Author Archives: AMS Vans

group shot including a boy on a therapy bike

Bubba’s Story Inspires a Community

Upon having his adaptive bike stolen from his backyard, Beorn (fondly known as Bubba) and his family were devastated. The ability to go for a bike ride is something many of us take for granted. Not only was his bike crucial in his ongoing therapy, but it connected him to his family and all the other kids out there. With a several thousand-dollar price tag and four other kids to look after, Bubba’s mother, Stephanie, was at a loss on what to do next. So, she created a Facebook post, and it all started from there.

social media screenshot of boy in a therapy bike that got stolen

“When all this started, I was upset someone had taken my boy’s bike and knew it would be years before I could replace it. I was disheartened, to say the least. I felt like there was no point in reporting the loss, but I’m so glad I was persuaded to do it. Instead of being a bitter experience it has turned into this amazing thing I could have never of imagined. I was excited when we had over 100,000 shares – my mind is still blown!

My phone has literally been blowing up. I’ve tried to respond to messages but just can’t even keep up. The overwhelming response of support and love for my boy brings me to tears. I am beyond words to ever express how grateful and appreciative we are to everyone who has shared my posts, commented with support or advice, offered to set up a Go Fund Me, or to buy a new bike out right. I’m still in awe over all this.

I’ve heard many times “people suck,” but I believe all this has proven just the opposite. Big hearts are what I’ve seen from all of this, and that’s my takeaway: most people are good and caring,” shared Stephanie.

screenshot of news story, headline reading "community steps up to help valley teen"

An AMS Vans employee saw Bubba’s story on the local news and noticed the family was driving one of their vans.  He asked his senior managers how they could help, and the business immediately reached out to the family to offer a new bike custom-built to Bubba’s needs.

“Our mission is to really provide independence through mobility solutions, and while yes we do sell vans, Bubba’s independence was getting on the bike and riding with his brothers and sisters,” said general manager Randy Shiller. 

screenshot of news story, headline reading "boy gets new special needs bike"

One month later, the big “bike reveal” happened on a beautiful day at a local park with the family, community and media in attendance – everyone sharing in the special moment. After a quick fitting fromNumotion, Bubba was off again with a happy smile back on his face.

back of a therapy bike for kids with a custom license plate that reads "bubba" 

While AMS Vans provided Bubba with a new Rifton Adaptive Tricycle, there are still many families and children like him in need. And, you can help.

The Suzy Foundationis a charity especially close to Beorn’s family’s heart. The foundation specializes in helping to obtain assistive equipment for individuals with special needs – like this amazing bike.

To get involved, go to suzyfoundation.org

A special thanks to the local media for helping share Bubba’s story. You can watch their coverage below.

Bubba Needs Help:

NBC 12 News
ABC 15 Arizona
AZ Family 3TV & CBS 5

The Community Steps Up:

NBC 12 News
ABC 15 Arizona
AZ Family 3TV & CBS 5

Bubba Gets a New Bike:

NBC 12 News
ABC 15 Arizona

Bird Box Explained: Is the Janet Tucker School for the Blind a Real Place?

The Netflix film Birdbox debuted earlier this year and was a massive hit for the streaming service. The film stars Sandra Bullock as a mother trying to transport her two children through a post-apocalyptic wasteland while unable to use the power of sight.

One of the most prominent features of the film’s final act was a location known as the Janet Tucker School for the Blind. Watching the film may lead viewers to question whether or not the film’s climactic location exists in real life.

Let’s take a closer look at what happened in the film Birdbox and whether or not the school featured at the end of the film actually exists.

Synopsis

The story of Birdbox unfolds in a non-linear format. Sandra Bullock plays Marjorie, a reluctant mom who’s expecting a baby. As her sister drives her home from a doctor’s appointment, an unseen monster begins causing people to immediately commit suicide upon seeing it.

The only way to avoid it is to not look at it – effectively blinding yourself. The survivors have to get creative to avoid seeing the monster. Some wear blindfolds or keep their eyes closed. Others black out the windows of a car when they have to travel.

Marjorie ends up barricaded in a house with multiple strangers. The story flashes back and forth between that and the present day, where Marjorie transports two children from their hideout to a place they’ve heard about through a transistor radio. Along the way we see her resolve tested.

The Janet Tucker School for the Blind

Marjorie is able to successfully shield the eyes of her and her children from the monster. They arrive at their final destination: Janet Tucker’s School for the Blind. The final irony of the film is that the differently abled are now advantaged in this new society in which these horrible monsters terrorize those with the ability to see.

It’s the closest thing a story like this could get to a happy ending. The Janet Tucker School for the Blind is a sanctuary for Marjorie and her two children. It’s full of flowers, grass, singing birds, and smiling, happy people.

It’s a somewhat upbeat ending for a film that up until that point had been unceasingly bleak.

Is the Janet Tucker School for the Blind a Real Place?

In the film, the Janet Tucker School for the Blind is depicted as being in the middle of a forest, near the end of a long and winding river. It appears to be significantly separated from society. There are no cities or major metropolitan areas anywhere near it, making it a great location for the story’s hero to rest after spending the entire film on the run or in hiding from the monsters.

The film never provides an exact location for Janet Tucker’s School for the Blind, though the film itself takes place in northern California. By all accounts, it is not a real school. It appears to have been invented strictly for the purpose of the film. It does not exist in the novel – one of the several major differences between the film and the book.

Summary

Birdbox was a major hit with a twist ending that portrayed the disabled in a positive light. While the film had plenty of scares leading up to that point, it ended happily with the main character and her kids seeking refuge at the Janet Tucker School for the Blind.

While the Janet Tucker School for the Blind depicted a positive, happy environment for the blind children to learn and grow and the school as it existed in the film was located somewhere in the forests of northern California, the school does not exist in real life. It was invented as a plot device for the film.

New Drug Gives Growth and New Life To Girl With No Bones

Janelly Martnez-Amador was given the gift of life just when doctors had prepared her parents for what the doctors believed was inevitable. The adorable little girl was born with a severe form of hypophosphatasia, a genetic disorder that prevents skeletal mineralization. When things looked hopeless, a clinical trial of a new drug turned her situation around.

Nurses prepared Janelly for a photo session at the hospital, removing her tubes and dressing her in a cute pink outfit so that her parents could have a keepsake of their baby girl without all the medical equipment that was sustaining her life.  Janelly’s rare form of hypophosphatasia meant that she didn’t have the ribs to support breathing, and her parents were faced with the decision of continuing life-sustaining intervention, or letting their little girl go.

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Teen with Spina Bifida Benefits from Advanced Hip Surgery

“I was told that what’s going to happen is going to happen, and there’s no point in trying to prevent anything.”

Amanda Geier said this was the medical advice she received regarding her daughter Samantha, who has spina bifida. After hearing the medical opinion, Geier took on a different attitude than what had been suggested. She says, “You learn to fight for your kid to be able to do things she wants to do.”

Samantha Geier has a condition known as spina bifida, which happens when the spinal cord or the vertebrae surrounding it do not correctly or completely form, which results in damaged nerves and muscle weakness. Samantha received her first operation when she was just six weeks old at the Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. Now she is 16 years old and has had a number of surgeries.

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