PushNationFest.org | Push Nation Festival: People getting together in the paralysis community
Push Nation Fest is an event designed to bring the paralysis community together in one place, focused on pushing each other to learn, dream and achieve more than ever before. Featuring groundbreaking technology, captivating entertainment and hands-on workshops.
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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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Celebrate September as Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month

In a mere 48 minutes, someone in the United States sustains a spinal cord injury (SCI) and becomes part of the millions worldwide living with paralysis. The month of September is acknowledged as SCI Awareness Month in which, foundations, companies, and families throughout the country make a moves to promote awareness.

The Triumph Foundation in California has begun a viral hashtag campaign to help celebrate. The foundation is encouraging SCI survivors to post pictures of them doing things outside their wheelchair using the hashtag #morethanjustmychair – slaying the assumption that the paralysis population is confined to wheelchairs.

Tighten the Drag Foundation in Florida is hosting their 4th Annual Fall Inshore Slam benefiting spinal cord injury recovery rehabilitation. The tournament is open to everyone and 100% of the proceeds go towards the cause. The event is Saturday, September 26th, 2015.

That same weekend, Virginia G. Piper Sports and Fitness Center for Persons with Disabilities (SpoFit) is hosting an awareness event in Arizona. That morning, participants can meet local non-profits that serve the SCI community while experiencing demos and delicious food.  The entire Arizona community is invited to Phoenix to be a part of I Roll, You Walk…Together We Live.

New York’s Disability Opportunity Fund is celebrating the ADA’s 25th anniversary with keynote speakers and open discussions. Join them on September 17th in Mellville for deeper level conversations about disability rights.

Although there are countless events taking place nationwide, you don’t have to travel to make an impact in SCI awareness. With organizations like The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, you can make a donation in honor of a loved one, caregiver, scientist or organization who is working to improve the lives of those injured.  You can also spread the message by changing your Facebook profile picture to the SCI support ribbon or tweeting and inviting friends to get involved in the discussion.

Nick Buoniconti of the Buoniconti Fund once said: “Paralysis does not discriminate.  People need to realize that paralysis can happen to anyone at any time. But the reality of today’s statistics can’t be disputed.  Every 48 minutes another person in the U.S. will become paralyzed. That is simply unacceptable. Each of us must do what we can to make a difference.  I am personally asking you, will you stand up for those who can’t and do one or more of the following?”

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Uber Black Car Taxi

Uber and Accessibility: Whats next for the disability community?

Uber and Accessibility: Whats next for the disability community?

Uber has recently been under fire for its services’ lack of user-friendliness after a collection of wheelchair users were poorly treated by the taxi service. With the ADA reaching its 25th anniversary this year, most trades have gotten up to speed with accessibility. However, the transportation industry has been one of the slowest to convert.  Under the ADA, all transportation providers are required to accommodate wheelchairs if the equipment can be stowed in the vehicle. Drivers must also accommodate passengers with service animals such as guide dogs.

Uber is currently in settlement negotiations in a suit brought by the National Federation of the Blind in California last September. It mentions 40 cases in which UberX drivers refused to offer their services to people with animal aides. Unfortunately, this is just one of many reported issues.

These recent law suits have gone after Uber’s inability to oblige all disabilities despite its company policy “to accommodate all users.” The company rebuttled by claiming that because it’s a technology company, the ADA transport rules don’t apply. The ride sharing applications like Uber, Lyft, and SideCar consider themselves Transportation Network Companies, which places them in a gray area when defining the federal regulations they must abide by.

Despite the recent bad press, Uber has been actively working towards accessibility for all. The company has recently developed UberWAV and UberASSIST. But these programs are still in their very early stages.  UberWav partners with wheelchair accessible city taxis to be available upon request, but users don’t get that “nice black car” experience. UberAssist was developed to request specially trained drivers for seniors and disabilities. However, Uber Assist excludes wheelchairs and animal aides. These programs are new developments across the nation and are currently offered in five US cities including San Francisco and New York. It’s still to be determined whether it will spread to other cities.

According to the Daily News New York – Uber NYC has about 20,000 cars in their fleet and none are considered wheelchair accessible. With the company valued at over $14 billion, it’s a worthwhile investment to purchase some wheelchair accessible vehicles. According to the New York Daily News, ,James Weisman, president of United Spinal Association, said Uber has the money and capacity to get accessible cars on the road. He proposed that Uber give drivers financial incentives to buy wheelchair-accessible cars.

Uber Disability Policy

For now, Uber offers voluntary training where drivers are told they must serve customers with wheelchairs or guide dogs. Uber’s Code of Conduct notes that violating laws pertaining to transporting disabled riders “constitutes a breach of the parties’ licensing agreement.” An Uber spokesperson says that reported discrimination typically ends with a driver’s suspension or deactivation.

Until the courts settle whether Uber is a software company or transportation company, the disability community will just have to be patient and try to work with Uber. For now, it seems the company has a long way to go in order to make its transportation network fully accessible. We at Push Nation Fest hope for the best resolution.

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HighTops

When PUSH Comes to LIVE

The people at Push Living don’t let the limitations of a wheelchair stop them from traveling the world.  The organization is dedicated to being the leading light for people with disabilities exploring tourism, leisure, and lifestyle mediums.

Committed to making the world “accessible to all”, Push Living is taking the steps to create change. They are doing so by educating and enlightening the public to transform their preconceived beliefs of what people with disabilities can and cannot do.

Who’s the voice behind Push Living?

The voice behind Push Living is Deborah Davis, a sales and marketing, training, educating, advocacy, mentoring and public speaking extraordinaire. She is making her mark through her efforts to raise awareness for those living with disabilities.

In addition to being an accomplished business woman and world traveler, she’s a loved wife and mother of two girls. Deborah is an inspirational individual who, despite her obstacles, has defied expectations.  Deborah sustained a C6/7 spinal cord injury during a car accident at age 18 that rendered her an incomplete quadriplegic.

However, she didn’t let that stop her. Over the course of her adult life, Deborah has done it all. She’s obtained professional roles specializing in medical equipment and supplies sales and marketing. She’s been professional fundraiser for Not for Profits in addition to her positions as  Director of Development and Public Relations and Executive Director for Abilities of Florida.

Davis has been appointed into several professional organizations including being elected to the Brain & Spinal Cord Injury Board for the State of Florida, serving as President of the Business Coalition for Americans with Disabilities, being a Board Member and VP of the Florida Rehabilitation Association, and participating as a member of The National Society of Fund Raising Executives.

Deborah shares her story all over the country and her expertise in accessible tourism and inclusion. She hopes to spread disability awareness, education, and inspiration. Recently, Deborah was the Keynote Speaker for the 2014 Michigan POHI/SXI Conference.

So what do Deborah and Push Living have to say these days?

It’s an issue that many overlook: What do you do when you go to a restaurant or bar that only has stools and high-tops? What was meant to be a relaxing happy hour with co-workers has become an evening of awkward neck pain for those in wheelchairs. The ADA was adopted for this exact situation.

This is where the #DroptheHIGHTOPS Campaign comes into play. A movement focused on bringing awareness to the hospitality industry about those pesky high tops. The campaign encourages businesses to drop some of those high tops to make everyone feel accommodated and comfortable. To be a part of the cause, send photos to Push Living of your experiences with high tops and how it has affected you. #DropTheHighTops will then with then post the photos to their “Hall of Shame.” Find out more about the campaign here.

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The Power of Adaptive Sports

Did you know that adaptive sports were created in 1948 by Dr. Ludwig Guttman as a rehabilitation method for spinal cord injured patients in England?  Dr. Ludwig’s works eventually lead to the creation of the International Stoke Mandeville Games, a competition for athletes with SCI, and later the first wheelchair Olympics in 1960. These developments have opened doors to the disability community – especially those with SCI.

According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center there are 12,500 new cases of SCI in the U.S. every year. As of 2014, between 240,000-337,000 people are subject to this catastrophic injury. 52% of these survivors are paraplegics while 47% are quadriplegics. An SCI does not just affect an individual physiologically. This type of injury also affects one’s emotional, psychological and spiritual well-being. This article explores the effects of adaptive sports on one’s quality of life.

A study conducted by Lundberg showed that the participation in adaptive sports and recreational activities helps reduce negative mood states and aids stress reduction. This is especially important as SCI individuals with acquired disabilities experience higher rates of negative mood than individuals without disabilities. Providing a sense of competence and vigor, adaptive sports promote social activity and redevelopment skills that are crucial to the recovery of a catastrophic injury. The change in mindset that can result from participating in activities previously thought out of reach or unimaginable is incredible.

In regard to physical health, athletics appear to decrease morbidity in several areas including incidence of urinary tract and respiratory infections, severe spasticity and decubitus ulcers.

With the advancement of technology and increased participation, there is a wide variety of sports SCI patients can participate in. Here are just a few options here in Florida:

 

SCI survivors like Paralympic competitor Oz Sanchez or basketball player Alana Nichols are certainly making their mark in the adaptive athletic world and there have been some amazing milestones. For example, Pete Reiki became a complete paraplegic when he was involved in a rock climbing accident. He vowed he would climb again – and he did! In 1999, he successfully reached the summit of Mount Rainier independently.

It is incredibly encouraging and inspiration to see athletes like Reiki going out there and accomplishing their goals. If you’re interested in athletics and haven’t yet taken the steps to participate, we encourage you to follow your dreams!

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Push Nation April 2016 Festival

Welcome to Push Nation’s website GRAND OPENING! We are incredibly overwhelmed to be live, and here with all of you! This event is a vision we’ve all had in our minds for a few years now, so to finally bring it to life and be able to speak and say hello, we’re here to change everything you think about the paralysis community– is EPIC.

 

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Welcome!

Welcome to Push Nation’s website GRAND OPENING! We are incredibly overwhelmed to be live, and here with all of you! This event is a vision we’ve all had in our minds for a few years now, so to finally bring it to life and be able to speak and say hello, we’re here to change everything you think about the paralysis community– is EPIC.

 

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Push Nation Fest Launch!

Welcome to Push Nation’s website GRAND OPENING! We are incredibly overwhelmed to be live, and here with all of you! This event is a vision we’ve all had in our minds for a few years now, so to finally bring it to life and be able to speak and say hello, we’re here to change everything you think about the paralysis community– is EPIC.

 

 

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