When Your Bed Is your desk

By Hilary Jastram, founder of Sick Biz

Entrepreneurship, freelancing, and remote work is offering chronic illness and disability sufferers more opportunities than ever.

 As the founder of Sick Biz, I have fought crushing fatigue and worked when all my strength couldn’t force my body to sit up.

I was coerced into business ownership when transverse myelitis took me down in 2014. I’ve shown up for clients when everyone, including my doctors, told me to take a day off, rest, and stop pushing so hard. 

But the reality is I can’t, and neither can the millions of other people with chronic illnesses, like transverse myelitis or acute flaccid myelitis or NMO or OM or on and on.

Chronic illnesses and disabilities are on the rise…

· 6 in 10 adults in the US have a chronic disease, many of them neurological disorders

· 4 in 10 adults in the US have two or more chronic diseases

· 1 in 4 adults has a disability

And if you have to pay bills, you have to work.

The good news is entrepreneurship, freelancing, and remote work are offering chronic illness and disability sufferers like me more opportunities than ever to do what we love, be financially independent and make a difference.

When you have a chronic illness or disability, you have to be conscious of what your body and emotions are doing at all times in order to simply stay the course.

For example, many autoimmune diseases respond to stress–even great stress. Try crushing your goals and then fighting not to get too excited so you don’t flare! 

But there’s something special about people like us with chronic illnesses taking control of our destinies and building our own businesses.

While most people are grateful for a Netflix and chill day, the disability community craves work over rest.

1. Focusing on a project or task is distracting to pain and helps to alleviate intensity

2. Ill and disabled entrepreneurs achieve goals efficiently because their health depends on it.

3. This segment of the population works hard to prove ourselves to our clients and peers. You will get quality work.

These five “entrepren-hers” refuse to allow any so-called challenge to block their path. Use their stories to inspire you to move mountains:

Wendi Lindenmuth. – After three rounds of meningitis, chronic Lyme, MRSA, and other life-altering conditions that left her bedridden for a year, Wendi had had enough. She dove into alternative treatments, finding relief in energy healing. It worked so well that she received her national energy healer certification to help other chronic pain and illness sufferers. 

Megan Stewart – Since the age of 12, Megan has tried “78 forms of birth control,” but none of them stopped the pain from extreme endometriosis that would render her unconscious. Megan’s health forced her to transition from journalist to content creator and blogger. “I had to take my skills and think what could I do if I couldn’t get out of bed three days a week?” 

One of the tactics that helps Megan stay in business and deliver exceptional content to her clients is a To-Do list with 20-30 items, and the dedication to knocking out 3-4 things per day. 

Samantha Bennett- “It was a huge relief when I finally got diagnosed with lifelong depression.” Samantha is in the world and, by all appearances, functioning normally. But no one sees the internal struggle. The world notes her successful business, two published books, a musical that’s taking off, and the stages around the country she’s speaking on and draws the conclusion that Samantha’s inner life must be as sparkly as her accomplishments. 

Self-monitoring with chronic illness is imperative, as is self-compassion. “You have to be super strategic when you don’t have unlimited amounts of energy. You have to make sure you’re spending your quality time on the stuff that will move the needle. You can build a business in 15 minutes a day; you can write a novel in 15 minutes a day.” 

But how do you practice self-compassion when you know your brain is lying to you? It takes commitment to remember your brain will lie to you, but if you can do that, you can build evidence for more supportive thoughts. Samantha suggests, “Start with the premise that what you think is not true.” 

Jamie Thurber – “Have a blueprint and don’t walk into your day.” After years of debilitating, unpredictable illness and scant advice from doctors, Jamie learned how she feels every day is just as important as what she does in her business. Jamie knew if she was going to be a success that she had to take her self-care seriously. She advises entrepreneurs who are struggling with chronic illness, chronic pain, fatigue, or lower energy levels to “get clear on what you need to do, and implement tasks with a timer, so you can come back from the rabbit hole and not lose hours of time.” As a bonus: you will learn how long a task really takes.

Erika Ashley – Diagnosed with JV rheumatoid arthritis at 18 months old, Erika was supposed to be in a wheelchair by the time she was a teenager.  In October 2015, Erika was put on the waitlist for hip replacement, and found herself bedridden without a job due to excruciating pain. 

“I had bills and expenses to pay, so I needed to figure out how to make it work,” she says in creating her business. “It was the best thing that could’ve happened to me.” She doesn’t have to deal with fixed deadlines the way she used to, and now her schedule accommodates her treatment instead of the other way around. 

As the gig economy strengthens, there has never been a better time to launch your business, and if you’re dealing with chronic illness, pain, or disability, there’s never been a better time to find success and make a difference with your genius. And if you’re an employer, there’s never been a better time to increase your business by turning to workers whose beds may be their desks.


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Zappos and Runway of Dreams Team Up for Fashion Show

By Brook McCall, New Mobility |May 1st, 2019

On March 27, Zappos Adaptive and the Runway of Dreams Foundation hosted an adaptive fashion show to highlight the exciting present and future of adaptive fashion. 

Hundreds of fashion aficionados, industry insiders and members of the disability community lined an outdoor Las Vegas runway, while thousands more watched a livestream online. The event was the collaboration’s first high-profile effort to open a dialogue about fashion designed for customers with disabilities.

“Disability doesn’t change how you want to present yourself to the world,” says Mindy Scheier, founder of the Runway of Dreams Foundation. “The idea is simple but has gone largely unrecognized by the fashion industry. It’s time for brands and designers to embrace people with disabilities as an important part of our culture.”

Since 2014, the Runway of Dreams Foundation has engaged the disability community to better understand its diverse needs and create a call to action for the fashion industry to listen and use it as a resource for developing stylish, adaptable pieces that work for all bodies. Zappos launched its adaptive line in late 2017 to provide disabled customers and their families with clothing, shoes and accessories designed to make their lives easier.

As the warm spring sun set, one by one, 30 models with all types of disabilities took to the catwalk and demonstrated the power of clothing that works for them and their unique needs. In three acts, the models sported looks from adaptive brands that showcased daywear, active wear and more glamorous wear for a night out on the town. 

Actor RJ Mitte served as the celebrity host of the event. Mitte, who has cerebral palsy and has appeared in major campaigns for Gap, walked the runway for fashion elite Vivian Westwood.

“Disability or not, every type of body needs clothes that fit comfortably and make you feel good,” says Mitte, adding that the fashion industry often “forgets about flexibility and makes clothing for models. I don’t need things that work for the runway. It’s about functionality and having things available that I actually want to wear.”

As an online retailer with revenues in the billions, Zappos has influence in communicating what it is looking to sell and what customers are looking to buy. This gives it leverage with big established brands and also allows it to greatly impact some of the smaller brands seeking to innovate in the adaptive marketplace.

“What we need is traction,” says Mitte. “And Runway of Dreams and Zappos Adaptive have done something that isn’t only going to impact the fashion world but will have benefit in making people feel and look good.”

Zappos’ commitment to adaptive fashion all started with one grandmother’s phone call to customer service. The grandmother was struggling to find no-lace shoes that allowed her autistic grandson to put his shoes on by himself. Noting that situations like hers are common, Zappos set out to create adaptive shoes and clothing. It immersed its employees in research and education, and engaged in conversations with people who have all types of disabilities. The result is a dedicated hub for sourced products that are functional, fashionable and meet all types of needs.

View Mindy Scheier's  TED Talk on Adaptive Clothing in our Video Gallery at


Check Out These Resources


Zappos Adaptive 

Tommy Hilfiger Adaptive 

IZ Adaptive 

AUE Kenzie Women’s Vintage Adaptable Jeans 

Target Adaptive

o Kids 

o Women 

o Men 

A Day in our Shoes 


Buck & Buck 

Find out more

Runway of Dreams Foundation's Fashion Revolution Gala


2018 Runway of Dreams Foundation's Fashion Revolution Gala & Fashion Show, held at Cipriani on 42nd Street in NYC on September 5, 2018. See highlights from this revolutionary evening! Produced by Starr Media.


The Six Biggest Mistakes I Made Buying my 1st Wheelchair

By Clay Garner, Founder, Beat Transverse Myelitis Foundation

On July 2, 2019 as I sat on the side of my hospital bed, my doctor delivered my diagnosis of Transverse Myelitis. It’s a rare disease. Most people have never heard of it. I was clueless. 

It’s an inflammation of the myelin sheath surrounding the spine. It totally screws up the communications among your brain, your nerves and your lower muscles. Practically overnight I became numb from the waist down, outside and inside. I couldn’t walk and I was completely incontinent.

When I left the hospital a month later, I used a walker when outside and a cane around the house. Unfortunately, my weakness got worse. By late September I could barely manage a walker. My Outpatient Physical Therapist finally convinced me that my mobility was more important than my ego . . . it was time for my first wheelchair. However, no one handed me a booklet on how to go about this task. Yep, I made a couple of mistakes.

1. Assuming all manual wheelchairs are basically the same:

Two wheels attached to a chair, basically, right? You get around by powering the wheels forward with your two hands. Pretty simple, and it really is, until other considerations come into play. For example, how much do you weigh? What kind of ground will you be going over much of the time?  Carpet? Tile? Gravel? Cement? Will you need to put your wheelchair in and out of a vehicle? Who’s going to do that for you? In my case, my only real initial focus was my mobility, and how it could be improved over my walker . . . I was quickly becoming incapable of moving beyond 30 steps before resting.

2. Deciding what to pay for it:

I had no clue how much to pay. I also was hanging on to the idea that I would be walking again, potentially soon, or so I thought, so I did not want to invest that much. What did I do? I went to Amazon and looked at offerings. They ranged from about $125 to $650. So, simple division gave an answer . . . I would pay around $350 to $400. That wasn’t really a bad decision, it just didn’t address my needs for very long. The lightweight and fold-able chair I bought began breaking down within three months – the wheels were the first to go.


3. Waiting too long to buy it:

When my Transverse Myelitis first started, I was able to use a walker, but the weakness in my legs kept growing. I also was told that a 1/3rd of us would likely walk again, a 1/3rd would get around with a walker, and a 1/3rd would likely stay tied to a wheelchair. To me, it seemed that buying a wheelchair would be an act of “surrender.” Lack of knowledge and my ego held me back. It was my Physical Therapist, Kelly Snow, bless her heart, that convinced me that mobility was far more important to my lifestyle than struggling with a walker or holding too long to a potential for walking again, especially since no one could tell me how long it would take to get there. There was no clear-cut recipe.

4. Not researching cushions:

I never gave any consideration to cushions. Oh, I did ask a few people and the general answer was to get a Roho or roho-styled air cushion. What I saw was the price kept going up and up. Here’s the thing, no one mentioned anything – or I didn’t hear them if they did mention it – about pressure ulcers that wheelchair users can develop from sitting too much and inhibiting good blood circulation. Let me tell you . . . this is an incredibility important issue to consider. I have been battling now for 6 months with a pressure ulcer on my left buttocks. It’s truly a pain in the ass. It turns out that Roho cushions are the standard in the battle against pressure ulcers.

5. Completely forgetting the issue of transfers:

Wheelchairs lead to all types of transfers . . . from wheelchair to car seat, from wheelchair to bed then back again, from wheelchair to toilet seat. Sometimes the transfer takes you higher up than the height of your wheelchair seat – these are tougher than transferring to a lower position. This comes up all the time with getting in and out of cars. So, here’s the problem, if your wheelchair has fixed arms rather than retractable ones, you’re in for a lot of bruising. Fixed position arms are almost always in the way of easy transfers. Retractable arms pretty much eliminate this challenge.

6. Not considering the unintended consequences of a lightweight chair:

One consideration I did have when buying my 1st wheelchair was the weight factor. I wanted something lightweight for car travel. Once I transferred into the car, whoever I was traveling with would have to fold up the wheelchair and put it in the back of my Honda CRV. To my knowledge, lightweight is achieved in one of two ways – using an aluminum or a titanium frame. The later is far more expensive, and I made the obvious mistake of going with the aluminum. The problem is that aluminum does not hold up like titanium. From example, I have had to replace my tires twice in less than two years. Then there was the taxi driver that tried to jam my wheelchair into his truck for my ride to the airport . . . that snapped one of the hinges holding the back rest upright.



So, what advice do I have to offer? Please take into consideration the fact that I’m still a novice in all of this process, but consider the following:

· While you may walk again, don’t suffer between now and then, and a cheap wheelchair to supposedly carry you through is a likely recipe for suffering.

· Ask advice of other users. There are lots of great health-oriented Facebook groups that include wheelchair users who welcome the opportunity to be of service to others . . . just remember that everyone’s experience is largely unique to them.

· Most healthcare plans – including Medicare – will pay for a custom chair for you. However, always remember that even the best wheelchair sales person or specialist will have biases that can impact you, particularly those that do not or have not lived life in a wheelchair. 

· There are lots of resources on the internet that can help you in your decision-making. Check out

· Finally, take more time than you think you need to make your decision, and spend a bit more to get what works the best for you. 

And, if you make your own mistakes that differ from mine . . . please pass them along to the rest of us.


10 ways to stay stylish as a wheelchair user

Just because you’re in a wheelchair doesn’t mean you want to go out every day with a tartan throw over your legs (even if it is cashmere, and from Dolce & Gabbana). You can develop your own style and look and feel amazing. Here are some simple tips on how to stay stylish as a wheelchair user without going overboard. 

1. Do the two-shoe shuffle - Even if you are a full-time wheelchair making shoes largely decorative, don’t overlook them. They are the ultimate accessory and a good shoe will make your outfit pop. 

2. Don’t dismiss skirts - Although some precautions are advised, don’t think you have to give up on skirts. Maxi skirts, especially with a nice pattern, are super flattering. Shorter skirts are possible, but test drive with a friend before buying to check fit, and your modesty. 

3. Make time for make-up - We all have those desert island make-up items that make us look great. If you want a sleek brow or a slick lip, you may not be able to sneak in that extra snooze, but it’ll be worth it to leave the house feeling great. 

4. Smile - No amount of make-up can cover up a lack of confidence. A smile will light up your face and is contagious. 

 5. Accessorize - There is no one happier than me that statement necklaces are still on trend. Fabulous jewelry, scarves and handbags will raise your outfit to another level, and always fit well. 

6. Look at everything in the mirror while sitting - If you’re not a full-time wheelchair user, remember that a lot of outfits work great when you’re standing, but not so much when you’re sitting, which you will be in your wheelchair. Choose outfits that give you the flexibility to wear both ways. 

7. Make it last - Whether it’s a sleek blow-dry or a cute gel mani, go for the style option that’s going to keep you looking good for the longest. 

8. Plan ahead - Make sure you get your clothes out ahead of time. That power suit for a key meeting, or the lavish dress for a decadent party should be selected, and accessorized in plenty of time. 

9. Wear what’s comfortable - I know I might look 2-3lb lighter in Spanx, but if I have to wear them all day I know they’ll cut off my circulation. Compromise and wear things that are flattering but not painful. 

10. Ignore the rules - Okay, so the above are not rules, merely suggestions, but the thing that turns fashion into style is your own personal take on it. Have a go at tearing up the rule book and going out in a onesie and Crocs, or whatever takes your fancy. If you feel good in yourself, that’s all that matters.

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Five Tips to Tackle Wheelchair Hiking*


Going for a hike may seem daunting, but for wheelchair riders, the numerous physical & mental benefits of hiking are a powerful motivator.  

There is abundant scientific proof that outdoor hiking and increased time in nature decreases stress and depression, while simultaneously, increasing creativity and happiness. 

1. Do Your Hiking Research


Take away the fear of the unknown by arming yourself with detailed information about the trails in your area. Online resources are being created all the time to share experiences and information regarding trail accessibility, like,

2. Invite Friends to Go Wheelchair Hiking


Make sure you invite a friend who is on the same page about the type of hike you want to take. 


3. Get the Right Hiking Gear


Not sure what type of off road chair is right for you? Check out The GRIT Freedom Chair , comes with mountain bike tires, so it’s a great option for riders hoping to test out trails of more varied difficulty.  The Trailrider ( ) is another good option for anyone with more limited arm movement.  Created specifically for accessing the wilderness and affectionately described as “a cross between a wheelbarrow and a rickshaw.”

4. Bring Snacks & Stay Hydrated


Remember, it’s important to start hydrating before – not during – a hike, so your body is prepped and ready.  Experts recommend drinking at least 16 ounces or water prior to leaving the house.

5. Search for Groups in Your Area that Organize Hikes


Participating in group hikes planned by local organizations is a great opportunity to meet like-minded people in your community.


*For the complete article originally published in Wheel-Life, click here 


More Featured Articles

Arlen returns home to celebrate book launch


On Tuesday, the 23-year-old Victoria Arlen’s journey from being paralyzed by multiple diseases more than a decade ago to winning gold as a Paralympian, to the final four of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” came full circle when she came home to celebrate the release of her autobiography, “Locked In: The Will to Survive and the Resolve to Live,” at the Exeter Inn. 

Proceeds from the event, which was hosted by Water Street Bookstore, went to Victoria’s Victory Foundation, which helps individuals with mobility challenges and special needs. Attendees were given a signed copy of the book.

Victoria was diagnosed with two rare conditions, transverse myelitis, inflammation of the spinal cord, and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, swelling of the brain, at age 11. Soon she lost the ability to speak. Eat walk or move. At that time doctors were not positive that she would recover. She spent the next four years in a vegetative state. Two years in, she woke up but could not move and she had to relearn everyday functions; beginning by learning how to blink, and gradually regaining her ability to speak and eat.  Click the button below to review our original Arlen story.

Read Original Story

A&W Canada ‘Burgers to Beat MS’ Campaign Raises $1.9 Million


A&W Food Services of Canada, a chain of hamburger restaurants, in partnership with the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, raised more than $1.9 million at its 10th annual “Burgers to Beat MS” campaign Aug. 16. This is the largest amount the campaign has raised.

To celebrate Burgers to Beat MS campaign, Christine Sinclair, a two-time Olympic bronze medalist and captain of Canada’s women’s national soccer team, joined Susan Senecal, president and CEO of A&W, and Pamela Valentine, president and CEO, MS Society of Canada, to celebrate with customers, staff, guests, and volunteers in 930 A&W restaurants across Canada.

Sinclair — also a Burgers to Beat MS spokesperson — knows the effects of multiple sclerosis (MS) very well. Her mother and childhood soccer coach, Sandi, was diagnosed with the disease.

“My mom is my hero and watching her struggle with MS makes me want to do anything I can to help find a way to beat this disease,” Sinclair said in a press release. “I want to bring Canadians together to give hope to everyone that has been touched by MS.” Click here to read complete article 

Review Complete Article

Choosing to Use a Wheelchair


By: Nerissa Dawn Cannon - 

One of the original GRIT Freedom Chair Trailblazers, Nerissa, now works as GRIT's Administrative Assistant. Her own journey with chronic illness has made her very passionate about helping other people get the most out of life in spite of a disabling condition.

What’s that saying? "You can't choose what happens to you, but you can choose how you react to it." She didn't choose to get sick. She didn't choose to experience chronic pain, widespread inflammation, motor control difficulties, and a lot more. She didn't choose any of that, but she choose to use a wheelchair.

That correct. Most everyone you see in a wheelchair has chosen to use it. Phrases like "wheelchair-bound" have given people the impression that those in wheelchairs are stuck in them with no choice. However, we all have a choice whether or not to utilize one to mitigate our disability. From my point of view, not choosing to use a wheelchair leaves us with little to no quality of life. 

Click the button below to read Nerrisa's complete view.

Review Complete Article

The Complete Guide to Beach Wheelchairs


It's summertime, and many of us want to plan for vacations along ocean beaches and inland rivers. But for those of us in wheelchairs, there's a big question to answer first. Will we have to just sit and watch or can we participate in all the beach frivolity?

This article , adapted from an original review by GRIT, lists different wheelchairs that can set our spirits free.

For the complete article, click below . . . 

Review Complete Article

Four Ways to Enjoy Life with a Disability


1. Don’t Give Up On The Things You Love

You do not have to give up doing the things you love. It’s a common misconception that if you have a disability, that you can’t enjoy doing most things. BS! Not true. However, you may have to change the way you participate in those activities. 

For instance, if you once loved painting but you’re bedridden, you can find creative ways to bring the paint brush to you. If you once loved dancing, but now you’re stuck in a wheelchair, you just have to see dancing from a new perspective. Try teaching others, or learn to dance in a new, creative way that doesn’t require too many strenuous moves. I did that the other night at my wife’s 50th High School Reunion – it was a blast. 

Or, do some research. You may discover dance classes specifically designed for us wheelchair-bound folks.

When you begin experimenting and letting yourself have fun, your quality of life will improve.

For the complete article, see below:

Review Complete Article

Sitting's the New Smoking


For yearts, The Standing Company has passionately worked to make people (now stuck in conventional wheelchairs) healthier and stronger --- simply by standing up for ourselves. They manufacture three versions of the Standing Wheelchair: manual, ½ power, and full power. 

There mission is to help walking-challenged folks (like me with TM) increase our mobility, our independence, and even our job opportunities.

They also publish articles illustrating benefits from improved circulation and reduced UTIs (one of my biggest battles) to increased self-esteem and enriching social interaction. Click the button below to review their latest article, “The Dangers of Sitting & Benefits of Frequent Standing.” Or visit 

Find out more

My Treatment Experiences


As I’ve said in my story, Transverse Myelitis is both rare and somewhat mysterious. That's why we need more tm information. Some causes have been identified. MS is a chief one. However, many others are still unknown. My TM seems to have grown out of my vascular and/or immune systems.


Three spinal angiograms failed to find any fistula redirecting blood flow. However, bacteria leading to any urinary track infection will likely trigger some of my antibodies to attack my spine rather than defend against invasion from outside.

One result is that treatments developed for other conditions/ diseases are being used to help us.

I had Plasma Exchange (PLEX) twice in July/August 2016. The first time helped, I think, but the second shortly after did not seem to make any difference. However, it was recommended a third time in Feb 2018. It truly gave me a big jumpstart prior to 14 days of inpatient PT/OT. It’s a little grueling to complete the 5-part process, but it was worth it. 

Plasma Exchange (PLEX)

This is often used for those of us with moderate to aggressive forms of TM who don’t show much improvement after being treated with intravenous and oral steroids. For more info, go to .


Rituximab, sold under the brand name Rituxan among others, is a medication used to treat certain autoimmune diseases and types of cancer.

We did the a regime with Rituximab in Sept 2016. Frankly, I could not see any improvement in mobility or otherwise after the four treatments. This one, you really need to understand before going ahead, so look here . . .

New Articles Coming


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New Articles Coming


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New Articles Coming


New articles to be posted.

New Articles Coming


New articles to be posted.

New Articles Coming


New articles to be posted.

The dangers of sitting & benefits of frequent standing

By: Dr. Joan Vernikos (Former director of NASA’s Life Sciences Division)

Sitting is an independent risk factor to health¹. As the dangerous consequences of too much sitting have been recognized numerous studies in the last seven or eight years have produced the evidence that many of today’s poor health conditions, from diabetes, obesity cardiovascular disease, all forms of cancer, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, poor balance and coordination problems as well as cognitive consequences are directly linked to too much sitting². 

What’s more, exercise once a day does not counteract the damage from sitting whereas frequent low intensity movement such as standing-up – changing posture – throughout the day with or without walking are most effective. Even as little as 30 minutes of sitting increases the blood level of triglycerides, an early indicator of a pre-diabetic state³.

It is clear that it is not so much a matter of how many hours you sit that is so bad for you, but how many times and how often you interrupt your sitting that is good for you. 

It is now recognized that the workplace is changing to accommodate stand-up desks that allow alternating standing and sitting in the office. In the pursuit of better health, the office of tomorrow will probably discourage sitting in cubicles all day altogether.

What about people who cannot stand-up? In addition to losing their independence are persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) doomed to continuing poor health from the same consequences of a sedentary life that able people suffer? Their plight is worse since the interruption of their sitting is absolute, total all-day. 

Conditions have improved over time. At least they sit up now from spending a lifetime in bed. It was believed that SCIs would spend their lifetime in bed because they could not sit up. This was because they would faint. However, it was eventually discovered in the mid 20th century that this did not have to be so. They could overcome this fainting tendency, not unlike able-bodied, bed-ridden patients post-surgery for instance, with repeated changes in posture from lying down to sitting up, speed up their post-operative recovery, better health, resulting also in reduced medical costs. 

SCI patients now can experience the same therapeutic benefits of frequent standing, as well as some mobility using the Standing Chair specially designed for them. Designs that make standing-up easy, encourage users to stand-up as many as 45-60 times per day (minimum required is 36/day). This inevitably frees them from being pinned to the wheelchair all day, bringing the same sense of independence and healing benefits that standing-up does in able-bodied persons.

¹ Vernikos, Joan. Sitting Kills, Moving Heals; Quill Driver Books, Fresno, CA (2011); Levine AJ. Get Up! Why Your Chair is Killing You and What You Can do About It. Palgrave Macmillan, New York 2014.

² Katzmaryk PT, Church TS, Craig CL, Bouchard C. Sitting time and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Med Sci Sports Ex, 41:998-1005, (2009).

³ Dunstan DW, Kingwell BA, Larsen R, Healy GN, Cerrin E, Hamilton MT, Shaw JE, Bertovic DA, Zimmet PZ, Salmon J, Owen N. Breaking Up prolonged sitting reduces postprandial glucose and insulin responses. Diabetes Care 35(5):976-983, 2012.


Four Ways to Enjoy Life with a Disability


1. Don’t give up on the things you love

You do not have to give up doing the things you love. It’s a common misconception that if you have a disability, that you can’t enjoy doing most things. BS! Not true. However, you may have to change the way you participate in those activities. 

For instance, if you once loved painting but you’re bedridden, you can find creative ways to bring the paint brush to you. If you once loved dancing, but now you’re stuck in a wheelchair, you just have to see dancing from a new perspective. Try teaching others, or learn to dance in a new, creative way that doesn’t require too many strenuous moves. I did that the other night at my wife’s 50th High School Reunion – it was a blast. Or, do some research. You may discover dance classes specifically designed for us wheelchair-bound folks.

When you begin experimenting and letting yourself have fun, your quality of life will improve.

2. Make life at home easier

The second most important thing . . . make living at home as comfortable as possible. It’s one thing to adapt to a life with a disability, but it’s another to overcome obstacles in your own home every day. Many things can do to improve your quality of life at home. For example, make your home wheelchair/handicap accessible. It may help to install an easy climber elevator so that you can get up and downstairs easily. 

You may need to build a ramp to the driveway from the front door (Look for my future article on DIY ramp building). 

No matter what you need, you have options. The last thing anyone wants to do is to be forced to move from their beloved home to an assisted living facility due to a disability. Start your research. Eliminate added stress due to an easy fix.

3. Stay social

It’s extremely important to stay social, especially if you were always social in the past. It’s very easy to isolate from friends and family due to immobility or pain, but this will quickly lead to depression. So KEEP FIGHTING! Challenge yourself to leave your home at least once or twice a week – but not including doctor appointments - so that you can socialize. Visit friends, go to the library, attend church functions, keep up with any Clubs you belong to, volunteer at your hospital, share your story with others. 

A healthy social life will bring you and your immediate family lot of happiness. If it’s not possible for you to leave the house, then invite people over to visit once or twice a week to visit, and don’t just talk about your disability, find out what’s going on in their lives. Order take-out food or encourage them to bring their favorite dish. A meal is a great excuse to get together with people and laugh and have fun. Be part of all the world and all it has to offer.

4. Just take a walk or go outside

Sunlight and fresh air is both curative and one of nature’s best gifts to us. If the weather permits, ride up the street in your wheelchair, or even just to the backyard. Go hiking on local trails. There are special wheelchairs constructed for all terrains, like the GIRT Freedom Wheelchair. There’s also websites that identify special handicap accessible hiking paths.

Fresh air, sun and wind will all change your mood, guaranteed. Just being outside will rev-up your daily outlook on life. However, if yoy’rere in a place where you can’t go outside, open the shades to the closest window and let the breeze in. This can be just as effective as going outside. Sitting in the dark 24/7 is no way to live. So next time you need an energy boost, just simply get some sun and watch how it positively affects your mood.


Check out this great video