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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How Orthotronics Can Help You Walk Again

For those who have suffered life altering injuries leaving their legs paralyzed or with limited mobility, the dream of leaving your wheelchair might now be possible! The C-Brace is the world’s first electronic knee joint orthosis system with hydraulic stance and swing phase control that attaches to your leg and allows the wearer to walk. Yep, you read that right.

According to Ottobocks, the makers of the brace, the orthotronic mobility system supports the user while walking and is able to recognize different leg movements. The brace is made up of a foot component, a spring element, lower leg shell and a thigh shell, the knee angle sensor, control buttons, the battery and microprocessor to receive sensor signal.

See, what makes the C-Brace revolutionary is its Stance and Swing Phase Control Orthosis (SSCO) that works together with the microprocessor. When you swing your leg forward with the brace on, the microprocessor measures your joint movement every .02 seconds which allows the brace to respond and regulate the required support for any movement immediately thus moving your legs to walk.

This brace is helping people get back on their feet again and Ottobocks has a dedicated success stories blog on their website. Stacey Kozel is one of the many who has experienced her newly found freedom and taking it one step further. She’s started a path towards increasing awareness for the C-Brace by hiking the 2,190 mile Appalachian Trail while wearing the brace. Her story has been covered from well-known media outlets like CNN and NBC to the Washington Post and the Huffington Post! With a price tag of $75,000 a brace, Stacey knew she couldn’t afford it and reached out to her insurance for help. But it took her a year of insurance denials and appeals until the braces were no longer seen as unnecessary and was able to received braces for both legs, she told the Washington Post. She hopes that those that qualify for the C-Brace that don’t know they exist or get an insurance denial will be more informed and encouraged to not give up towards the dream of walking again.

There is a small catch to this brace though. In order for the C-Brace to be effective you must be able to swing your leg from your hip and like all medical devices you have to work with you doctor or orthoptist to see if you are a candidate. It’s important to fully understand how the brace works and practice with it due to the learning curve. The great news is that if you are a candidate your insurance may be able to help you cover the cost and the C-Brace Reimbursement team is always happy to work closely with each individual. For more information about the C-Brace, visit www.ottobockus.com/c-brace.html







Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Infographic

There’s a lot to know about spinal cord injuries (SCI) and we’d like to share a few key facts about SCI in the United States. Take a look at our infographic above to learn some new and updated information about SCI within the past years.


Meet Our Sponsors: United Spinal Association

We are proud to welcome the United Spinal Association as a sponsor of Push Nation Fest 2016! United Spinal Association is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life of all people living with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D), including veterans, and providing support and information to loved ones, care providers and professionals. Since 1946, their goal has been to offer people living with SCI/D programs and services that maximize their independence and enable them to remain active in their communities. They believe no person should be excluded from opportunity on the basis of their disability.

Stop by their booth at Push Nation Fest on April 22nd & 23rd to meet the people behind United Spinal Association and find out more about what they can do!


Get moving with adaptive sports at Push Nation Fest!

Ever wondered what it’s like to try an adaptive sport? Well this might be your chance! Push Nation Fest is glad to welcome various adaptive athletes to show their talent and even teach attendees a thing or two.

Arielle Rausin, or “Racin Rausin”, is all about racing (in case you couldn’t tell). Atfer she was paralyzed in a car accident at the age of ten her mother, K. D. Rausin, taught her to chase her dreams, wheelchair or no wheelchair, and that her strength comes from within. In seventh grade, Arielle completed her first 5k with her school track team. When she wanted to continue racing for her high school team, she was told she wasn’t allowed due to her condition.

At that time, the Florida High School Athletic Association did not recognize adaptive sports, but that didn’t stop Arielle from chasing her dreams of racing. Arielle advocated for herself and with the help of the community, Loretta Purish and Lew Friedland, the FHSAA developed an adaptive track program in 2010 for high school athletes across Florida. Arielle is now a student athlete at the University of Illinois with the wheelchair racing team.

Don’t miss this courageous racer’s knowledge! She’ll be providing attendees with the ins and outs of wheelchair track racing.





Exciting news for the Camargo Family and Stay In Step!

Wheels for Warriors, will be donating a Dodge Power Master Work Van to the Camargo family and Stay In Step Spinal Cord Injury Recovery Center, April 23 at the Push Nation Fest. It’s such a great honor to have such amazing organizations come together for a great cause at our event!

­Wheels for Warriors­ is a program through Operation Support Our Troops, Inc. that strives to provide wounded soldiers and their families with adaptive vehicles. Since it was founded in 2006, Wheels for Warriors has presented 33 adaptive vehicles to wounded soldiers.

Wheel for Warriors won’t be the only one with adaptive vehicles at our event. The Mobility Van Store will also be showcasing a few of their adaptive vehicles throughout the Push Nation Fest weekend. So don’t forget to stop by and take a look!

Stay In Steps’ Journey

Rumolo “Romy” Camargo was in the Special Forces touring Afghanistan when he was injured; a bullet hit the back of his neck and left him paralyzed from the neck down in 2008. Despite the doctors’ expectations and his battle to live, Romy was able to make an impressive recovery. When he returned home, he became unstoppable. He didn’t let his paralysis stop him from raising money for charities, delivering inspirational speeches, and even traveling to Project Walk in Orlando for therapy throughout the week. With the support and help of his wife Gaby Camargo, now Founder and Director of Stay In Step, they envisioned a facility that was more accessible for them and others like them in Tampa. “A center that you can go and guarantee your rehab and at the same time giving the same opportunity to the rest of the community living with spinal cord injury.” Gaby remembers saying.

On June 20th 2015, Stay In Step Spinal Cord Injury Recovery Center opened its doors to military and civilian SCI patients thanks to the donation from Toyota Motor North America. The non-profit recovery center provides state of the art recovery equipment to SCI patients in the Tampa, FL community and surrounding areas. Stay In Step has also received generous donations from Haley VA Medical Center and The University of South Florida. Stay In Step has combined the Civilian and Veteran community’s with injuries and the people that care for them through a combination of physical therapy, close-knit support groups, and mental strength-training. The 4500 sq. ft. recovery center is the only one of its kind in Tampa.

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.