Traveling with disabilities poses its own set of challenges. However, challenges can be overcome. That’s what makes this video so inspiring. Not one to let her paralysis keep her from enjoying an adventure, this paraplegic woman bungee jumped – with her wheelchair – off a bridge in Whistler, BC. The next time you’re feeling skittish about hitting the road, trying something new or testing your limits, remember this girl. I’m pretty sure she could kick my ass.
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British adventurer Andy Campbell isn’t big on making excuses, or letting a little thing like the fact that he can’t walk, get in the way of chasing his dreams. Eight years ago he fell while rock climbing, injuring his back and confining him to a wheelchair. Despite that horrible injury however, he continues to climb, ski, kayak, paraglide, and even scuba dive. And later this year, he intends to set out on his greatest adventure yet – a circumnavigation of the planet under his own power.
In June, Andy will depart from London and begin a 30,000 mile, 2-year long, journey that will begin with him crossing Europe and Asia in his wheelchair, paraglider, and kayak. Upon reaching the Pacific Ocean, he will then hop a flight to North America, and continue the expedition by traveling from Alaska to the southernmost tip of South America. Along the way, he intends to kayak the Missouri and Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico, and roll his specially designed wheelchair along the Pan-American Highway.
While the trip will certainly be its own reward, Campbell has other aspirations in mind as well. He hopes to raise as much as much as £1 million (roughly $1.54 million) for his fledgling Chutkara Initiative. This new charity is hoping to fund purchases of outdoor gear for disabled athletes who may not normally be able to afford those items themselves. For instance, an off-road wheelchair can cost as much as £2000 ($3085), while an adaptive climbing harness will run £900, or about $1388. By helping to provide that gear for the disabled, Any hopes to inspire them to get outside and experience their own adventures.
Campbell has been training for this challenge for awhile, and will be as physically fit as possible once the journey begins in a few months time. He’ll also be joined by a two-person support crew who will assist him as needed along the way and ensure that he safely makes it across some of the more challenging regions he’ll be traveling through.
This is a pretty inspiring endeavor and it should be interesting to follow his progress once he gets going.
An eight-year-old kid suffering from muscular dystrophy had a simple dream: to race through Central Park in a tutu surrounded by a group of supporters. After a tweet-a-thon, anchored on the hashtag #TutusForTanner (the kid’s name is Tanner) resulted in $25,000, he hopped a plane for New York. The trip ended with the discovery that his $15,000 wheelchair had been ruined during the flight.
Tanner was stranded. He couldn’t go anywhere without a replacement.
Air Canada promised an immediate remedy – who wouldn’t? – but hours passed and no wheelchair materialized at LaGuardia. And, the airline has said it can’t fix the situation until Monday. Tanner is not in Central Park. Rather, he’s stuck in a hotel bed, possibly for up to five days. Until Air Canada comes through, Tanner isn’t going anywhere.
Needless to say, Twitter is upset – well, specifically the people on Twitter. The folks who tweeted to send Tanner to Manhattan are now livid that Air Canada, according to TechEye.net, “has dashed the hopes of a dying child and ruined what could have been a joyous moment in his last remaining days.”Fortunately, the Twitter-verse seems to be focused on getting a replacement wheelchair for the kid, though it appears that the situation hasn’t been fixed yet. Notes the article, “The #TutusForTanner campaign is still ongoing, growing, and welcoming more support.” Meanwhile, Air Canada still hasn’t done anything, according to the report.
Screening airline passengers in a wheelchair has often been a bit of a hot topic. For some reason, people get wound up when they see the TSA searching every corner of a wheelchair, as if disabled people should automatically be trusted and allowed to pass through without a search of their chair.
The TSA understood this criticism, and decided to do a little research. As it turns out, people in a wheelchair are just as much of a threat as the rest of us, and screeners regularly find items hidden in a wheelchair.
Earlier this year, a passenger in wheelchair was arrested when agents found packages of cocaine. And just a month ago, agents found not one, but two loaded guns under the cushion of a wheelchair in Milwaukee. In this case, the gentleman had simply “forgotten” he still had them there, but this does show how easy it is to hide items like guns in a wheelchair.
So, next time you see the TSA give a disabled passenger in a wheelchair an enhanced search, just remember that anyone can attempt to bring unwelcome items on a plane, disabled or not.
Having the battery of an electronic item you take on board a flight, short-circuit and then burst into flames, doesn’t even come to your mind when you think about plane accidents.
Earlier this month, a wheelchair stored in the hold of a Boeing 727-200 First Choice flight carrying 229 passengers, let out blue sparks while being offloaded from the plane. The minute it was placed on a vehicle to be transported at Manchester Airport, it caught fire and exploded. Luckily, no one was injured. Thank goodness it didn’t happen on the plane. A similar incident happened in February last year, where a fire started aboard a plane because a camera battery short-circuited while in the overhead compartment.
The articles about this incident talk about passengers needing to be more vigilant when taking items on board. True, but I also think it’s the ground staff’s responsibility to fiercely spread awareness of things like this, and make their check-in and boarding procedures more stringent. Although the exact cause of the accident has not yet been found, assuming it was a short-circuit, it could have been avoided by making sure the battery was fixed properly and that there was no way for it to switch on automatically while in storage.
Talking about seemingly innocuous items causing serious damage on an aircrafts, you can’t help but think of mobile phones. Although told a million times, I still know people who do not switch their phones off on a flight, even if they don’t use them. They forget, or don’t realize the importance of doing so. I haven’t heard of any planes crashing or catching fire due to a mobile phone, but if it can happen with a camera and a wheelchair, I imagine that things can happen with a mobile phone.
How can airlines be stricter? Perhaps when baggage is being screened, they should ask passengers to remove batteries from all electronic devices. But then you can’t be assured that the passenger won’t put the battery right back in. Other than spreading awareness through publicity, what’s the solution? Rely on the passenger’s consciousness?