September 2016

Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month

September is National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month. 17,000 new cases of Spinal Cord Injuries are documented every year in the US alone; in this country today, 200,000 people live with a spinal cord injury (SCI), and someone is paralyzed every 48 seconds.

X-ray image of the vertebral column. Doctors consult over an X-ray.

48 seconds and a life is forever changed. Parents, daughters, college athletes, up and coming Marine Corps officers, co-workers, the person sitting next to you in traffic– SCI shows no partiality to where someone is in life or where they want to be headed.
Vehicle accidents are at the top of the list when it comes to leading causes of SCI, but other causes include: falling, sport injuries, or acts of violence.
In the past year, 19 customers have purchased a wheelchair van from AMS Vans due to a spinal cord injury.
The United Spinal Association is, however, fighting for the lives of those living with spinal cord injuries; they believe in obtaining affordable medical equipment and insurance, housing, transportation, ways that people with SCI can live independently, and numerous other benefits that can be reached through donations and awareness.
Of course, funds and awareness will also help fuel the big over-arching goal: medical research and scientific findings.
To learn more about Spinal Cord Injuries, SCI Awareness Month, and ways to get involved or donate, check out https://www.unitedspinal.org/september-is-national-spinal-cord-injury-awareness-month-2/.

AMS Vans Walks to Defeat ALS

In 2015, social media news feeds were suddenly flooded with videos and pictures of people of all ages dumping buckets of ice water on their heads; these videos and pictures were commented on by friends and family saying they couldn’t believe their friend had tagged them as next on the list to stand under the icy waterfall. Celebrities began posting their own videos and photos of this “Ice Bucket Challenge,” trying to one-up their neighbors in Beverley Hills. Eventually, everyone caught on that this fun challenge that had gone viral in a matter of days was actually for a good cause: raising awareness for ALS.

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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is more commonly known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” or, as of late, “ALS.” It is a neurodegenerative disease that slowly paralyzes nerve cells in the brain and along the spinal cord. Over time, this leads to loss of muscle movement in the person affected by ALS. The ultimate result, therefore, ends up being total paralyses, and finally, death at some point within the first 2-5 years after a person is diagnosed.
Unfortunately, there is no current cure for this disease. There are, however, some drugs that have been approved by the FDA as having prolonging affects on a person’s life that is suffering from ALS.
On September 17, 2016, we set up our booth at the ALS Association’s “Walk to Defeat ALS” in Atlanta. Thanks to the efforts of the ALS Association Georgia Chapter, $500,000 was raised this weekend to support funds that go towards either making life with ALS a little easier or medical research that will hopefully one day lead to a cure.
AMS Vans loved being able to have a booth at the 2016 Walk to Defeat ALS this past weekend in Atlanta, embarking on the 2.5 mile walk to show our support!
Even though the walk is over, there are still ways to get involved with a chapter near you or donate to the ALS Association at:
http://www.alsa.org/?referrer=https://www.google.com/
We cannot wait for next year’s Walk to Defeat ALS!!

 

A Guide to Wheelchair Fitness

istock_100317675_largeSince the Paralympics are back in full swing in Rio, we thought you might want to feel like a Paralympian yourself! So here’s a few tips on how to work out in a chair! Safety first, though. Talk to your doctor before you try any of these workout tips! Make sure that a loved one or a caregiver is present when exercising, and be sure not to overwork yourself! We don’t want you getting sore or too tired, we just want to get that blood flowing!

Why is exercising in a wheelchair helpful and important? Exercising will result in more flexibility, will strengthen you and your lungs and heart, and provide more mobility overall.

Push-ups in a wheelchair?! How to:

  1. First, lock your wheelchair into place, of course!
  2. Lay your arms on your arm rest.
  3. Now lift! Use your arms and upper body to lift yourself up and off the seat of the chair; stay lifted for as long as you can.
  4. You can lift and rest on repeat!

“Do you even lift?” Lifting weights in a wheelchair:

  1. You can use free weights or dumbbells, whichever is easier for you!
  2. If you don’t have any of those lying around, that’s okay! You don’t even need to rush out to buy them! Just use anything you have around the house that is a little bit heavier, like cans of food or books! Repetition is key!

Ready, set, go! Racing in your wheelchair:

  1. It’s fun, AND it works out your upper body!
  2. You can race other friends in wheelchairs or you can have people run against you! Working out can be FUN!

For those who want tight tummies:

  1. Alright, this one actually involves getting out of your chair and onto a yoga mat.
  2. Cross your legs, grab a weight (dumbbell, Pilates ball, heavy object around the house), and lift it straight above your head.
  3. Slightly rotate your torso back and forth for a period of time or until you’re too sore!

Some more tips on working out:

  • Turn the TV on and out for half the time of your favorite show! Or the whole time you’re watching your favorite show!
  • Make a playlist to listen to while your pumping that iron!

Links to workout videos for those working out in a chair: 

8 Tips on How To Travel With Your Handicap Van

women in van2Headed out of town for the holiday weekend? Well we know just how exciting AND nerve racking adventures can be for our AMS family! That’s why we decided to come up with our own
kind of vacation itinerary for those of us who are adventuring in handicap vans!
 
PLAN AHEAD: Common sense, right? Well sometimes a “rough idea” of what you’ll be doing over the weekend just isn’t going to cut it. Figure out exactly what you are going to do, where you want to stay, what dinner reservations you might want to make or tours you might want to book. Figure it all out so that you can start planning how much time it will take you to do all the things that you want to do.
System Check: Make sure all of your equipment is in good shape before you hit the road! This includes your AMS Vans, Inc. ramps! It’s better to be safe and know what might need to be updated in your wheelchair accessible van before you head out!
 
How to Pack: Pack light, but bring a day bag! You never know what you’re going to end up getting into and if you may need a change of clothes, some extra food, emergency equipment, and phone chargers. Also be sure to keep your wheelchair equipment information close by! In your van or in your bag!
 
For When You Feel Like You’re A Fish Swimming Upstream: Adventuring around an area commonly visited by crowds of tourists? Make a mental note that morning that it might take you a little bit longer to wheel through the business! Plan to give yourself some extra time to breathe and navigate through all of the people!
Check the weather before booking a thing: The last thing anyone wants is to plan a vacation during some not-so-sunny, weather! Unexpected bad weather can be especially frustrating, though, if you have trouble walking or are scooting around everywhere on wheels. Check the weather schedule for wherever you’re going on the days that you want to get away!
It’s okay to say “NO”: Feeling a little bit more tired than your accompanying adventurers? It’s OKAY to say NO to something if you need a rest. We know you don’t want to miss out, but you’re allowed to be tired, and you’re allowed to say you need rest! AND it’s okay to say you just can’t do something! You and your health come FIRST.
You Do You: Do what you’re comfortable with! You shouldn’t feel pressured to do anything or keep up with a certain pace! It is vacation after all!
Try New Things: Don’t be afraid to get out there and live a little!! Just be sure you’ve brought precautionary items, that you’ve carved out enough time for the new adventure, and that there are no limitations you might end up having to face!