Category Archives: Events

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month

Parkinson's Awareness

Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder that is chronic and progressive, meaning that symptoms continue and worsen over time.

As many as one million individuals in the US live with Parkinson’s disease. While approximately four percent of people with Parkinson’s are diagnosed before the age of 50, incidence increases with age.

Its major symptoms vary from person to person, but can include tremor, slowness of movements, limb stiffness, and difficulties with gait and balance. The cause of the disease is unknown, and although there is presently no cure, there are treatment options such as medication and surgery to manage the symptoms.

If you have questions about wheelchair accessible vehicles and are in the New England area give us a call @ 508-697-6006

 

Autism Awareness Month

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges.

ASDs are “spectrum disorders” which means ASDs affect each person in different ways, and can range from very mild to severe. People with ASDs share some similar symptoms, such as problems with social interaction. But there are differences in when the symptoms start, how severe they are, and the exact nature of the symptoms.


Types of ASDs
There are three different types of ASDs:

  • Autistic Disorder (also called “classic” autism)
    This is what most people think of when hearing the word “autism.” People with autistic disorder usually have significant language delays, social and communication challenges, and unusual behaviors and interests. Many people with autistic disorder also have intellectual disability.
  • Asperger Syndrome
    People with Asperger syndrome usually have some milder symptoms of autistic disorder. They might have social challenges and unusual behaviors and interests. However, they typically do not have problems with language or intellectual disability.
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS; also called “atypical autism”)
    People who meet some of the criteria for autistic disorder or Asperger syndrome, but not all, may be diagnosed with PDD-NOS. People with PDD-NOS usually have fewer and milder symptoms than those with autistic disorder. The symptoms might cause only social and communication challenges.


Signs and Symptoms
ASDs begin before the age of 3 and last throughout a person’s life, although symptoms may improve over time. Some children with an ASD show hints of future problems within the first few months of life. In others, symptoms might not show up until 24 months or later. Some children with an ASD seem to develop normally until around 18 to 24 months of age and then they stop gaining new skills, or they lose the skills they once had.

A person with an ASD might:

  • Not respond to their name by 12 months
  • Not point at objects to show interest (point at an airplane flying over) by 14 months
  • Not play “pretend” games (pretend to “feed” a doll) by 18 months
  • Avoid eye contact and want to be alone
  • Have trouble understanding other people’s feelings or talking about their own feelings
  • Have delayed speech and language skills
  • Repeat words or phrases over and over (echolalia)
  • Give unrelated answers to questions
  • Get upset by minor changes
  • Have obsessive interests
  • Flap their hands, rock their body, or spin in circles
  • Have unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel


Diagnosis
Diagnosing ASDs can be difficult since there is no medical test, like a blood test, to diagnose the disorders. Doctors look at the child’s behavior and development to make a diagnosis.

ASDs can sometimes be detected at 18 months or younger. By age 2, a diagnosis by an experienced professional can be considered very reliable. However, many children do not receive a final diagnosis until much older. This delay means that children with an ASD might not get the help they need.


Treatment
There is currently no cure for ASDs. However, research shows that early intervention treatment services can greatly improve a child’s development. Early intervention services help children from birth to 3 years old (36 months) learn important skills. Services can include therapy to help the child talk, walk, and interact with others. Therefore, it is important to talk to your child’s doctor as soon as possible if you think your child has an ASD or other developmental problem.

Even if your child has not been diagnosed with an ASD, he or she may be eligible for early intervention treatment services. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) says that children under the age of 3 years (36 months) who are at risk of having developmental delays may be eligible for services. These services are provided through an early intervention system in your state. Through this system, you can ask for an evaluation.

In addition, treatment for particular symptoms, such as speech therapy for language delays, often does not need to wait for a formal ASD diagnosis.

Learn about types of treatments »


Causes and Risk Factors
We do not know all of the causes of ASDs. However, we have learned that there are likely many causes for multiple types of ASDs. There may be many different factors that make a child more likely to have an ASD, including environmental, biologic and genetic factors.

  • Most scientists agree that genes are one of the risk factors that can make a person more likely to develop an ASD.
  • Children who have a sibling or parent with an ASD are at a higher risk of also having an ASD.
  • ASDs tend to occur more often in people who have certain other medical conditions. About 10% of children with an ASD have an identifiable genetic disorder, such as Fragile X syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, Down syndrome and other chromosomal disorders.
  • Some harmful drugs taken during pregnancy have been linked with a higher risk of ASDs, for example, the prescription drugs thalidomide and valproic acid.
  • We know that the once common belief that poor parenting practices cause ASDs is not true.
  • There is some evidence that the critical period for developing ASDs occurs before birth. However, concerns about vaccines and infections have led researchers to consider risk factors before and after birth.

ASDs are an urgent public health concern. Just like the many families affected in some way by ASDs, CDC wants to find out what causes the disorder. Understanding the risk factors that make a person more likely to develop an ASD will help us learn more about the causes. We are currently working on one of the largest U.S. studies to date, called Study to Explore Early Development (SEED). SEED is looking at many possible risk factors for ASDs, including genetic, environmental, pregnancy, and behavioral factors.


Who is Affected
ASDs occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups, but are almost five times more common among boys than among girls. CDC estimates that about 1 in 88 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

More people than ever before are being diagnosed with an ASD. It is unclear exactly how much of this increase is due to a broader definition of ASDs and better efforts in diagnosis. However, a true increase in the number of people with an ASD cannot be ruled out. We believe the increase in ASD diagnosis is likely due to a combination of these factors.

Within the past decade, CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network has been estimating the number of people with an ASD in the U.S. We have learned a lot about how many children in the U.S. have an ASD. It will be important to use the same methods to track how the number of people with an ASD is changing over time in order to learn more about the disorders.


If You’re Concerned
If you think your child might have an ASD or you think there could be a problem with the way your child plays, learns, speaks, or acts,contact your child’s doctor, and share your concerns.

If you or the doctor is still concerned, ask the doctor for a referral to a specialist who can do a more in-depth evaluation of your child. Specialists who can do a more in-depth evaluation and make a diagnosis include:

  • Developmental Pediatricians (doctors who have special training in child development and children with special needs)
  • Child Neurologists (doctors who work on the brain, spine, and nerves)
  • Child Psychologists or Psychiatrists (doctors who know about the human mind)

At the same time, call your state’s public early childhood system to request a free evaluation to find out if your child qualifies for intervention services. This is sometimes called a Child Find evaluation. You do not need to wait for a doctor’s referral or a medical diagnosis to make this call.

Where to call for a free evaluation from the state depends on your child’s age:

  • If your child is not yet 3 years old, contact your local early intervention system.You can find the right contact information for your state by calling the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) at 1-800-695-0285.Or visit the NICHCY website. Once you find your state on this webpage, look for the heading “Programs for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities: Ages Birth through 3″.
  • If your child is 3 years old or older, contact your local public school system.Even if your child is not yet old enough for kindergarten or enrolled in a public school, call your local elementary school or board of education and ask to speak with someone who can help you have your child evaluated.If you’re not sure who to contact, call the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities at 1.800.695.0285 or visit the NICHCY website. Once you find your state on this webpage, look for the heading “Programs for Children with Disabilities: Ages 3 through 5″.

Research shows that early intervention services can greatly improve a child’s development. In order to make sure your child reaches his or her full potential, it is very important to get help for an ASD as soon as possible.

Down Syndrome Awareness Day

Down Syndrome Awareness Day is chance to spread awareness, advocacy and inclusion throughout the community.  On March 21st, we celebrate individuals with Down syndrome and make people aware of their abilities and accomplishments.

It’s not about celebrating disabilities; it’s about celebrating abilities.

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What Is Down Syndrome?
Down syndrome (or Down’s syndrome) is a chromosomal disorder caused by an error in cell division that results in an extra 21st chromosome. The condition leads to impairments in both cognitive ability and physical growth that range from mild to moderate developmental disabilities. Through a series of screenings and tests, Down syndrome can be detected before and after a baby is born.

The only factor known to affect the probability of having a baby with Down syndrome is maternal age. That is, less than one in 1,000 pregnancies for mothers less than 30 years of age results in a baby with Down syndrome. For mothers who are 44 years of age, about 1 in 35 pregnancies results in a baby with Down syndrome. Because younger women generally have more children, about 75 – 80% of children with Down syndrome are born to younger women.

What causes Down syndrome?
Down syndrome occurs because of an abnormality characterized by an extra copy of genetic material on all or part of the 21st chromosome. Every cell in the body contains genes that are grouped along chromosomes in the cell’s nucleus or center. There are normally 46 chromosomes in each cell, 23 inherited from your mother and 23 from your father. When some or all of a person’s cells have an extra full or partial copy of chromosome 21, the result is Down syndrome.

The most common form of Down syndrome is known as Trisomy 21, a condition where individuals have 47 chromosomes in each cell instead of 46. This is caused by an error in cell division called nondisjunction, which leaves a sperm or egg cell with an extra copy of chromosome 21 before or at conception. Trisomy 21 accounts for 95% of Down syndrome cases, with 88% originating from nondisjunction of the mother’s egg cell.

The remaining 5% of Down syndrome cases are due to conditions called mosaicism and translocation. Mosaic Down syndrome results when some cells in the body are normal while others have Trisomy 21. Robertsonian translocation occurs when part of chromosome 21 breaks off during cell division and attaches to another chromosome (usually chromosome 14). The presence of this extra part of chromosome 21 causes Down some syndrome characteristics. Although a person with a translocation may appear physically normal, he or she has a greater risk of producing a child with an extra 21st chromosome.

National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

March is recognized as National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. If you or a friend, co-worker, loved one or client has a developmental disability, this month is for you!

Thanks to the advocacy efforts of The Arc in the 1980’s, February 26, 1987 President Ronald Reagan officially declared Proclamation 5613 making March National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.

The proclamation called for people to provide understanding, encouragement and opportunities to help persons with developmental disabilities to lead productive and fulfilling lives. March is recognized by groups across the country as a time to speak up about the challenges facing people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families.

Most people have disabilities of one kind or another. The differences lie mostly in degree and whether our disabilities are seen or unseen. We can help remind others of this important celebration during Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month by sharing these important facts:

Spread the word to your friends and family!

  • Developmental disability is a natural part of the human experience and affects about 4.6 million Americans.
  • All people with developmental disabilities can be productive, contributing members of their communities!
  • Many people with developmental disabilities rely on publicly funded services and supports in order to fully participate in community life.
  • During times of economic decline, essential services and supports for people with developmental disabilities are often threatened.
  • The power of people with disabilities is strongest when their voices are united with each other and their friends, families and other allies.
  • Policy makers can only make good public policy when they hear from the people directly affected by their decisions!

What can you do to advocate for individuals with special needs?

  • Spread the word about Development Disabilities Awareness Month through email, blog, and website updates.
  • Contact local, state, and federal legislators to “Don’t Cut Our Lifeline” – The Arc.
  • Get involved to protect Medicaid services for people with special needs.
  • Learn about essential services for your loved one with special needs.

Everyone wants, and deserves, to enjoy life, feel productive and secure. But in March, we take extra steps to raise awareness about the needs and rights of the people with disabilities and to celebrate their contributions to our communities and society as a whole!

President Reagan’s personal invitation
I invite all individuals, agencies, and organizations concerned with the problem of developmental disabilities to observe this month with appropriate observances and activities directed toward increasing public awareness of the needs and the potential of Americans with developmental disabilities.

I urge all Americans to join me in according to our fellow citizens with such disabilities both encouragement and the opportunities they need to lead productive lives and to achieve their full potential.”

Boston’s 6th Annual Wounded Vet Run: Updated

Boston’s 6th Annual Wounded Vet Run updated

5th Honoree For The 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Run Announced

Thanks to some last minute donations The Boston Wounded Vet Run proudly announced the 5th honoree for the 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Ride: Marine Sgt Kirstie Ennis!
Kirstie lost her leg due to a helicopter crash in Afghanistan.
This upcoming May, we ride for her!

5th Honoree For The 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Run Announced

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! Here Are 16 New Year’s Resolutions For 2016

Happy New Year 2016

This new year, I will ________________.
Fill in the blank. What will you do differently?
Here are 16 New Year’s Resolutions for 2016 to get you started.

1: Be More Positive
Be more positive not just with our words and actions, but also with our own thoughts. Focus on surrounding yourself with positive people, things and experiences. Do what makes you smile and get rid of the things that don’t. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

2: Practice Random Acts of Kindness
“It’s the little things that count.” Instead of saying you will stop doing certain bad habits, focus on the good things you want to do more.

3: Do Something Out of the Ordinary
Step out of your comfort zone, it could give you a thrill of a lifetime! Trying new things can help you not only discover different sides of yourself, but it will help you know what you don’t like. So if you’ve always wanted to try, say, a cooking class and you end up hating it, you can cross that off and move onto the next thing.

4: Read More Books
Because knowledge is power and with great power comes great responsibility. Reading is a great  past time, can help you relax and if you read before bed may even help you fall sleep.

5: Eat Healthier
Trying to tell yourself what you can and can not eat is a difficult task. Rather than attempting to stop yourself from eating all the “bad” foods, try focusing on eating the “good” ones. You could also eat several small meals a day instead of a few large ones. For Example: Instead of eating a bowl of ice cream swap it for a bowl or (frozen) yogurt.

6: Get Fit
Many of us say “I want to loose weight in the new year,” but not all of us follow through with it. Instead of forcing ourselves to go to gym, we could just wake up a few minutes earlier and exercise. That way, it doesn’t seem like a chore.

7: Learn Something New
Have a friend teach you something new and in return help them learn something new. Follow your passions because learning something new should be challenging, fun and exciting.

8: Get More Sleep
There’s the famous “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” quote, but it sneaks up on you if you’re only getting 2-4 hours of sleep. Think of it this way: the more sleep you get, the more energy you have to do the things you want to do!

9: Save More, Spend Less
If your goal in 2016 is the save more and spend less, then the 52-week money challenge is perfect for you. The concept is easy: you start with $1 in the first week, and then every week, you’ll put away an extra dollar (week 1: $1, Week 2: $2…. Week 52: $52). Before you know it, you’ll have an extra $1,378 saved up.

10: Less Text, More Talk
Put your phone down and look up. Sometimes, it’s difficult to disconnect from the digital world, but is it worth missing out on those special moments? Learning to be truly present in the moment, not only improves our relationships but also makes us more appreciative to what we do have.

11: Travel
Traveling has a special magic touch. Whether it’s taking a mini getaway or a that big vacation you’ve been saving up for go somewhere you’ve never gone before!

12: Be More Open-Minded
Everyone gets scared, nervous and doubtful at times. Accept it and challenge yourself to be more open-minded to new things, people and experiences that life throws at you. People usually only fear the things that they don’t fully understand? If you’re not sure, don’t be afraid to ask!

13: Volunteer and Give Back to your Community
The beautiful thing about people is how much of a difference one person can make, let alone a group of people all working for the same cause. Once people gather together for something that they believe in, the outcome is incredible.

14: Be More Organized
Whether you want to cut back on clutter, organize your room, recycle and reuse some of your things, everyone needs their own system to get organized. That way if you ever need something, you’re not scrambling trying to look for it.

15: Saying no when you need to  & saying yes when you really should
You don’t have to say yes to everything. If you don’t feel like going to a party, listen to yourself and take a pass. If someone tries to dish out something that isn’t your job at work, tell them no. Just embrace the word “no.”
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Maybe your friend impulsively suggests a concert, or someone’s had a bad day and needs to go for a drink — whatever the reason, if you feel it would make your or their night, you should do it. In the best case scenario, you’ll get a memory to keep forever; at worst, at least you tried something new!

16: Enjoy the Little Things.
Living life to the fullest doesn’t just mean setting big goals like going bungee jumping or learning to scuba dive. It also includes learning to enjoy the little things. That is, learning to appreciate life’s simple pleasures, such as the following:

  • Going outside at night to look at the stars.
  • Seeing a genuine smile on the face of a person you love.
  • Walking barefoot in the grass.

MBTA New Year’s Eve Free Service

The MBTA announced its service schedule for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. The MBTA is providing extra transit services throughout the First Night Festivities and will offer FREE service after 8:00 p.m.

Friday, December 31 – New Year’s Eve

  • Blue, Orange, Green and Red Line trains will operate on a weekday schedule.  Additional trains will operate and provide rush – hour levels of service throughout the evening.  Service will be extended until approximately 2:00 a.m.
  • Buses, Silver Line, and trackless trolleys will operate on a weekday schedule.
  • Commuter Rail Service On New Year’s Eve will operate on a weekday schedule with additional train service provided to accommodate customers participating in Boston’s First Night Celebration.

OUTBOUND FROM NORTH STATION 

Fitchburg Line: 12:10 AM departure to Fitchburg will terminate at South Acton
1:00 AM & 2:00 AM Departure to Fitchburg
Haverhill Line: 12:10 AM departure to Haverhill will terminate at Reading
1:00 AM & 2:00 AM Departure to Haverhill
Lowell Line: 12:10 AM, 1:00 AM, & 2:00 AM Departure to Lowell
Rockport Line: 12:10 AM departure to Rockport will terminate at Beverly
1:00 AM departure to Rockport
Newburyport: 12:45 AM departure to Newburyport
Newburyport/Rockport: 2:00 AM departure
Newburyport bound customers must change at Beverly for a connecting train to Newburyport.

OUTBOUND FROM SOUTH STATION 

Providence Line: Train #829 that normally departs at 11:59 P.M. will depart 46 minutes later at 12:45 A.M.
1:45 AM Departure to Providence
Franklin Line: Train #731 that normally departs at 11:50 P.M. will depart 55 minutes later at 12:45 A.M.
1:45 AM Departure to Forge Park
Greenbush Line: 1:05 AM Departure to Greenbush
Middleboro/Lakeville Line: 1:10 AM Departure to Middleboro
Needham Line: 1:00 AM Departure to Needham
Kingston Line: 1:00 AM Departure to Kingston
Worcester/Framingham Line: Train #P539 that normally departs at 11:25 PM. will depart 1 hour and 35 minutes later at 1:00 AM to Worcester

Commuter Boat and Ferry

  • Inner Harbor Ferry will operate a normal weekday schedule.
  • Rowes Wharf/ Hingham Shipyard
    Additional service will depart at 12:20 PM and 2:30 PM from Rowes Wharf to Hingham.
    Additional service will depart Hingham at 1:15 PM and 3:15 PM.

    • The last departure from Rowes Wharf will be at 7 PM.
      • The 7:30 PM and 8:30PM departures from Rowes Wharf will be cancelled
    • The last departure from Hingham will be at 6:10 PM.
      • The 6:40 PM and 7:40 PM departures from Hingham will be cancelled.
  • Quincy Fore River Shipyard to Long Wharf and Logan Airport (Hull)

From Long Wharf

1:25 PM will stop at Hull
2:15 PM will stop at Hull

Additional service at 3:00 PM stops at Hull and Quincy Fore River Shipyard.

The 5:30 PM departure from Long Wharf to Hull and Quincy Fore River Shipyard will be cancelled.

The last departure from Quincy Fore River Shipyard will be at 6:55 PM.
The last departure from Long Wharf will be at 7:30 PM.

THE RIDE will operate extended hours until 2:30 a.m.

Saturday, January 1st– New Year’s Day

  • Blue, Orange, Green and Red Line trains will operate on a Sunday schedule.
  • Buses, Silver Line, and trackless trolleys will operate on a Sunday schedule.
  • Commuter rail trains will operate on a Sunday schedule.  Please Note: Fairmount Line, Needham Line and Stoughton Line will not operate.
  • Inner Harbor Ferry and Commuter Boat services will not operate.
  • THE RIDE will operate on a Sunday schedule.

Visit MBTA on the web for more information about MBTA services, routes, schedules and fares, or call the T’s Customer Information Center at 617-222-3200, (TTY) 617-222-5146.

Have A Fun And SAFE New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve is a night to have fun and celebrate the coming year. However, safety is a must when participating in the festivities. Whether you’re staying in and celebrating with friends and family, or you’re traveling to a party or city bash, following a few safety tips will ensure that you’re safe and sound when the clock strikes midnight, ringing in the New Year!

Designate a Driver:
If you are going to be driving New Year’s Eve, don’t drink and drive. If you have a friend who does not prefer to drink, make sure they take the wheel. You might even be on the water this New Year’s Eve. The person in charge of navigating the boat needs to be cautious, and this still applies to them. It is important to be safe on the water as well, so drink sensibly.

Be Alert:
Be aware of your surroundings and how others are acting. Stay away from those who are out of control and might cause harm. Taking preventive measures is key. If someone is really intoxicated, prevent them from trying to drive or leaving with someone they do not know. It’s important to keep an eye out for each other.

Don’t Drive:
If you don’t have to go behind the wheel, avoid it. More people will be driving under the influence on this particular night, so avoid a potentially dangerous accident by staying off the road. Otherwise, be alert and drive defensively. Most importantly, wear your seat belt. Also, using public transportation is a wise option. If taking a cab is too expensive, crashing at a friend’s place nearby is a convenient solution.

Stick Together:
This way we can look out for our friends and family. Going out to parties and nightclubs means a fast-paced, crazy night; so be sure to travel in groups. Having a safety net around you in this environment is imperative.

Monitor your Alcohol:
A majority of people will be drinking on New Year’s Eve, and there is nothing wrong with that. Just be sure to pay attention to how much you and others are consuming. Drinking too much alcohol can have lethal affects. Also, be wary of who you except drinks from (especially if they are open) and if you put your drink down think twice before drinking from it again. Be responsible.

Don’t forget about your pets:
They are just as much a part of the family as everyone else. If you are using fireworks, anything with loud noises, or fire, be sure that pets are kept at a distance as well as children. None of these are a good mix.

Be careful with open flames:
If you’re burning candles, incense or oil burners, remember to extinguish them before you turn in or before you leave the room they are burning in. Pay extra attention to pets and children around open flames.

Be extra careful with Fireworks:
If you are letting off fireworks in a residential area, be sure to practice proper safety precautions when using them. Let off fireworks in a field or other open area where homes and power lines are out of sight. Have a fire extinguisher nearby and never try to re-light a firework that did not go off when first lit. Also, be sure pets and children are at a safe distance from where fireworks are being ignited. Finally, always have an adult present when using any type of firework.

Everyone wants to have an unforgettable night — in a good way. By simply using some common sense, we can keep it that way. Ring in the New Year safely.

Tips For Including People With Disabilities At A Party

With the holiday season upon us, it’s easy to hold a party where all guests — with and without disabilities — feel welcomed, respected and have fun. All it takes is some planning.

 Don’t be afraid to include guests with disabilities
People with disabilities have their disabilities 24/7, so they know how to create work-arounds so that they feel comfortable. If you know someone has a disability, use a simple strategy — ask the person what they need to be fully included. All too often people with disabilities are not invited to events, or don’t go because they feel embarrassed to “put someone out” by asking for a simple thing that will help them attend. By telling them that their presence is valued, and asking what they need, you will build a new level of trust and affection. For example, one of the biggest things that aging loved ones need is a ride. So help them find a carpool or send an accessible taxi or ride to pick them up and return them home.

RSVP
Not all disabilities are visible, so you may not know that someone you want to include in your event has some special needs. By including a line about accommodations in the invitation’s RSVP, you are already letting guests know that everyone is welcome. If it’s a party for children, parents can tell you, right off the bat, what their child’s needs might be to attend the party. They will be happy you asked! “We want everyone to have fun — please let us know if you have dietary restrictions or require other special accommodations to attend! We will do our best to meet everyones needs.” Note that you aren’t promising to meet all needs — if you can’t find a sign language interpreter at the last minute or there is another issue, for example, you will be able to let your guest know in advance. Indeed, they may be able to help you find a solution!

Physical Access
Most public places are accessible. However, because religious institutions are exempted from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), many of them are not fully accessible. Thus, if your event is at a venue that is not physically accessible to all, move it to a place that is. That can mean a different room in a place of worship, or to a completely different place. Venues should have a ground level entrance or ramp, an elevator if it’s upstairs, and accessible bathrooms. Most public places (hotels, restaurants, bowling, video games, pools, bounce houses, etc.) are usually equipped for people with disabilities. Just check with the venue ahead of time. If you have someone coming who uses a wheelchair, you should also put the menorah on a table that is low enough for them to also be able to light candles.

Special Diets
Anyone can have allergies, celiac disease or lactose intolerance, but you won’t know unless you ask on the invitation RSVP. Making sure there is an option for cake, snacks, treats and other food for these guests can be as simple as picking up a gluten free cupcake to serve with the cake. It is thoughtful to have refreshments that everyone can enjoy.

Addressing attitude
Kids and adults can be daunted when encountering someone who is different from them. If it’s a children’s event you can talk to the group at the start of the party about kindness and respect for each other and each others differences. A party is a great opportunity for kids to learn about one another.

Involving parents
Parties can be exhausting for the hosts. Asking a parent or two to volunteer to help at the party, particularly if it’s a big group, can lighten the load for the hosts. Parents may feel more comfortable, especially if their child has social anxiety issues, if they are invited to stay or help as an option.

Sensory overload awareness
Parties can cause sensory overload for any child or adult. But for a person with autism or a sensory processing disorder, a party can be really overwhelming. Offer opportunities for guests to take a break, perhaps in a quiet room away from the crowd. Some venues may have options for turning down music or minimizing stimulation — and that is useful anywhere there are a lot of kids! Latex allergies (balloons) and chemical sensitivities (use of highly scented cleaners or staff wearing perfumes) are real issues. Solutions: Use alternative mylar balloons. Ask people to not wear strong scents, and choose unscented cleaning products.

Communication
If a guest attending the party is non-verbal or communicates in other ways such as American Sign Language or a communication board, talk about it with the guests. Installing free Dragon software onto an Ipad in advance can enable you to speak with someone who is deaf as it instantly transcribes what you are saying. Having an interpreter can be worth the cost, as all the people can communicate and maybe learn a little sign language! Remember to speak directly to a child or adult whether s/he is verbal or not.

Reading, Cognitive Access and Vision Issues
Children and adults with cognitive, learning disabilities or vision impairments might not be able to read the menu, instructions for a scavenger hunt or a game score sheet. Pictures and verbal instructions are useful, as well as pairing children with those who can help. It’s always great to have an extra pair of reading glasses around if you are inviting seniors. But you can always tell someone who can’t see or read what they will need or what to know.

Enjoy the party!
Don’t let inclusion stress you out. If you are reading this list and considering these tips, you’re already doing more than most! Stay positive, smile and throw that PARTY!

Adaptive and Accessible Wintertime Activities

The colder months have a tendency to leave us feeling sluggish and craving extended naps. Although getting enough sleep is important for all of us, keeping our bodies and minds active, especially in the winter when our bodies are running slower, is essential. Here are a few ideas to keep you engaged this holiday season.

Change It Up
Don’t fall into the Netflix void this winter. While the online streaming service can help you host the perfect movie night, complete with hot chocolates and warm blankets, you know what they say about too much of a good thing.

Learn Something New
Master your camera’s manual functions or brush up on your own cooking skills by adding a few new recipes to your repertoire. With endless video tutorials and online resources, winter is the perfect time to pick up a new skill.

Out and About
Just because the temperature’s dropped doesn’t mean you have to be stuck indoors. If you have access to a wheelchair accessible car or van, you can go check out that new restaurant you’ve been eyeing, go explore a museum or even attend a play or concert. Some zoos even offer indoor exhibits. If you are in the mood for something a bit wilder, get out and discover all your city and neighboring towns have to offer.

Stay Active
Staying active doesn’t mean spending hours upon hours at the gym. Joining a bowling league or going for a stroll or ride around the neighborhood on days when the snow’s cleared can help you keep yourself warm this winter. You can also check with your local YMCA or other recreational centers to see if they offer accessible swim sessions or wheelchair basketball or wheelchair rugby leagues. If they don’t, talk to management about starting your own!

Wreaths Across America

The annual Wreaths Across America event will be held at Arlington National Cemetery Saturday, December 12, 2015. The Opening Ceremony will be held at 9:30 a.m. at McClellan Gate, which is at the intersection of McClellan and Eisenhower Drives – near the main entrance of Arlington National Cemetery. At the ceremony, volunteers will receive a short briefing then move to the designated areas of the cemetery to participate in the laying of wreaths at headstones.

Participants are encouraged to use the Metro. No vehicle access will be allowed in the cemetery until 3 p.m. Families with permanent parking passes can park in the Welcome Center Garage free-of-charge until 3 p.m. The Administration Parking Lot is designated parking for those with disabilities. No general parking is permitted in the Welcome Center Garage.

For more information, go to http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org

6th Annual Mass Fallen Heroes Memorial Dinner

6th Annual Mass Fallen Heroes Memorial Dinner

Boston’s 6th Annual Wounded Vet Run

Boston's 6th Annual Wounded Vet Run

Accessible Holiday Parties

Plan ahead by finding out information about your guests.

  • Ask if anyone has a special diet or food allergy to consider
  • Find out if anyone is bringing a service animal – your Fluffy may not appreciate Fido, so you may want to take your pets into a separate area of your home
  • Decide what area of the house could be a private place – some people may need to take medication, change feeding tubes or have other personal needs

Food accessibility can be determined by thinking about food shape, size, consistency, and packaging.

  • Large and floppy sandwiches with loose ingredients may be difficult to hold for those with limited dexterity
  • Try to limit the use of wet ingredients in sandwiches, like tomatoes, because it makes them soggy and hard to hold
  • Smaller items are easier to eat and pick up
  • Limit the amount of cutting that foods require
  • Serve foods that stay on a fork – rice, small vegetables and long spaghetti noodles are more difficult than tortellini or rigatoni
  • Soup is not very accessible
  • Have a variety of differently sized and shaped cutlery
  • Straws, cups with lids and beverages in both cans and bottles provide beverage accessibility
  • Packaging should be easy to open and re-sealable to enable small eaters to save food for later

Conduct an accessibility review of your home. You can’t change everything, such as the foundation of your home, but you can make some simple changes to your home to ensure that people in wheelchairs have better access to things they need:

  • Consider the height of your table – can a wheelchair fit comfortably? If not, consider swapping out your regular dinner table for something taller or shorter
  • Remove barriers that make navigating your house difficult – take out extra coffee tables, lamps, chairs, throw rugs and items that sit on the floor
  • Ensure adequate lighting for persons with visual impairments
  • Keep music low as laughter, noise, talking, music, lights and excitement may already cause over stimulation

Roadside Assistance for Drivers with DisAbilities

Getting stuck on the side of the road due to a vehicle malfunction can be a major inconvenience and can keep you from achieving your goals for the day. For a person with a disAbility driving an adaptive or wheelchair accessible vehicle, this inconvenience can quickly become a big problem.

Coverage
Make sure you select coverage that follows you from vehicle to vehicle. In other words, even if you are driving a rental or a family member’s car, under this coverage, you will be entitled to roadside assistance.

Towing
Finding out the details in advance when it comes to towing can make a significant difference if you ever find yourself stranded. Will they provide an accessible vehicle for transportation? Will they tow your vehicle to a dealership or to the place of your choosing, such as a repair shop? What are the mileage limits? These are all questions you’ll need the answers to prior to settling on a provider, as they will determine the efficiency of the service.

Additional Services
From help locating hotels to maps and directions, roadside assistance plans can come bundled with a wide variety of additional services. Analyze the plans the provider offers to make sure you’re only paying for the services you might need to use.

Something to Think About
If you are a wheelchair user who drives his or her own vehicle, you might want to consider choosing a provider that caters specifically to persons with disAbilities.

 Drivers with or without disAbilities should consider purchasing a roadside assistance program to protect them in the event of an unforeseen vehicle malfunction. Determining the best option for you may be tricky, but keeping these things in mind may make the decision a bit easier.

The WaterFire Salute to Veterans

WaterFire Salute To Veterans 2015

The WaterFire Salute to Veterans is scheduled to take place on November 7th, 2015. This is the third year for this community wide celebration of Veterans. This WaterFire will be a full WaterFire event lighting and solely devoted to saluting and honoring our Veterans and all military personnel of the United States and their families.

Much more than the bonfires, WaterFire presents a wide variety of experiences – traditional to avant-garde and experimental, bringing new audiences to art while filling the city with energy, vibrancy and a new vision for urban life. Programming around this installation varies greatly and WaterFire prides itself on being able to celebrate, champion and highlight various other forms of art, causes, other local organizations and local history. This year WaterFire is proud to honor all of our Veterans with an entire evening dedicated to their service, sacrifice and dedication.

This WaterFire event lighting will include many different activities and initiatives that highlight and celebrate, in both creative and literal representations, all Rhode Island Veterans as well as current members of the armed forces from all branches. The goal is to use the WaterFire platform as a means to educate and bring awareness to the community at large about our Veterans and Veterans Services, as well as serve as a celebration and thank you for the sacrifices that these men and women have made for our country and our community.

Throughout the WaterFire installation there will be many ceremonies and tributes planned over the course of the evening as well as many areas for displays and engagement from Waterplace Basin to Steeple Street to Memorial Park. WaterFire is excited to produce a Veteran’s Resource Fair at the heart of the installation.

Operation Flags for Vets

Operation Flags for Vets

Operation Flags for Vets will be placing 64,000 flags on the graves of our beloved veterans for veterans Day, Flagging will commence following a brief ceremony at 10 AM on Saturday November 7. Please bring a long shank screwdriver to make starter holes for the flags.

Removal will take place on Sunday November 15 at 10 AM.

Emphysema Awareness

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the leading cause of death in the U.S. and affects more than 12 million Americans.  COPD – which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis – is a term used to describe the obstruction of airflow.

COPD cannot be cured, but it can be treated. Early detection and diagnosis is the key to successful management of this chronic disease.

Emphysema is a long-term, progressive disease of the lungs that primarily causes shortness of breath due to over-inflation of the alveoli (air sacs in the lung). In people with emphysema, the lung tissue involved in exchange of gases (oxygen and carbon dioxide) is impaired or destroyed. Emphysema is included in a group of diseases called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD (pulmonary refers to the lungs). Emphysema is called an obstructive lung disease because airflow on exhalation is slowed or stopped because over-inflated alveoli do not exchange gases when a person breaths due to little or no movement of gases out of the alveoli.

Emphysema changes the anatomy of the lung in several important ways. This is due to in part to the destruction of lung tissue around smaller airways. This tissue normally holds these small airways, called bronchioles, open, allowing air to leave the lungs on exhalation. When this tissue is damaged, these airways collapse, making it difficult for the lungs to empty and the air (gases) becomes trapped in the alveoli.

Normal lung tissue looks like a new sponge. Emphysematous lung looks like an old used sponge, with large holes and a dramatic loss of “springy-ness” or elasticity. When the lung is stretched during inflation (inhalation), the nature of the stretched tissue wants to relax to its resting state. In emphysema, this elastic function is impaired, resulting in air trapping in the lungs. Emphysema destroys this spongy tissue of the lung and also severely affects the small blood vessels (capillaries of the lung) and airways that run throughout the lung. Thus, not only is airflow affected but so is blood flow. This has dramatic impact on the ability for the lung not only to empty its air sacs called alveoli (pleural for alveolus) but also for blood to flow through the lungs to receive oxygen.

November is Caregiver Awareness Month

Each year, more and more Americans are caring for a loved one with a chronic condition, disAbility, or the frailties of old age.  There are as many as 90 million family caregivers in the U.S. today.

  • Two out of every 5 adults are family caregivers.  39% of all adult Americans are caring for a loved one who is sick or disAbled – up from 30% in 2010.
  • Alzheimer’s is driving the numbers up.  More than 15 million family caregivers are providing care to more than 5 million loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • But it’s not just the elderly who need caregiving.  The number of parents caring for children with special needs is increasing, too, due to the rise in cases of many childhood conditions.
  • Wounded veterans require family caregivers, too.  As many as 1 million Americans are caring in their homes for service members from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who are suffering from traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, or other wounds and illnesses.
  • And it’s not just women doing the caregiving.  Men are now almost as likely to say they are family caregivers as women are (37% of men; 40% of women). And 36% of younger Americans between ages 18 and 29 are family caregivers as well, including 1 million young people who care for loved ones with Alzheimer’s.
  • Family caregiving is serious work.  Almost half of family caregivers perform complex medical/nursing tasks for their loved ones – such as managing multiple medications, providing wound care, and operating specialized medical equipment.
  • Family caregivers are the backbone of the Nation’s long-term care system. Family caregivers provide $450 billion worth of unpaid care each year.That’s more than total Medicaid funding, and twice as much as homecare and nursing home services combined.

With the ranks of family caregivers growing every year – tens of millions strong – we recognize the importance to the Nation of the role that family caregivers play.

How To Make Your Kitchen Wheelchair-Friendly For the Holidays

Brisk air, shorter days and finding a pumpkin patch on every corner can only mean one thing—holiday season is upon us and with it come delicious feasts enjoyed with loved ones. For some of us, this also means lots of time spent in the kitchen. Whether you’re cooking, washing dishes or just gathering in the house’s social center, a kitchen that’s accessible to all family members makes for an inviting place to enjoy time together. Making your kitchen space more wheelchair-friendly can seem overwhelming, but with a few adjustments and considerations, you, and any other wheelchair user in your circle, can feel comfortable taking part in holiday traditions.

Kitchen Counters
Because the typical height of a wheelchair armrest is about 29”, a recommended counter-top height for a person using a wheelchair is a minimum of 28” and should be no higher than 34”. There should also be a space of at least 24” in height and 30” in width to accommodate the wheelchair underneath while working at the counter. This way, you, or any person with a disAbility in your family, can easily reach the counter for food preparation, storage or sneaking a bite of that side dish before it’s quite ready.

Sinks
An important tip to keep in mind when installing a wheelchair accessible sink is to place the drain near the back of the sink. This keeps a space clear of obstructions under the sink where a person using a wheelchair can move into without issue. Also be sure any hot water pipes are insulated to prevent burns. Finally, accessible kitchen sinks should be only 5” to 6 ½” deep with a single lever faucet to make for simple operation

Wall Cabinets
Lowering wall cabinets by about 3” (from the standard 18” above the counter to 15”) would make the second shelf accessible for persons in wheelchairs. By also including pullout cutting boards and drawers with full extension glides, your kitchen could be transformed into an accessible haven. An alternative solution would be to install shelving lifts inside cabinets. These will lower the shelves, and their contents, to an accessible height for those with disAbilities.

Appliances
Installing or lowering wall ovens, microwaves or other mounted appliances to approximately 31” from the floor can make them more convenient to operate from a wheelchair. When it comes to a stove-top, positioning control knobs at the front of the appliances eliminates the need to reach across a hot cooking surface and makes it easier for those with mobility limitations to feel more comfortable cooking up something yummy.

These adaptations can help make your kitchen easy to navigate and give you the perfect space to try those holiday recipes you’ve been eying.

National Day of the Deployed

October 26 is designated as National Day of the Deployed.

National Day of the Deployed honors all of the brave men and woman who have been deployed and are sacrificing, or have sacrificed, their lives to fight for our country and acknowledges their families that they are separated from.

Third Honoree For The 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Run Announced

The Boston Wounded Vet Run proudly announced the third honoree for the 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Ride: Army Specialist Sean Pesce of West Haven, CT!
Sean was shot 13 times Afghanistan and is now paralyzed from the waist down.
This upcoming May, we ride for him!

Third Honoree For The 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Run Announced

North Carolina Wounded Vet Run 2015

NC Wounded Vet Run 2015

Check out the Facebook Page

Greater Bridgewater Women of Today Touch A Truck Event

Greater Bridgewater Women of Today Touch a Truck

Join Greater Bridgewater Women of Today for their Touch-A-Truck event hosted at Sullivan Tire (Rte.18) in Bridgewater on Sunday, October 25 from 11-2 PM weather permitting. The cost will be $3 per family with a maximum cost of $15 per family. There will be tons of trucks for the children to touch and explore! Children are encouraged to wear their costumes and there will be candy to collect at each truck. There will be face painting, giveaways, games and more! Grilled burgers and hot dogs will be available for purchase. GBWOT would like to thank the sponsors of this event: Sullivan Tire, Crocetti’s Market, Prisco’s Market, and Wheel House Real Estate.

October Is Car Care Month: Is your vehicle prepared for winter driving?

Is your car ready to handle freezing conditions? Frigid temps can take a toll on your car and make winter driving even more hazardous than usual.
Here are a few tips to adapt to winter roads and preparing your car for the extreme cold.

Check the car’s battery
Cold weather takes a toll on batteries and requires a full charge. A battery is 35 percent weaker at 32 degrees and 60 percent weaker at zero degrees.

A load test by a qualified technician can determine whether a car’s battery is strong enough for winter. Keep in mind that if the car started with a jump start, the problem is not fixed and the battery most likely needs replacing.

Starting
Avoid excessive cranking. If the car doesn’t start after 20 seconds of cranking, wait a couple of minutes to let the battery recover.

Tire preparation
Tires should have sufficient tread depth that can handle New England’s winter weather. All-season tires are adequate for most vehicles but to get the greatest traction for both starting and stopping, snow tires are recommended. When considering snow tires, they should be installed on all four wheels

See and be seen
Clear windows, mirrors, and lights with an ice scraper, brush, or a spray de-icer. Driving with a snow-covered windshield, windows, side-view mirrors or lights invites a crash.

Completely clean snow from the roof, hood, and trunk. Windshield wipers and defrosters should be in good working order and washer reservoirs should be filled with no-freeze windshield washer fluid.

Consider specially designed winter wiper blades that prevent snow and ice buildup and improve visibility.

Reduce speeds
Most winter crashes happen from driving too fast for the weather conditions. Remember, everything takes longer on snow-covered roads, including accelerating, stopping, and turning.

Nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement so allow time to maneuver by driving slowly.

All-wheel drive is best
All-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive will help to get a car moving, but bear in mind it does little to improve braking. Don’t become overconfident and drive too fast for winter road conditions.

Anticipate stopping distance
In temperatures at or just above 32 degrees, a thin layer of water can cover the ice and cause slippery conditions, especially at intersections where snow and ice tend to melt first. The distance needed to stop on ice at 32 degrees is twice as long as at zero degrees.

Keep the engine cool
Mix certain cooling system antifreeze with an equal portion of water for maximum protection.

First Honoree For The 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Run Announced

The Boston Wounded Vet Run proudly announced the first honoree for the 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Ride: Peter Damon of Middleborough, MA!
Peter lost both his arms in Iraq.
In 2016 we ride for him!

Peter Damon

Accessible Haunted Houses in New England

According to the Websites these Haunted Houses are accessible.

Spooky World Presents Nightmare New England
Are you wheelchair accessible?
Yes, all of our indoor attractions are accessible and have wooden floors. Please note that our outdoor attractions have paths that are grass, gravel and woodchips.

Is a Military Discount offered?
Yes – we are proud to honor our past and present men and women offering service to our country. To receive a $7 discount per ticket, please show your Military ID at any of our ticket windows when purchasing. A Military ID discount may not be combined with any other coupons or offers.

Ghoulie Manor
Are you wheelchair accessible?
Yes, we are! If you don’t come with a wheelchair, you may need one by the time you leave.

Factory of Terror – Fall River, MA
Factory of Terror – Worcester, MA

Q. Is the Factory of Terror wheelchair accessible?
A. Yes, we have designed our attraction to make it wheelchair accessible.

Six Flags Fright Fest – Springfield, MA
Although the site does not  state it is Wheelchair accessible in the Plan Trip section it says: “7. Stop by Stroller Rental if you need a stroller, wheelchair, wooden stakes, silver bullets, garlic, or holy water.”

Canobie Lake Park Screamfest
Are the haunts wheelchair accessible?
Our haunted attractions can accommodate conventional and electric wheelchairs or electric service vehicles – although certain elements/effects will require the use of an alternate pathway. We do recommend, however, that you plan your visit with someone who is aware of your needs and can physically assist you when necessary.

Is Nightmare Vermont handicapped accessible?

Yes!  This year we are at the Memorial Auditorium which is wheelchair accessible. However, we can only make accommodations for our Thursday, Friday, Sunday and Wednesday shows.
Call 802 355-3107 two days in advance to make arrangements.

Note: You should call in advance to make sure their accommodations meet your needs.

World Heart Day

World Heart Day

World Heart Day was founded in 2000 to inform people around the globe that heart disease and stroke are the world’s leading causes of death, claiming 17.3 million lives each year.

World Heart Day is an annual event which takes place on 29 September every year. Each year’s celebrations have a different theme, reflecting key issues and topics relating to heart health. The theme this year is: Heart-Healthy Environments.

For more information please visit the World Heart Federation’s Website!

7th Annual Morgan’s Ride Is Tomorrow

7th Annual Morgan's Ride

Sunday September 27, 2015
9:30am – 6:00pm
Hilltop AA Club

Pottle St, Kingston, Massachusetts 02364
Please join us for this ride. A 25 mile ride thought the back roads of the South Shore. Live band, food, raffles and more.. Funds raised go to the Morgan’s Fund. To help the fight against FOP.
$20 PER PERSON.

For more information please visit the Facebook Page

Lymphoma Awareness

What Is Lymphoma?
Lymphoma is a group of cancers that begins in the lymphatic system. The function of the lymphatic system is to drain excess tissue fluid called lymph. The lymphatic system also contains blood cells known as lymphocytes, which are important in fighting infection. Lymphoma is the uncontrolled growth of lymphocytes.

What Are the Types of Lymphoma?
There are two types of lymphoma: Hodgkin’s and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

  • Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is recognized by the presence of special cells that can be seen under the micros cope, called the Reed-Sternberg cell. Only 12.5% of all lymphomasare the Hodgkin’s type.
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is the most common type of lymphoma and is divided into many groups of lymphatic cancers. There are many different types of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
What Are the Key Statistics About Lymphoma?
  • In the year 2015, about 80,900 people will be diagno sed with lymphoma. About 71,850 are expected to have the Non-Hodgkin’s type and about 9,050 for the Hodgkin’s type of lymphoma. Approximately 20,940 people will die of the disease this year.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Lymphoma?
  • A swelling of lymph nodes that does not cause pain. Lymph nodes are groups of cells found along the path of lymphatic vessels. They filter the lymphatic fluid and remove harmful substances. The most common sites of lymph node swellings are in the neck, armpit, groin, or the abdomen.
  • General symptoms can include fever, sweating, fatigue, loss of appetite, and bony pain.
  • There are no known strategies to prevent lymphoma.
What Are the Causes of Lymphoma?
  • In most cases, the cause of lymphoma remains unknown.
  • Patients with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) have a higher risk of developing lymphoma.
  • Stomach lymphoma can be caused by an infection in the stomach called Helicobacter Pylori. This infection is sometimes found in people that have stomach ulcers.

Leukemia Awareness

What Is Leukemia?
Leukemia is a cancer of the white blood cells, which help fight infection. It is caused by the uncontrolled growth of these cells. Leukemia starts in the bone marrow,
which is the spongy part inside the bones where blood cells are made. The cancer cells spread to the blood that circulates in the arteries and veins.
What Are the Key Statistics About Leukemia?
  • The American Cancer Society estimates that 54,270 people will be diagnosed with leukemia this year.
  • About 24,450 people are expected to die from leukemia in the year 2015.
  • Leukemia is commonly thought of as a childhood disease, yet it is diagnosed 10 times more often in adults
What Are the Types of Leukemia?
  • Based on the time it takes one to develop the disease, leukemia has two forms,acute and chronic leukemia.
  • Acute leukemia begins over a short period of time. In acute leukemia, there is a fast growth of immature cells in the bone marrow and peripheral blood.
  • Chronic leukemia develops over a longer period of time. Compared to acute leukemia, it has more mature cells in the bone marrow and peripheral blood.
  • Based on the type of blood cells, leukemia is divided into lymphocytic and myelogenous leukemia.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Leukemia?
  • There are no exact signs and symptoms of leukemia.
  • General symptoms include fatigue, or lack of energy, and flu-like symptoms including fever.
  • A loss of appetite may also occur.
  • Shortness of breath when active and a pale color of the skin and mucous membranes (this includes the lining of the inside of the nose and mouth). These symptoms are related to anemia, which is a decrease in the red blood cells that carry oxygen.
  • Easy bruising and bleeding due to a drop in the platelet count. Platelets are part of the blood cells that help form blood clots.Poor wound healing and infections.
  • This is because many of the white cells are immature and therefore not able to do their job.
What Are the Causes of Leukemia?
  • The exact cause of leukemia is not known.
  • In very rare cases, chemotherapy or radiation therapy used to treat one cancer leads to leukemia.
  • There are no known ways to prevent leukemia.

World Alzheimer’s Day

World Alzheimer’s Day, September 21st of each year, is a day on which Alzheimer’s organizations around the world concentrate their efforts on raising awareness about Alzheimer’s and dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, a group of disorders that impairs mental functioning.

Every 68 seconds, someone develops Alzheimer’s disease. At current rates, experts believe the number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s will quadruple to as many as 16 million by the year 2050.

Alzheimer’s disease is often called a family disease, because the chronic stress of watching a loved one slowly decline affects everyone. 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the only cause of death among the top 10 in the United States that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed. With the increases in life spans and baby boomers coming of age, support for Alzheimer’s research is more critical to our families than ever.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Did you know?:

  • 1 in every 285 children in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer
  • In the U.S., one out of every five children with cancer will not survive
  • The vast majority of kids who do survive will suffer long-term side effects
  • 14,583 kids will be diagnosed with cancer this month alone

And every single one of them is hoping that the next treatment is the one that will save their life.

For more information you can visit St. Jude’s Website

Tomorrow is National POW/MIA Recognition Day

2015 NATIONAL POW:MIA RECOGNITION DAY September 18th

National POW/MIA Recognition Day will be observed on Friday, Sept. 18, 2015. This annual event honors our missing service members and their families, and highlights the government’s commitment to account for them.  Across the country, local POW/MIA ceremonies are encouraged throughout POW/MIA Recognition Week, culminating with countless events and the national ceremony in Washington, DC, on Recognition Day.  Support for these missing Americans and their families is deeply felt.  America’s POW/MIAs should be honored and recognized, rather than memorialized, with the focus on continuing commitment to account as fully as possible for those still missing.  Strong, united support by the American people is crucial to achieving concrete answers.

Today marks the 14th anniversary of the day that changed our nation forever. It is a day that will never be forgotten, and is a day that should be commemorated.

9.11.01 9.11.15

Visit a Memorial or Tribute – Take the LIRR over to NYC to view the Tribute in Light on the evening of September 11th or to visit the 9/11 Memorial Museum.

Volunteer – Spend the day volunteering at a local charity or cause. Do it as a family and give back to the community for the day.

Focus on Hope – The 9/11 attacks showed us the absolute worst in people, but they also showed us the absolute best in people. Focus on all of the heroes of that day, all of the compassion and aid that people provided one another, and the way our country came together, united, after the terrible events.

Massachusetts Run For The Fallen Is On Saturday!

 Massachusetts Run For The Fallen

They are a group of runners, walkers, and support crew with a mission.

To run in honor of every Massachusetts Service Member Fallen since September 11, 2001. They run to raise awareness for the lives of those who died, to rejuvenate their memories and keep their spirits alive. MARFTF seeks to honor those who have fallen under the American Flag. For more information or to become a sponsor, contact Military Friends Foundation at 1-84-HELP-VETS or MARFTF@militaryfriends.org

Rain or Shine
Saturday, September 12, 2015
84 Eastern Avenue
Dedham, MA 02026

Not a runner? Come out and cheer on the runners and show your support for the families!

8:00 am – Registration Opens
9:00 am – Name Reading
10:00 am – Timed Run Start
10:10 am – Memorial Run Start
11:00 pm – Post Run Event

  • $30 donation (supports the cost of the event and families of the Fallen) receives a bib, limited edition MARFTF t-shirt, finishers medal and food ticket.
  • Live Music
  • Boston Marathon Tough Ruck
  • Lynn English JROTC Drill Team
  • Post-run: Family Fun including face painting, Ice Cream, raffles and more!
  • RFTF active wear for purchase to benefit Families of the Fallen

Rye’s Syndrome Awareness

Reye’s Syndrome, a deadly disease, strikes swiftly and can attack any child, teen, or adult without warning. All body organs are affected with the liver and brain suffering most seriously. While the cause and cure remain unknown, research has established a link between Reye’s Syndrome and the use of aspirin and other salicylate containing medications, over the counter products, and topical use products.

Reye’s Syndrome is a two-phase illness because it is almost always associated with a previous viral infection such as influenza (flu), cold, or chicken pox. Scientists do know that Reye’s Syndrome is not contagious and the cause is unknown. Reye’s Syndrome is often misdiagnosed as encephalitis, meningitis, diabetes, drug overdose, poisoning, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or psychiatric illness.

Reye’s Syndrome tends to appear with greatest frequency during January, February, and March when influenza is most common. Cases are reported in every month of the year. An epidemic of flu or chicken pox is commonly followed by an increase in the number of cases of Reye’s Syndrome.

When Reye’s Syndrome develops, it typically occurs when a person is beginning to recover from a viral illness.

Abnormal accumulations of fat begin to develop in the liver and other organs of the body, along with a severe increase of pressure in the brain. Unless diagnosed and treated successfully, death is common, often within a few days, and even a few hours. A person’s life depends upon early diagnosis. Statistics indicate an excellent chance of recovery when Reye’s Syndrome is diagnosed and treated in its earliest stages. The later the diagnosis and treatment, the more severely reduced are the chances for successful recovery and survival.

Marine Corps Reserve

Marine Corps Reserve

The Reserve of the United States Marine Corps, since its establishment by law in 1916, has been responsible for providing trained units and qualified individuals to be mobilized for active duty in time of war, national emergency or contingency operations.

Over the past eight decades, Reserve Marines have regularly operated alongside the active component in the two World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Shield/Storm and Enduring Freedom.

Tomorrow is the New York Wounded Vet Run

New York Wounded Vet Run

Tomorrow Is The Greater Boston Stand Down Event!

Greater Boston Stand Down Event

August is National Spinal Muscular Atrophy Awareness Month

Since 1996, Spinal Muscular Atrophy Awareness Month has worked to increase awareness of this condition, hoping that a boost in the public’s knowledge about SMA will improve resources for research and provide better care for patients.

What can YOU do to help?
As with any cause, getting the message out to the public is the best way to help. Here are a few ways through which you can let your family, friends and colleagues know about SMA Awareness Month.

Host an Event
Whether it’s a picnic at the park or a fundraiser at your library, an event can help promote SMA Awareness Month to a large number of people. Look into posting your event on your community’s calendar, in order to attract an even larger turnout.

Display Promotional Materials
To help enhance awareness events, you can choose to make or purchase promotional materials containing information about SMA, organizations working to find a cure, and ways to donate. Some families and groups have come up with creative ways to display informational materials, like posting ribbons with SMA facts throughout their neighborhood!

Spread the Word
If you are asked questions regarding SMA or your efforts during awareness month (or anytime of the year!), take the opportunity to educate others about the disease. Share all the knowledge you can and instruct those around you on how they, too, can help.

Donate
While this may not be a possibility for us all, monetary contributions can directly go towards funding life-saving research and scientific efforts. Whenever possible, make a donation to support the battle against SMA.

The efforts of those involved in Spinal Muscular Atrophy Awareness Month can help advance the search for a treatment or cure for those living with the disease. However you choose to get involved, we urge you to support this cause.

Ice Bucket Challenge: Raising Money and Awareness for ALS

Ice Bucket Challenge- Raising Money and Awareness for ALS

Perhaps you’ve seen it online, on your Facebook feed, or across popular morning shows in recent days – the ice bucket challenge! Individuals are taking to media, volunteering to have buckets of ice water poured over their heads to raise money and awareness for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

What is ALS?
ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), but is more commonly referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.” The disease is characterized by the ALS Association as neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Individuals living with ALS suffer from degenerative loss of motor skills, muscle loss, and can even lead to total paralysis.

Some early symptoms can include increasing muscle weakness, especially in the arms and legs, and loss of speech, difficulty swallowing or breathing. Learn more about the disease at www.alsa.org.

While there is currently no cure for ALS, the disease is 100% fatal. There is currently one medication and others in trial period that offer hope to those living with the disease and help slow down symptoms.

Who started the Ice Bucket Challenge?
The ice bucket challenge campaign was started by Pat Quinn, who became an ALS ambassador after being diagnosed with the disease himself. He got the idea from other similar “challenges” that people were doing and then posting online and recognized the power social media could have in spreading awareness and raising money for those living with the disease every day.

Since he kicked off the campaign, celebrities like Justin Timberlake, the cast of Good Morning America, Michael Strahan, Josh Ramsay, the Patriots and others have been challenging each other to “take the plunge” and spread the news.

How is the challenge impacting the Disability community?
Thanks to the ice bucket challenge, the ALS Association has reportedly received $4 million in donations between July 29 and August 12 and have welcomed more than 70,000 new donors! Contributions will go towards finding a cure for ALS while funding the highest quality of care for people living with the disease.

The ALS community is hoping the increased awareness and funds could lead to a new breakthrough in fighting for the cause. Even those who are not able to donate have helped raise awareness which could potentially help groups like the ALS Association expedite the extensive collaboration required between individuals, medical institutions, and testing labs which could help lead to a potential cure for the disease and help improve the quality of life for those living with it.

National Spirit of ’45 Day

Spirit Of '45

In 2010, Congress unanimously voted in favor of a national “Spirit of ’45 Day” to preserve and honor the legacy of the men and women of the World War II generation so that their example of national unity, shared sacrifice, can do attitude, and service to their community and country continues to inspire future generations of Americans.

Gearing Up for Back-to-School Season

Shopping for school supplies and new clothes isn’t the only thing you’ll need to get done this August to make sure your child (and you!) are ready for the new school year. From ensuring that your kid’s teachers are aware of any special requirements to helping your child understand the importance of education, getting ‘back-to-school ready’ is easy with these quick tips.

Get into a routine
Summer days are filled with late starts, weekday trips and fun activities, meaning early
mornings, strict schedules, and homework may be a bit of a shock to your child’s system. Ease your kids into the school routine by practicing waking up early, having lunch at a certain time each day, and trading game-time for educational activities.

Assess accessibility
If it’s your child’s first time going to school, or if your family moved over the summer, be sure to pay the campus a visit before the first bell. From accessible entrances, hallways, and elevators to transportation equipped to meet your child’s needs, figuring out the details of getting to, and around, the school is essential.

Meet and greet
Get to know your child’s teachers and aides whenever possible. Explain your child’s special needs to them in detail, ensuring that you make them aware of any particular requirements they may have, or assistive devices they need to utilize in class.

Account for changes
Even if your son or daughter has been attending the same school for years, be sure to ask administration if there have been any changes over the summer. From a new teacher in your child’s class to a newly built wing that proves to be inaccessible, it’s best to prepare yourself and your little ones ahead of time with this information.

Talk it out
Have a series of conversations with your child regarding the upcoming school year. Explain to them when they will begin lessons, what their schedules will look like, and how you and their teachers will be there to help them along the way. If you help your child understand the importance of an education, the process will be easier for both of you.

Coast Guard Day

Flag of the United States Coast Guard

August 4 is celebrated as Coast Guard Day to honor the establishment on that day in 1790 of the Revenue Cutter Service, forebear of today’s Coast Guard, by the Treasury Department. On that date, Congress, guided by Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, authorized the building of a fleet of ten cutters, whose responsibility would be enforcement of the first tariff laws enacted by Congress under the Constitution.

The Coast Guard has been continuously at sea since its inception, although the name Coast Guard didn’t come about until 1915 when the Revenue Cutter Service was merged with the Lifesaving Service. The Lighthouse Service joined the Coast Guard in 1939, followed in 1946 by the Bureau of Navigation and Steamboat Inspection. Finally, in 1967, after 177 years in the Treasury Department, the Coast Guard was transferred to the newly formed Department of Transportation.

Coast Guard Day is primarily an internal activity for active duty Coast Guard personnel, civilian members, reservists, retirees, auxiliarists, and dependents, but it does have a significant share of interest outside the Service. Grand Haven, Michigan, also known as Coast Guard City, USA, annually sponsors the Coast Guard Festival around August 4. Typically it is the largest community celebration of a branch of the Armed Forces in the nation.

In addition to celebrating their own day every year, Coast Guard members also participate as equal partners in Armed Forces Day activities.

August is SMA Awareness Month

August is SMA Awareness month and families and friends around the country are joining together to help increase awareness—not only of SMA, but also of our hope for a treatment and cure.

What is Spinal Muscular Atrophy?
Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Types I, II, and III belong to a group of hereditary diseases that cause weakness and wasting of the voluntary muscles in the arms and legs of infants and children. The disorders are caused by an abnormal or missing gene known as the survival motor neuron gene 1 (SMN1), which is responsible for the production of a protein essential to motor neurons. Without this protein, lower motor neurons in the spinal cord degenerate and die. The type of SMA (I, II, or III) is determined by the age of onset and the severity of symptoms. Type I (also known as Werdnig-Hoffman disease, or infantile-onset SMA) is evident at birth or within the first few months. Symptoms include floppy limbs and trunk, feeble movements of the arms and legs, swallowing and feeding difficulties, and impaired breathing. Type II (the intermediate form) usually begins 6 and 18 months of age. Legs tend to be more impaired than arms. Children with Type II may able to sit and some may be able to stand or walk with help. Symptoms of Type III (also called Kugelberg-Welander disease) appear between 2 and 17 years of age and include difficulty running, climbing steps, or rising from a chair.  The lower extremities are most often affected.  Complications include scoliosis and chronic shortening of muscles or tendons around joints.

Is there any treatment?
There is no cure for SMA. Treatment consists of managing the symptoms and preventing complications.

What is the prognosis?
The prognosis is poor for babies with SMA Type I. Most die within the first two years. For children with SMA Type II, the prognosis for life expectancy or for independent standing or walking roughly correlates with how old they are when they first begin to experience symptoms – older children tend to have less severe symptoms  Life expectancy is reduced but some individuals live into adolescence or young adulthood.  Individuals with SMA type III may be prone to respiratory infections but with care may have a normal lifespan.

What research is being done?
Between 2003 and 2012, the NINDS piloted the Spinal Muscular Atrophy Project to expedite therapeutics development for this hereditary neurodegenerative disease. The Project was designed to accelerate the research process by identifying drugs that increase the level of SMN protein in cultured cells, so that they could be used as potential leads for further drug discovery and clinical testing. Read more about the history of this pioneering effort and how it led to collaboration with several pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

2nd Annual Bike Day At The Diamond

Bike Day ar the Diamond

For more information please visit the Facebook Page

Project 22 – Promoted by Team RWB Boston

Project 22

Tuesday, July 28 7:30PM – 9:12PM
$14.00 General
at Landmark Kendall Square Cinema
Bldg. 1900 One Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA, US, 02139

For more information on this event please visit the Website

Click here to view the trailers!

The making of Project 22
Project 22 was a 22 day, 6,500 mile motorcycle awareness campaign from San Francisco to New York City to raise awareness of the high rate of suicides within the Veteran community. As we traveled across the country, we spoke with many Veterans who had contemplated or attempted suicide and asked them for their stories; what led them to it and what brought them out of it. The responses regarding the challenges were in remarkable unison although the hope they found came in many different forms. We were able to explore the therapeutic potential behind sailing, pottery, education, activism, family, service dogs, painting and more.

We also spoke with leading researchers of Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress, mental health clinicians and educators, as well as, leading experts in warrior culture and combat stress. Coupled with the insightful and potentially life changing information we captured in interviews, we filmed the motorcycle awareness campaign, including camping, several organized rides and our final ride being escorted into World Trade Center by the Port Authority Police Department. We gathered incredible footage and news coverage in multiple cities, including Pittsburgh and New York.

Project 22 was entirely crowd-funded via an IndieGoGo campaign and private donations. In addition, the crew was offered food, lodging and assistance wherever we rode, helping keep production costs low. Project 22 is fiscally sponsored by From The Heart Productions, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, while Medicinal Missions applies for independent non-profit status. All donations are tax-deductible and are made payable to From The Heart Productions via the PayPal link on our website or by check to: From The Heart Productions 1455 Mandalay Beach Road Oxnard, CA 93035-2845

From The Heart has been successfully funding films since inception in 1993 under the 501(c)3 Internal Revenue Code of 1954. Also classified as a public charity under section 509 (a) (2) of the Code. Monetary donations to the Fiscal Sponsorship Program qualify as charitable contributions under the U.S. Tax Code for 95 444 5418.

The 3rd Annual Vermont Veterans Ride

The 3rd Annual Vermont Veterans Ride

Safety Tips For The 4th of July Weekend!

It’s time for Fourth of July celebrations – fireworks, a backyard barbecue, maybe a trip to the beach. Whatever you have planned, we want you to enjoy the holiday and be safe!

Firework Safety
The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. Stay at least 500 feet away from the show. Many states outlaw most fireworks, but if you plan to set fireworks off at home, you should follow these safety steps:

  • Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  • Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
  • Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
  • Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
  • Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
  • Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

Barbeque Safety
Every year people in this country are injured while using backyard charcoal or gas grills. Follow these steps to safely cook up treats for your backyard barbecue:

  • Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
  • Never grill indoors – not in your house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
  • Make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.
  • Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.
  • Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using grills.

Beach Safety
If your time at the beach you should listen to all the instructions and orders given by lifeguards. Other safety tips include:

  • Keep alert for local weather conditions. Check to see if any warning signs or flags are posted.
  • Swim sober and always swim with a buddy.
  • Have young children and inexperienced swimmers wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • Protect your neck – don’t dive headfirst. Walk carefully into open waters.
  • Protect your feet – the sand can burn them and glass and other sharp objects can cut them.
  • Watch out for aquatic life. Water plants and animals may be dangerous. Avoid patches of plants and leave animals alone.
  • Keep a close eye and constant attention on children and adults while at the beach. Wave action can cause someone to lose their footing, even in shallow water.

Rip currents are responsible for deaths on our nation’s beaches every year, and most of the rescues are performed by lifeguards. Any beach with breaking waves may have rip currents. Be aware of the danger of rip currents and remember the following:

  • If someone is caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until out of the current. Once free, turn and swim toward shore. If that’s not possible swim to the shore, float or tread water until free of the rip current and then head toward the shore.
  • Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist near these structures.

Sun Protection
Limit exposure to direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15. Reapply sunscreen often. Remember to drink plenty of water regularly, even if not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them. Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses that will absorb 100 percent of UV sunlight.

During hot weather, watch for signs of heat stroke—hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing. If it’s suspected someone is suffering from heat stroke:

  • Call 9-1-1 and move the person to a cooler place.
  • Quickly cool the body by applying cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin (or misting it with water) and fanning the person.
  • Watch for signs of breathing problems and make sure the airway is clear. Keep the person lying down.

6th Annual Big Nick’s Ride for the Fallen Memorial Motorcycle Ride

6th Annual Big Nick's Ride for the Fallen Memorial Motorcycle Ride

Accessible Fun Family Summer Activities

Picnics in the park are a great way to have a nice and affordable time with your family. Most parks are also easily accessible for those in wheelchairs, so pack your favorite snacks and just enjoy the amazing weather. Some local parks will have music playing, or community events that the whole family can enjoy—some even welcome dogs so you can enjoy the day with your furry friend.

Why not take a trip to a museum? Not only are most museum entrance fees affordable, but also this idea is a great way for you and your family to discover foreign cultures, classic masterpieces and more of history, while having a great time doing it.

Have a family game night. Who doesn’t love some mildly intense family competition? Find your favorite board games and plan a night in with the family. Great snacks are a definite must for this kind of fun, so make sure you have plenty of finger foods and yummy treats to munch on while you play. If you’re inviting friends or family members over to your home, it’s always a good idea to ask if there are any special dietary needs or food allergies you should know when planning the evening’s menu.

At home science experiments are a fun way to keep kids engaged even while they’re on summer break. It’s been shown that being away from school, kids lose a third of what they learned the previous year. Help them retain their knowledge and go back to school smarter than ever before by doing fun at home experiments and projects.

Horseback riding and/or fishing have also proven to be very therapeutic for folks with disabilities. Both items provide a great opportunity to be outside in a healthy environment.

Volunteering is definitely the least costly and most rewarding way to spend your time this summer. There are tons of different organizations and causes that you can dive into as a family. Pick a cause, assemble your team and give back to your community this summer.

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary: A Proud Tradition, A Worthy Mission

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary - A Proud Tradition, A Worthy Mission

For over 70 years, tens-of-thousands of men and women of the Coast Guard Auxiliary have spent millions of volunteer hours helping the Coast Guard carry out its mission. They have saved countless lives through their work, on and off the water. Auxiliarists are probably best known for educating the public through their boating safety classes and vessel safety checks. Yet, they do much more. The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 1996 allows the Auxiliary to assist the Coast Guard in performance of any Coast Guard function, duty, role, mission or operation authorized by law and authorized by the Commandant.

When the Coast Guard “Reserve” was authorized by act of Congress on June 23, 1939, the Coast Guard was given a legislative mandate to use civilian volunteers to promote safety on and over the high seas and the nation’s navigable waters. The Coast Guard Reserve was then a non-military service comprised of unpaid, volunteer U.S. citizens who owned motorboats or yachts.

Two years later, on Feb. 19, Congress amended the 1939 act with passage of the Auxiliary and Reserve Act of 1941. Passage of this act designated the Reserve as a military branch of the active service, while the civilian volunteers, formerly referred to as the Coast Guard Reserve, became the Auxiliary. So, Feb. 19 is formally recognized as the birth of the Coast Guard Reserve while June 23 is recognized as birthday of the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

For more information please visit the website

3rd Annual Boston Motorcycle Marathon Ride

Boston Motorcycle Marathon RideFor More Information Please Visit the Facebook Page!

35th Annual National Veterans Wheelchair Games

If you’re looking for a summer vacation getaway full of excitement, look no further than the National Veterans Wheelchair Games held this year in Dallas, Texas. Whether you’re taking the whole family to experience these acts of courage and strength, or making a stop on your summer accessible road trip, this event supports and benefits our country’s veterans by encouraging a spirit of healthy activity and friendship.

The History
Since the Games began over 30 years ago in 1981, the event has grown from only 74 competitors to over 500 in 2014. This event is presented each year by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Paralyzed Veterans of America, with additional support from numerous organizations, corporate and community sponsors. Wheelchair sports had their start in the aftermath of World War II, when young disabled Veterans began playing wheelchair basketball in VA hospitals throughout the U.S. Since 1980, when the VA’s efforts brought about an enhanced awareness of the rehabilitative value of wheelchair athletics, VA therapists have used wheelchair sporting as a therapeutic tool for supporting Veterans with disabilities.

The Location
The event has moved from city to city over the years and 2015 marks the 35th annual NVWG. The event is being held in Dallas, a city with much to offer as host, including cultural districts, the best restaurants, hotels and museums for something to do while you’re not at the games. This years games are being held June 21–26, so if you’re looking to turn up the heat this summer, Dallas is the perfect place to be!

The Events
Veterans can compete in 18 different events at the games, including: 9-ball, air rifle, hand cycling, quad rugby, softball, track, table tennis, weightlifting, and many more. Athletes are classified by degree of disability and then further into divisions. Although registration for this years event ended April 15, if you are a U.S. military service veteran who uses a wheelchair due to mobility impairments, be on the lookout early next year to register!

If you aren’t a veteran, or just happened to miss registration but still want to be involved with this event you can always sponsor the games, or volunteer! More than 3,000 local volunteers are required to assist with all aspects of the games, from helping with transportation, to event set-up, water distribution, assistance with meals, and much, much more. Summer time calls for travel and excitement, and what more of a rewarding way to spend your summer days then traveling to Dallas to support our veterans.

Scoliosis Awareness

Scoliosis affects 2-3% of the population, or an estimated 7 million people in the United States, and there is no cure.

Scoliosis impacts infants, adolescents, and adults worldwide with little regard to race or socio-economic status. The primary age of onset for scoliosis is 10-15 years old, occurring equally among both genders. However, females are eight times more likely to progress to a curve magnitude that requires treatment.

Scoliosis can impact the quality of life with limited activity, pain, reduced respiratory function, or diminished self-esteem.

The vast majority of people with this condition are not expected to require treatment. The problem is we do not know who will get it, why they get it, which will progress, or how far they will progress. Each year scoliosis patients make more than 600,000 visits to private physician offices, and an estimated 30,000 children are put into a brace for scoliosis, while 38,000 patients undergo spinal fusion surgery.

Despite physicians trying to treat this spinal deformity for centuries, 85% of the cases are classified as idiopathic. Consequently, a scoliosis patient’s life is exacerbated by many unknowns, and treatments therefore that are often ineffective, invasive, and/or costly. Scoliosis patients also have increased health risks due to frequent x-ray exposure.

Scoliosis is a multifactorial disorder, which requires multidisciplinary research and treatment.

For more information please visit The National Scoliosis Foundation’s website

National Congenital Cytomegalovirus Awareness Month

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common virus that infects people of all ages and is usually harmless to people with a healthy immune system. Most people have been exposed to CMV at some point in their lifetime without realizing it. It is estimated that 50-80% of adults in the United States have been infected with CMV by the time they reach 40 years old. Most infections with CMV are “silent” or asymptomatic, meaning most people who are infected with CMV have no signs or symptoms. Once CMV is in a person’s body, it stays there for life. no signs or symptoms occurs when a pregnant woman is exposed to CMV and the CMV passes from the pregnant woman to her unborn child, causing birth defects and developmental disabilities.

Acquired CMV infection is when a person is infected with CMV after birth, during childhood or adulthood.

Acquired CMV
Most healthy people with an acquired CMV infection will generally have few, if any, symptoms or complications from the infection. Because infections among healthy persons are common and typically asymptomatic, efforts to prevent transmission among healthy children and adults are not necessary.

At-Risk Populations
CMV can cause serious problems for people with weakened immune systems (immunocompromised) due to organ transplants, HIV/AIDS infection, chemotherapy, and medications such as glucocorticoids, cytostatics, antibodies, drugs acting on immunophilins, as well as other drugs.

In children and adults with organ transplants, CMV infections are linked with rejection or malfunction of the transplant.

In immunocompromised people, CMV can attack specific organs. Types and symptoms of CMV infections include, but are not exclusive/limited to:

  • Esophagus (CMV esophagitis)
  • Stomach or intestines (CMV gastroenteritis) – Diarrhea, swallowing difficulties or pain, and ulcerations with bleeding
  • Eye (CMV retinitis) – Blindness, floaters in the eye, and visual impairment
  • Lung (CMV pneumonia) – Pneumonia with impaired oxygen uptake (hypoxia)
  • Brain – Coma, encephalitis with behavioral changes, and seizures

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness

In order to bring greater awareness to the issue of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the United States Senate designated June 27th as National PTSD Awareness Day. In addition, June has been designated as PTSD Awareness Month by the National Center for PTSD (NCPTSD).

PTSD is an anxiety disorder resulting from exposure to a single traumatic event or multiple traumatic events, such as sexual or physical assault, natural or man-made disaster, and war-related combat stress. Symptoms of PTSD include persistent intrusive thoughts and distressing dreams about the traumatic event, triggered emotional responses to reminders of the trauma, efforts to avoid thinking or talking about the trauma, and persistent hyper-vigilance for cues that  indicate additional danger or trauma re-occurring.

  • An estimated 70 percent of adults in the United States have experienced a traumatic event at least once in their lives and up to 20 percent of these people go on to develop posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
  • An estimated 5 percent of Americans—more than 13 million people—have PTSD at any given time.
  • Approximately 8 percent of all adults—1 of 13 people in this country—will develop PTSD during their lifetime.
  • An estimated 1 out of 10 women will get PTSD at some time in their lives. Women are about twice as likely as men to develop PTSD.

Summer Travel Guide: Booking Accessible Lodging

Longer, sun-filled days mean you may be in the midst of finalizing arrangements for summer vacation plans. While accessible travel options have seen major upgrades in the past few years with new aircraft regulations and increased accessible vehicle availability, travelers with disabilities are still often faced with difficulties when it comes to accessible lodging. Inaccurate descriptions and miscommunications are the leading causes of issues upon arrival. If you want to ensure your vacation plans go off without a hitch, be sure to take extra measures and follow these booking tips.

  • When booking a hotel room or other type of lodging, be advised that ‘Accessible’ or ‘ADA Compliant’ rooms may not meet your specific needs. The features that constitute these designations may vary across the country and around the world.
  • Before committing to a hotel, cruise, resort, etc., be sure to speak directly to a representative at the actual location. Whether it’s via phone or email, you’ll need to describe your exact needs when it comes to accessibility and a person who is familiar with the establishment will be your best bet as far as accurate answers go.
  • Ask reservation agents to take pictures of their accessible accommodations. With the widespread use of smartphones and tablets, this has become a pretty simple request, and one that can make a huge impact on your vacation.
  • Making a reservation at a hotel does not guarantee you a specific room, but rather locks you in at the chosen rate. In order to be absolutely certain that your accessible room will be ready for you, you’ll need to ask the booking agent to ‘block’ it.
  • If in doubt, ask for measurements. A floor plan of the room, door widths, bed height, etc. can all be excellent tools in helping you determine if the accommodations will meet your needs.
  • Some hotels pools offer a zero-depth entrance or pool lifts, finding out in advance is helpful for planning purposes.
  • If you are having a hard time getting straight answers from the person you are speaking to, don’t hesitate to take your business elsewhere. There are usually a number of available options when it comes to lodging at any destination and you’ll likely be better off choosing a location that is willing to work with you.

Accessibility when it comes to overnight accommodations shouldn’t stop you from having the trip you deserve. Following these tips when booking your rooms or rentals can help make sure your next vacation is one you’ll be bragging to your friends about.

Veterans Assisting Veterans Comedy Night

Veterans Assisting Veterans Comedy Night

Friday May 29 at 7:00
VFW Mottolo Post in Revere
10 Garafolo Street Revere, MA

Check out the Facebook Page and join them for a great night of comedy, Pork Roast Dinner and good times to help raise funds towards two truck mounted AmeriDeck lifts. These are needed to aid in the use of Track Chairs for a couple wounded vets. We also hope to promote and raise awareness of what Veterans Assisting Veterans does and is all about. Donation of $20.00 per person collected at the door.

Memorial Day Parade! Help Surprise Veterans!

Memorial Day Parade! Help Surprise The Veterans!

When
Memorial Day – Monday, May 25
At 10:00am in Athol, Massachusetts

“Please show your support to our veterans, the parade starts at Silver Lake cemetery, and they follow Crescent st ” the same road Staretts is on ” All the way down to the Veterans monument, across from the YMCA ” Next to the bus stop! We all have the day off from work/school, why not show your support? These men and women are more than deserving of it. The best part is, these veterans are not expecting this, they are in for a huge surprise!”

For more information please visit the Facebook Page

Accessible Preparations for Memorial Day

Hosting a Memorial Day Party is the perfect way to kick off your summer adventures, and here are some tips on how to make sure your gathering is accessible and fun for all!

Choose Your Location
To ensure all of your guests are able to easily maneuver around your party and its surroundings, make certain there are ramps, lifts or unobstructed entryways available for guests in wheelchairs. Another thing to consider is parking. If some of your guests will be arriving in wheelchair accessible vans, they might need a little bit of extra room to deploy a lift or ramp.

You can host an accessible Memorial Day party if your home or apartment is less than wheelchair-friendly. Local parks often rent out pavilions or picnic areas for gatherings, and these areas often boast open spaces and paved paths, making them a great bet for guests in wheelchairs.

Perfect Your Spread
From grilling up veggies and even fresh fruits, to stocking up on refreshing drinks to beat the summer heat, making sure you’re serving up tasty treats is perhaps the most important part of throwing a great, memorable party. When planning your party’s spread, always take into consideration any possible allergies or food restrictions your guests might have. If you’re sending out invites, it might be a good idea to ask guests of any food requirements right on the invitation, so you’ll be armed with the right information when it comes time to shop and prep.

Don’t Forget the Entertainment
Every good party needs some entertainment. That doesn’t mean you have to go out and hire a full band though—making your own fun is easy! You could set out the board games for some old school fun or create a dance floor on your deck or living room with plenty of room. Start a game of trivia, charades or bingo, you could even break out the karaoke machine and make some hilarious and potentially embarrassing memories.

Memorial Day is a day for honoring and remembering all of the brave men and women who served (and continue to serve) in our country’s Armed Forces. As such, if you have a disabled veteran attending your party, think of ways that you can honor him/her in some special way.

Have You Voted For Your Local Hero?

Click here to view the stories and submit your vote!

What is the Local Heroes Contest?
This is the 4th annual National Mobility Awareness Month. During this month NMEDA has an amazing promotion where they encourage people with disAbilities to embody the spirit of Life Moving Forward by raising awareness of the many life-changing mobility vehicle solutions available today.

NMEDA and their members are mobility advocates dedicated to changing the lives of those living with disAbilities by providing access to quality handicap accessible vehicles and adaptive equipment. Whether you are living with a disAbility or have dedicated your time to helping someone who is, they want to hear your story of perseverance and strength.

For your chance to win a FREE wheelchair accessible vehicle enter NMEDA’s contest by telling them what makes you (or your loved one) a Local Hero!

This year they will be giving away 4 handicap accessible vehicles:

  • one to a caregiver
  • one to a senior (60+)
  • one that is battery powered (for in-town driving only)
  • one in the general category.

Over 18 million people in North America are living with restrictive mobility issues. This is your chance to change the lives of just a few of those triumphing in the face of adversity.

The 5th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Run Is Today! Come Say Hi!

Bosotn Wpunded Vet Run 2015

What
Motorcycle Ride and Concert
Ceremony – Food – Music By TigerLily Band
Beer Tent – Vendors -Raffle Items – Stunt Show

Motorcycle NOT REQUIRED TO PARTICIPATE -Everyone Welcome
Those who do not ride can join us at Suffolk Downs to welcome Veterans and Bikers!

Purpose
To support four of New England’s most severely wounded Veterans:
SSG Nick Lavery
SGT Brendan Ferreira
SSG Travis Mills
SSG Mike Downing
All donations directly benefit these wounded Veterans and charities of their choosing.

When
Saturday, May 9, 2015
Rain date: May 16, 2015
Registration begins at 9am.
Kickstands up 12pm

Where
Begins at:
Boston Harley-Davidson
650 Squire Road, Revere, Ma

Ends at:
Suffolk Downs Race Track
550 McClellan Hwy East Boston

Cost
$20 per rider
10$ passenger
$20 Walk-ins

Donate Here!!
Donations can be made out to ‘Boston’s Wounded Veterans’ and sent to:
60 Paris Street
East Boston, MA 02128

Call with any questions: (617) 697-5080

Boston’s 5th Annual Wounded Vet Run Is Tomorrow!!

Boston's 5th Annual Wounded Vet Run - 2015

What
Motorcycle Ride and Concert
Ceremony – Food – Music By TigerLily Band
Beer Tent – Vendors -Raffle Items – Stunt Show

Motorcycle NOT REQUIRED TO PARTICIPATE -Everyone Welcome
Those who do not ride can join us at Suffolk Downs to welcome Veterans and Bikers!

Purpose
To support four of New England’s most severely wounded Veterans:
SSG Nick Lavery
SGT Brendan Ferreira
SSG Travis Mills
SSG Mike Downing
All donations directly benefit these wounded Veterans and charities of their choosing.

When
Saturday, May 9, 2015
Rain date: May 16, 2015
Registration begins at 9am.
Kickstands up 12pm

Where
Begins at:
Boston Harley-Davidson
650 Squire Road, Revere, Ma

Ends at:
Suffolk Downs Race Track
550 McClellan Hwy East Boston

Cost
$20 per rider
10$ passenger
$20 Walk-ins

Donate Here!!
Donations can be made out to ‘Boston’s Wounded Veterans’ and sent to:
60 Paris Street
East Boston, MA 02128

Call with any questions: (617) 697-5080

Motorcycle Awareness MonthMay is Motorcycle Awareness Month.
Share The Road.