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On the Blog

mindy

Mindy Scheier of Runway of Dreams Slated to Deliver Keynote Address

We are pleased to share that Mindy Scheier, the founder of Runway of Dreams, will be delivering the keynote address during Push Nation Fest2016.

Mindy’s son was born with Rigid Spine Muscular Dystrophy causing clothing challenges due to muscle weakness. A fashion industry professional herself, Mindy decided to create Runway of Dreams – the first 501C3 non-profit organization to develop an adaptive version of existing apparel.

Runway of Dreams aims to be the authority on incorporating modifications to fashionable and affordable clothing for children and teens with physical disabilities, changing the landscape of fashion as being inclusive for everyone.  Runway of Dreams empowers children to embrace and celebrate their differences through an adaptive clothing line. The organization, collaborates with partners in the fashion industry to develop, modify and adapt existing mainstream lines.

In addition to her keynote address, Mindy will also be hosting a Runway of Dreams Fashion show. The show will feature the latest in fashionable and affordable adaptive clothing during the Runway of Dreams Fashion Show!

Be sure to check out our schedule page to learn when these and all of our other Push Nation Fest events are taking place.

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Jennifer Adams

Push Nation Fest Welcomes Former Ms. Wheelchair America 2014 to the Women’s Panel

We are pleased to share that Jennifer Adams, former Ms. Wheelchair America 2014, will join the Push Nation Fest Women’s Panel alongside Tiffiny Carlson, Melinda Wheatley and Gaby Camargo.

Jennifer will add a powerful dynamic to the panel. She was born with partial limbs and throughout her life she has struggled with the limitations that come with her extra-ability. She does not consider her struggles a burden, but instead a gift, for she has had the privilege to learn that beyond our limitations is fulfilment and life’s purpose. Jennifer brings a message of overcoming life’s adversities through her personal story and life experience, that is relevant and inspiring to all people.

Be sure to stop by the Women’s Panel to gain insight from these women on topics including  careers, motherhood, marriage, sexuality, health, fitness, fashion beauty and so much more.

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flyease

Nike Zoom Flyease Making a Mark for Disability Independence

When we heard about the release the new Nike Zoom Soldier 8 Flyease, we we’re beyond excited. One small movement in a very big hurdle for accessible living.

It took one teenager to get Nike’s attention and motivate the company to make a change. Matthew Walzer, who was born with cerebral palsy, wrote a #NikeLetter expressing his frustrations with putting on a sneaker.

“My dream is to go to the college of my choice without having to worry about someone coming to tie my shoes every day. I’ve worn Nike basketball shoes all my life. I can only wear this type of shoe, because I need ankle support to walk. At 16 years old, I am able to completely dress myself, but my parents still have to tie my shoes. As a teenager who is striving to become totally self-sufficient, I find this extremely frustrating and, at times, embarrassing.”

Since then, the company has revolutionized shoe technology with the new LeBron Flyease. The already popular basketball sneaker has new flair with a special wrap-around zipper system, thus assisting thousands of people who need help tying their shoes. The shoe still provides the stability expected of a typical high-top shoe but now wearers can literally peel back the heel of the shoe with ease and slip their foot in (and no laces to tie). – something that can drastically improve a person’s quality of life.

Nike actually began development of the new zipper system seven years ago when an employee, Jeff Johnson suffered a stroke and limited his right side mobility. Walzer’s letter inspired the Nike innovation team to pursue the challenge again: A shoe specialized to the disabled public.  The shoe was finally released on July 16th 2015 to.  Tobie Hatfield, the company’s senior director of athlete innovation lead the project. Hatfield says. “It’s not going to be perfect, but we will learn a lot from it and continue to make improvements.”

Regardless of the outcome, the new shoe will aid in a new level of independence for people with disabilities.

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BN

Push Nation Fest Welcomes Adaptive Yoga Specialist Barbara Newborn

Barbara Newborn was only 21 when she sustained a devastating stroke. A blocked blood vessel cut off oxygen to her brain and destroying cells that could never be replaced. The stroke resulted in complete paralysis of the right side of her body and loss of language skills. She once said: “I entered this strange world by myself; I couldn’t understand anybody or talk to anybody. I didn’t have my physical voice.”

As a bright, aspiring English educator; the accident took her teaching career down a different path and changed her life forever. Newborn had to begin learning simple tasks like holding a pencil or brushing her hair. She started using flash cards to rehabilitate her language skills.  Over the course of 10 years her life took an unexpected and inspirational turn: Newborn fell in love with the art of yoga.

With an emphasis on breathing and relaxation, while pushing your body to the limits – she realized the power it had to transform. She believed that yoga can help those with disabilities improve spirit, mind, and body just like it did for her. After taking several study trips to India, Barbara became a yoga instructor and developed programs based on her client’s circumstances. She helps make the impossible, possible – through movement, breathing, and meditation.

What her philosophy? That through yoga, you can learn to be well again, spiritually and mentally, “and that’s when you start to heal physically.”

Barbara now has two masters’ degrees in rehabilitation and speech. She’s a published writer who created, Return to Ithaca, a memoir to her inspirational recovery. Over the years, went to India many times to work individually with AG Mohan in Yoga Therapy.

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She now owns two studios with her husband in South Tampa and Gulfport, Florida called Gardens of Yoga. Now, Push Nation Fest is excited to welcome Barbara Newborn and her wide array of vinyasas, sun salutations, and mediation exercises to the many vendors a part of the event.

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What is the ABLE act and How it Affects You

When something catastrophic happens to you or a loved one, it can be easy to forget the other crucial aspects of your life. We’re so busy figuring out how to adjust and continue our lives with the injury that we often don’t think about how it will affect other areas. Unfortunately, health insurance coverage is one of the most important aspects one must figure out – which is where the ABLE Act comes in to play.  In an effort to not bore you with legal lingo, I’ll be brief in why the ABLE Act and current legislation impacts your life.

So you have all these living expense, medical bills, and caregiver invoices – what do you do? With the expectation for care to continue you have to start saving. But until recently – having a substantial amount of assets in your bank account left you absent of government assistance.  Until the ABLE ACT: Achieving Better Life Experience. This new disability-friendly legislation allows families to live a more fulfilled and established lifestyle by opening a tax-deductible savings account.

There are millions of individuals that depend on a wide variety of government programs for assistance. But eligibility for most of these programs limits savings to only being $2000 before you get cut off.   The ABLE Act allows for persons with disabilities to establish separate accounts where they can store money for general life expenses such as medical, dental, education, special training, assistive technology, housing, transport, and much more. It operates much like a flexible savings account that most households have for college tuition or retirement.

The new act was signed by both the House of Representatives and President Obama late this past December and applications will begin in the later part of 2015. In order to prove eligibility, you must project costs/needs and savings goals.  Now that the act has passed, the department of Treasury will begin to develop regulations that will guide states into regulating their own ABLE program.

If you’re interested in finding out more, click here.

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tiffiny

Push Nation Festival Welcomes Tiffiny Carlson as a Speaker in 2016

The folks here at Push Nation Fest are excited to announce that the fabulous Tiffiny Carlson will participate as a speaker at the inaugural Push Nation Festival taking place on April 22-23 2016 at the Tampa Convention Center.  An accomplished writer, Tiffiny will provide a powerful perspective on living with a spinal cord injury.

Tiffiny sustained a C5-6 incomplete spinal cord injury from a diving accident when she was 14 years old. In true survivor fashion, Tiffiny committed to intensive rehabilitation and returned to high school. Soon after graduation, she founded her website Beautyability.com in an effort to reach out to women with spinal cord injuries and encourage hope within the community.

It took no time for Tiffiny and other women with spinal cord injuries to connect. The realization that she could have a fulfilling life motivated Tiffiny to dedicate herself to spreading that message.  She became the SCI Life columnist for New Mobility Magazine (the largest disability print magazine in the US) and started her longtime disability podcast, No Free Rides, to spread the message throughout the nation.

Tiffiny doesn’t stop there. You can find her writing in dozens of online and print media. She has become an influential voice for disability and sexuality in publications like The Huffington Post, Penthouse, Playgirl, easystand.com, and Nerve.com. Additionally, Tiffiny spends her days as the Executive Director at a nonprofit committed to aiding those with new spinal cord injuries via a massive SCI video database called

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Tiffany’s enthusiasm, encouragement, and drive is sure to make an impact at this year’s festival. We look forward to having this blogging, cooking, adaptive yoga-ing, fashionista inspire us all at Push Nation Fest 2016

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