TAMPA, Fla., Feb. 7, 2012 /CNW/ - Mike Savicki, a quadriplegic triathlete, has been named spokesperson for National Mobility Awareness Month, the new May celebration encouraging people with disabilities to live active, mobile lifestyles. The goal is to develop awareness for Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles as well as the many other transportation solutions that can improve the quality of life for veterans, seniors and those with disabilities. Savicki is a proud partner along with such sponsors as the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA), Toyota, SanTan Honda Superstore in Chandler, Ariz. and Chrysler LLC.
Savicki, who is a freelance sports journalist, disability advocate and small business entrepreneur, sustained a C6, 7 spinal cord injury in 1990 from a dive into the waters of Pensacola Beach, Fla., while in flight school to become an F-14 pilot. Since the injury, he's won 69 gold medals in the National Veterans Wheelchair Games, the largest annual wheelchair sports competition in the world and has become the only person to finish the Boston Marathon both on foot and in a wheelchair, a race he has completed 18 times since 1990.
"Sure, I knew there would be challenges after my accident, but it never stopped me from pursuing my passions. I got involved with this awareness project because I've been celebrating mobility for the greater part of my life, and I wish the world would join me, even if only for a month," said Savicki.
Beginning this May, National Mobility Awareness Month will be an annual, month-long celebration in the U.S. and Canada encouraging the 18 million people who are struggling with or overcoming mobility challenges to share their stories. Both written and videotaped submissions will be accepted on the National Mobility Awareness Month website from March 18-May 13. The voting period is open to the public April 1-May 13 that will help determine the top winners, who will receive a new Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle on national television, customized to fit their specific needs. Toyota has donated a 2012 Sienna Minivan to the cause, SanTan Honda has donated a Honda Odyssey and Chrysler LLC donated a 2012 Town & Country Minivan. In addition, van conversion companies such as Braun Corporation, Vantage Mobility International and Bruno Independent Living Aids, will be contributing lowered floor conversion and specialized equipment to the cause.
"The first time I got behind the wheel of my new van, a feeling of freedom and liberation came over me. It was as if my disability was just stripped away. I felt free again. I was free again. I could explore, travel and live on my own all over again. That van gave me mobility, and it gave me the self-confidence I never thought I'd experience again," said Savicki.
About National Mobility Awareness Month:
National Mobility Awareness Month is the inaugural May celebration encouraging people with disabilities to enjoy active, mobile lifestyles. Founded in 1989 as a non-profit trade association, The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association sponsors the awareness month with the assistance of more than 600 mobility equipment dealers, manufacturers and driver rehabilitation specialists dedicated to expanding opportunities for people with disabilities. For updates on the awareness month and Local Heroes overcoming mobility issues, please visit NMEDA's Facebook, Twitter or website.
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SOURCE National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association
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