Our annual promotion marked another unbelievable success. With the help and generosity of our NMEDA dealers, members and partners, we were able to award Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles to four incredibly deserving families as part of National Mobility Awareness Month. We are passionate about the difference NMEDA makes within the disability community and will continue to dedicate our time and resources to helping those living with disabilities gain their driving independence.
Learn more about NMEDA’s mobility equipment solutions and read our winners’ amazing stories below.
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!” Many people quote that statement, but I am actually living it out. About seven years ago, my life was almost perfect…
During my junior year in high school, I was in the Top Ten Percent in my class; I volunteered in many extracurricular activities; I worked after school activities and was able to buy a car; I was being recruited to play college football. My dream to play college football and, ultimately, in the NFL seemed to be coming to fruition. However, I fell asleep behind the wheel of a car and crashed into a semi-truck, resulting in my paralysis, not being able to move my fingers or lower extremities.After learning to accomplish daily activities efficiently, I went back to high school, graduated, and was accepted to attend the University of Florida, where I began volunteering with the Gator football and women’s basketball teams for four years. There were many obstacles that I overcame, such as constant fatigue, bladder infections, and falls. Despite my disability and overwhelming schedule, I graduated last December with a 3.15 GPA.Currently, I waiting to receive acceptance from one of several law schools in Miami and California that I applied to. My desire is be a sports lawyer because I am interested in the legal aspects involved in sports and driven to uphold justice, fairness and equality in the sports industry.
The pursuit of my education and profession are avenues to other goals and objectives. I currently help my church, Holy Outreach for Christ, feed the homeless, mentor newly disabled children for Tampa General Hospital, and speak at schools and churches about overcoming obstacles. Charity works are essential parts of my future plans. I want to start an organization for the underprivileged kids, to provide resources and motivate them to get an education so that they could be productive members in society. Moreover, I also want to help the homeless by opening a rehab center and providing them with resources to make their lives better.
Pursuing my goals can’t be attained simply. I currently don’t have and can’t afford a vehicle, so can’t go to as many as I would like to. Winning a van would truly allow me to be more independent, as I will be able to travel to law school, stores, events, and speaking engagements. It would be such a blessing! Thanks!
A hero is someone who illustrates courage or noble qualities. My mother, Linda Stearns, exemplifies what a true hero is. At the age of 17, my mother began volunteering at Misericordia Chicago. While there, she met my “brother,” Charlie who was 9 months old and suffered from spina bifida and hydrocephalus. She was told to not get attached, because he would not live past the age of 2.
That didn’t stop her. At the age of 21, Charlie came to live with my mother permanently and this past November, he turned 49 years old. In November of 1984, shortly after my 3rd birthday my mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. She accepted the fact that she could beat her disease or it would beat her. With that mentality, she persevered in every aspect of her life and chose to become a full time advocate and volunteer.
Almost 21 years ago, she became the unofficial adoptive grandmother to a set of quadruplets whom she watched, free of charge, while their mother worked as a waitress. She continued caring for not only herself, but me, both my elderly and ailing grandparents and Charlie. Over the years, she has volunteered with the Cook County Multiple Sclerosis Chapter as a member and supporter, the Garden Center for the Handicapped, Mt. Zion Lutheran Church along with Galilee Baptist Church and Homeless Center. She loans her accessible van, despite its condition, to those in need including a complete stranger, who wanted to transport his mother from a nursing home for the holidays. She bakes for PADS, which serves the homeless, attends Honor Flight Chicago to support veterans and rearranges flowers from local funeral homes, which she delivers to patients in hospitals and nursing homes – sometimes not even knowing the patient herself.
In 2009, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, which didn’t stop her from helping others. She continued to do volunteer work and help others. She took in an elderly family friend, with no immediate family and cared for her for the remaining years of her life. My mother is a person who doesn’t stop living life because of her disease – she pushes harder – embraces life – for herself and everyone around her. She is not only my hero, but one for many – family, friends and even strangers.