons for quite some time until 1988.  He decided that was the year to retire from racing to spend more time with his family and at work.

    Recently, Jim decided it was time to get back into the game…time for another triathlon.  No better place than Lake Royale in North Carolina.  He had family residing at the lake, a few familiar faces, and a great place to face the challenges of his first triathlon in 20 years.

    But Jim was, and still is facing a much bigger challenge than swimming, biking and running.  Jim was prepared to battle the hills of the Lake Royale Triathlon with a new challenge…Parkinson’s disease.

    Jim mustered the courage, trained hard and had a very successful outing at Lake Royale in 2008 and again in 2010.  Because of the disease, Jim has to train less than he might wish, but he takes advantage of the good days and dials it back on the tougher ones.  Despite all of that, he’s back for another triathlon this year,  participating  as part of a team!

    Jim’s Parkinson’s is at a mid-stage of progression and he takes medication to reduce the symptoms.  Oddly enough, swimming and biking actually reduce the symptoms of his Parkinson’s…he says that running is his greatest challenge, though.  When asked his opinion of the Lake Royale course, he replies, “God, that’s a hilly run course!  It’s a tough running course.”

    One part of the triathlon that many may take for granted is the transition area.  For Jim, it is an extra challenge.  The transition area requires fine motor skills, and Parkinson’s is not kind to fine motor skills, medication or not.  He gets through it, anyway.

    Jim’s sister told us, “He has never stopped being active or given up.  It was remarkable to watch him in the Lake Royale Triathlon.”

    Jim, we wish you good luck again at this Saturday's event!

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