WEST ORANGE, NJ — Every year, more than 17,000 individuals experience a spinal cord trauma and thousands more suffer a debilitating illness that results in reduced mobility. For these individuals, a wheelchair-accessible vehicle provides them a better life and an opportunity for freedom to go to work, school or just a trip to the park.
On Oct. 30, the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association and United Spinal Association made the final stop of their Automotive Mobility Awareness Tour at Kessler Rehabilitation Center in West Orange, showcasing the latest in wheelchair-accessible vehicles.
Approximately 75 patients, therapists and caregivers attended the presentation and enjoyed an ice cream buffet while seeing the latest developments in wheelchair-accessible vehicles.
West Orange resident Joanne De Simone was among the guests at the event. Her son, Benjamin, was diagnosed with a rare brain malformation called lissencephaly and was only given a few months to live. He just turned 20 years old this year. The De Simone family members recently had their lives changed when they purchased a wheelchair-accessible vehicle.
“He gets to go out and see his brother’s cross-country races and enjoy all the big moments in our family’s lives,” Joanne De Simone says. “He’s able to integrate into our lives and we can build awareness as we build Ben’s world and the world gets to know Ben.”
Prior to the stop at Kessler, the tour showcased vehicles in Chicago, San Diego, Atlanta and Houston.
Photos Courtesy of Alan Byrd