TAMPA, Florida (June 30, 2015) – Today, the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) announced the four winners of the 2015 National Mobility Awareness Month Local Heroes Contest on National TV. The campaign finished with 914 Local Hero online entries that received 1.3 million votes. The sponsors for the wheelchair accessible vehicles are Chrysler, Toyota Mobility, and Valley Honda Dealers, with the conversions donated by BraunAbility and Vantage Mobility International (VMI) and ElDorado Mobility. Chairiot Mobility is providing its electric rear-entry Chairiot Solo.
The winners are Collene Van Noord, of Holland Michigan, senior category, caregivers Kym and Rick Daniels the parents of Kaitlyn Daniels of Derry, Pennsylvania, Cynthia Noonan of Emeryville, California and Jessica Runnels of Oakley, California. Of the four vehicles provided, two are designated to special category winners, which are a senior and a caregiver. Each winner received enough votes to get them to the top 10 percent and then an independent selection panel of industry experts reviewed the stories to select the Local Heroes who are making a difference for others. Van Noord writes and manages a blog dedicated to educating others on spinal cord injury. Her blog has 1,300 followers that inspires others who are also facing mobility challenges. She became paralyzed as the result of automobile accident. Kaitlyn Daniels, 10 years old, started Kidz That Kare, a program in her community that provides local families with clothes, toiletries, toys and groceries. Noonan worked for the ALS Association and is a board member of the Bay Area Outreach and Recreational Program. She suffers with a rare autoimmune disease called Transverse Myelitis that has made her a C5 quadriplegic. Runnels established the East Bay Spinal Cord and Traumatic Brain Injury Support group for survivors, family members, caregivers and friends after she suffered a cervical spinal cord injury that left her paralyzed.
“The Local Heroes Contest is a rewarding part of what we do at NMEDA”, said Dave Hubbard, NMEDA CEO. “Each year the awareness for mobility challenges and solutions continues to grow and we thank our members, contest sponsors and the hundreds of communities and thousands of individuals who rallied this year to make this special once again. I also want to personally thank the millions who took the time to read and learn about all of the Local Heroes in our contest and then cast their votes.”
About National Mobility Awareness Month
May is National Mobility Awareness Month and is the annual celebration that encourages seniors, veterans, caregivers and people with disabilities to enjoy active, mobile lifestyles. Founded in 1989 as a not-for-profit trade association, the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) supports the awareness month with the assistance of approximately 600 mobility equipment dealers, manufacturers and driver rehabilitation specialists located in the United States and Canada dedicated to expanding opportunities for people with disabilities. For updates, please visit MobilityAwarenessMonth.com, as well as Facebook, Twitter (@NMEDAcom) and Pinterest.
About the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association
Founded in 1989 as a non-profit trade association, the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) supports more than 600 mobility equipment dealers, manufacturers and driver rehabilitation specialists in the U.S. and Canada dedicated to expanding opportunities for people with disabilities. NMEDA is the sponsor of National Mobility Awareness Month each May and the Local Heroes Contest that celebrates life moving forward. For information on NMEDA, please visit www.nmeda.com, as well as Facebook and Twitter. Visit MobilityAwarenessMonth.com for the national awareness month.