The Power And the Passion, Does a Disability Take Them Away? Hell No

Men and women? What makes one feminine and the other strong?  No one ever really gets it right, but moms tell the girls it means frills, girlie, and   sexy and soft, and dad told the boys a man is strong active, masculine and brave, a protector of all that is his.

 So what happens when a strong tough soldier loses both legs in Iraq, or dad dives into a pool and breaks his neck how does he emotionally handle having to have everyone else do everything for him? He doesn’t, you work out a balance and you get back as much as you can.You do as much as you can and you achieve above and beyond with your pluses and the few things  you have left you just let happen, look at it as they put the fuel in you so the rest can be excellent. The picture below shows how disability is no barrier to excellence.

Girls, your hot your popular, your beautiful your sensual and you have the world at your feet and the suitors at your heels, and then horror happens you become a double amputee or paraplegic or quadriplegic. You think your world has ended, and your no longer sexy no longer feminine and no longer attractive, think again your beauty is within and it comes out of your heart and your soul. Well  the picture below is centre fold hot extremely feminine and beautiful by anyones standard and oh yeah she also is a double amputee

. Take these visions to your mind, use them as a bench mark, as proof anything can be yours limbs or no limbs, wheelchair or not power comes from within what will you choose to do with yours?

Shivani Gupta, Director of AcessAbility, ventures into the mountainous region of Ladakh with Travel Another India on her wheelchair. She writes about her experience.

 

The Himalayas on a wheelchair!

Accessible Ladakh

Untravel Stories, 04 Aug 2011


Making it on top of the highest motorable pass

This story comes from our partner, Travel Another India.

After a long seven month break from work, I was looking forward to the project in Leh, to assist in the development of Leh and its surrounding areas as an inclusive travel destination. Leh, the capital of Ladakh, falls within the boundaries of Jammu & Kashmir. Areawise, it is the largest district in India, and is located at an altitude of 3500 m from sea level. It is commonly referred to as a cold desert.

All my friends warned me about altitude sickness and harsh weather conditions that I was bound to face there. I felt nervous on hearing stories of people returning back from the airport due to altitude sickness, but was still determined to go.

Jungkwa Shrungkyob

The project was commissioned by a social venture ‘Travel Another India’ (TAI) in collaboration with a local NGO ‘People’s Action Group on Inclusion & Disability’ (PAGIR) working towards developing an inclusive travel circuit in Ladakh, that is accessible to people using wheelchairs. This is the first time in India that “inclusion” at travel destinations is being worked for professionally by organizations. Clearly, they considered it a profitable commercial venture rather than mere charity.

Pangong lake

Leh can be accessed by road via Srinagar or Manali in the summers. This route is open for about five months in a year. Alternatively there are daily flights to Leh. I flew to Leh and was there for almost a week to visit and audit all tourist attractions in and around its vicinity, from April 12 to 18, 2010. While the actual tourist season begins only in May, there were already a large number of tourists who were attracted to Leh especially after seeing the breathtaking Pangong Lake in the recent movie ‘Three Idiots’.
                                                                                                                        
The Leh Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport, is one of the highest airports in the world, and is managed by the Indian Army. Though quite like the Delhi airport, there was no ambulift available at the airport. The ground transport to and fro from the aircraft is provided by small buses that are completely inaccessible. The ground handling staff pushed my wheelchair all the way from the aircraft to the airport. The airport is step free with a couple of steep ramps in places. There is no accessible toilet as expected.

The local taxis that are available are high, four-wheel drive vehicles, ranging from Innova, Scorpio to a Sumo. Smaller cars may be good for travelling within Leh city, but to travel around Leh a larger vehicle is a must. Being a tetraplegic, getting in and out of the Innova was very difficult for me, probably more difficult than negotiating with the architectural inaccessibility of all monuments! My trip would not have been possible if it were not for the impeccable hospitality extended by PAGIR locally. All credit goes to Kunzang (Secretary, PAGIR) and Kunzes (Cordinator, Himalaya on Wheels) and the driver Ehzaaz who accompanied me everywhere and assisted me at every step. 

Accessible Ladakh

Predominantly a Buddhist region, Ladakh is also known as the land of Gompas (monasteries). Every village has its own Gompa in a secluded area away from the village, generally on a hilltop. Most Gompas have a large number of steps, but some with fewer steps include the Alchi Gompa, Shey Gompa, and the Likir Chamba where the deity of Buddha (70 feet high) can be viewed from the road itself. 

I was truly excited when I saw that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) working towards making the Alchi Gompa accessible, as it is an 11th century monastery. Besides being the oldest in Ladakh, it is soon to become a World Heritage Site. The work was on, and an engineer from ASI was on site supervising the work. Though the ramps that they were constructing were rather steep, but still it was wonderful to see that ASI’s policy of making monuments accessible is truly taking shape. Some expert advice before making the changes would help them further, and avoid undesirable flaws such as the steep ramps.

The natural beauty of Ladakh is incomparable. Being a wheelchair user, I tend to enjoy natural beauty as it is usually more accessible than man-made monuments which are comparatively inaccessible. Leh’s natural beauty is so magnificent and overpowering, that it completely humbles you and spreads a sense of peace and calm. No wonder I survived so well, without mobile connectivity and without worrying about time comfortably for those six days. Each mountain in this dry land is of a different colour. Each view is such that you would want to photograph it. Two significant tourist locations are Khardungla pass, the world’s highest motorable road, and the Pangong Lake, a 134 km long lake extending from India to China. Being nature’s gifts, both these places are fully accessible, but unfortunately the man-made restrooms in both these places are inaccessible.

As a person who enjoys travel and adventure, I would love to return to Leh in spite of a few discomforts. As an access consultant, I would have to say that there is a lot of work to be done before we can term Leh as an inclusive destination.

While accessibility is the key to the mainstreaming of people with disabilities, Ladakh is an untouched land when it comes to issues like accessibility for persons with disabilities. It is only due to organizations like ‘Travel Another India’ who are working towards creating an accessible travel circuit in Ladakh, that will bring initiate such a paradigm shift in the society with the local leadership and support of PAGIR. I wish them good luck and persevering strength in all their projects

You can’t do Crazy Things in a Wheelchair, Without a Mind blowing set Of Wheels Made by the Best. Here is some Of the Best Builders.

Below Is the Link to Colours wheelchairs the go to people for cool rides in North America.

http://www.colourswheelchair.com/idx_products.htm

Want cool and off road tough? Lasher sports brings it every time.

http://lashersport.com/

Road racing, Basketball, Wheelchair rugby these are the people to see, top end wheelchairs http://www.topendwheelchair.com/

Another great sports chair builder, Eagle sports chairs

http://www.eaglesportschairs.com/rugby2.html

Here are the Australian Builders to go to

Mogo wheelchairs Are Australia’s cool rides specialists

http://www.mogowheelchairs.com.au/

Surgical engineering co. Queensland

http://www.sureng.com.au/

The chairs makers above on two continents  both of which I call home are the people that put the mind blowing wheels under the asses of the best Para- Olympians and disabled extreme sports competitors in the world these are just a few enjoy the wheelie eye candy .

Disabled veteran Says Airline Left Her to Sit in Own Urine

reposted from a story By Harriet Baskas, msnbc.com contributor

 
A disabled Army veteran claims she was forced to sit in urine-soaked clothing because American Airlines personnel delayed getting her off an airplane at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
 
Wheelchair user Dawn Wilcox told msnbc.com that she was flying from New York to Dallas on Saturday morning on her way home to Killeen, Texas, after attending a friend’s funeral. She said she informed the flight attendants shortly before landing that she needed to be taken off the plane first so that could go to the bathroom.
 
“They landed and started letting people off,” said Wilcox. “I said, ‘Ma’am, I’m really about to go in my pants.’ I was almost in tears. They’d already let three quarters of the people off and it was too late, I’d already wet my pants.”
 
Wilcox said when she did get into a wheelchair and off the plane, she was told by an airline supervisor that there was an aisle chair onboard and that she could have used the lavatory on the plane. “But no one told me about that,” said Wilcox. “It was never offered to me.”
 
In a statement about the incident, American Airlines said it reached out to Wilcox and apologized to her for her “discomfort and overall experience with us.” But American Airlines spokesperson Tim Smith said the airline is continuing to look into this event because flight attendants reported a different version of the story.
 
“Our flight attendant offered an onboard wheelchair to Ms. Wilcox to use to access the lavatory,” said Smith, “But she declined in favor of her own wheelchair.”
 
Wilcox said once inside the airport, an airline supervisor offered to let her use a club room shower to clean up. “But I didn’t have any clothing to change into and they would not give me anything. Instead they wanted to give me a food voucher or a $100 credit to fly another time.”
Eric Lipp, executive director of the Chicago-based Open Doors Organization, an advocacy organization for travelers with disabilities, said onboard aisle chairs are commonly used by travelers with disabilities.
 
On its website, the Department of Transportation clearly defines the responsibilities of travelers, airlines and airports to meet the needs of disabled fliers.

Want The Wheels Under Your Ass To Roll You Around The World?

The pic Below Is From My Beloved Australia, before I became Disabled back in the eighties and nineties I worked In the restaurant and hotel Industry in the land down under. Back In the good old days  in  the Average Australian Hotel,Pub or Bar and Restaurant the Definition   of access was allowing everyone the ability to reach  the beer!
Now I’m so proud that My beloved Oz is leading the disabled access for tourists fight, ONYA OZ ONYA!!!!
escape disability

Wheelchair bungee jumping in Cairns, Queensland. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

TOURISM operators worldwide have begun catering for an increasing group of travellers, those with disabilities and the ageing, and many Australians have taken the lead.

There’s no denying Australians love to travel but for some it can be more of a challenge than for others.

Tourism facilities for people with disabilities have improved greatly over the past decade or so, but with an ageing population it’s becoming more important than ever.

Bruce Cameron, from Easy Access Australia, says people with disabilities can feel enormous anxiety before going on a holiday somewhere new.

“It can be hard to get information and when you do, you don’t always know if it’s correct,” he says.

Tourism researcher Simon Darcy, Associate Professor at UTS Business School, says it is a great opportunity for

Australian tourism operators to position themselves for a competitive advantage.

 

“Sometimes you pay $500 a night for an accessible room only to look at the back laneway when everyone else is looking at Sydney Harbour. Some hotels complain the accessible rooms don’t get used very much but when we look at them we think ‘no wonder’.”

Here are some destinations that have made steps in the right direction.

1 Port Stephens, NSW
This region, which is about a two-hour drive north of Sydney, has been acclaimed for its attractions and accommodation catering to people with disabilities.

More than half of the guests who stay at O’Carrollyn’s Eco Resort, at One Mile Beach, have some kind of disability and 20 per cent are in wheelchairs. The resort offers roll-in access to units, accessible bathrooms, concrete pathways through bush and has a pool with a hoist.

It also has a special “Gator” vehicle which transports wheelchair-using guests to the beach, where wheelchair users can use O’Carrollyn’s special, thick-wheeled wheelchairs ideal for all terrain beach wheelchairs.

Port Stephens also has a wheelchair-friendly dolphin watch boat, the Tamboi Queen. Little Beach at Nelson Bay also offers access to the water via a dedicated wheelchair ramp.
Ph 1800 808 900 or see www.portstephens.org.au

2 Hawaii
Darcy says Hawaii is a “fantastic” destination for people with disabilities.

Atlantis Cruises has wheelchair-friendly tours on Oahu’s Windward Coast, with boarding ramps provided, while non-profit organisation AccesSurf Hawaii helps people with disabilities enjoy the water with tandem surfboards, wave skis and specially designed shoreline flotation equipment.

Travel agency Access Aloha Travel specialises in organising trips for people with disabilities.

All 1021 villas at the Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas in Maui are accessible by lift and there are ramps leading from lobby areas to the outdoor pools and beach, and accessible shuttle buses. One of the resort’s pools has a special chair to lower guests into it.
See www.accessalohatravel.com

3 Bali, Indonesia
One option for people with disabilities is Villa G at Ellora, which is in a group of 11 villas in a quiet location just off the well-known Danau Tamblingan St. The villa, about 10 minutes from Denpasar and 30 minutes from Kuta, has no steps and the pool has a large pool hoist for guests with limited mobility and a hand rail for those who use the steps.

Two rooms have been adapted for guests in wheelchairs, with 1.8m wide shower entrances.

Bali Access Travel specialises in accessible wheelchair travel in Bali, Java and Lombok, equipment hire, a home care service and airport transfers.

It can also arrange diving and snorkelling for people with disabilities and a three-night accessible safari in East Java and scuba diving in east Bali.
See www.baliaccesstravel.com or www.disabledholidaysbali.com

4 South Pacific cruise
Cruise companies are catering more and more for people with disabilities.

Australian-based P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises ships have several wheelchair accessible cabins, including some wonderful wheelchair accessible suites.

The ships also have ramps and lifts throughout. The Sun Princess and the Dawn Princess have 19 accessible rooms, the Pacific Sun has 14 and the Pacific Dawn has 13.

All Australian-based P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises ships also have special devices to alert and communicate with hearing-impaired passengers.

The Pacific Sun, Sun Princess and Dawn Princess have cabin directories in Braille, which can be obtained from the Purser’s Desk upon embarkation, and Braille in elevators.

But Darcy warns that many destinations in the South Pacific may not cater well for people with disabilities on island visits.

“You might be able to get off at three quarters of the stops in the South Pacific you’re getting the cruise experience but not getting the on-shore experience,” he says.

5 Cairns, Qld
For those wanting to see the Great Barrier Reef, Quicksilver Cruises offers many services for people with disabilities recently it even took a blind man scuba-diving.

It has a water-powered chair lift at its outer reef platform that can lower people into the water.

The Pullman Reef Hotel Casino has three accessible rooms with prime water views.

Wheelie Easy Pty Ltd (wheelie easy.com.au), based in the Cairns region, also can help disabled tourists in north Queensland.

Darcy says Cairns and Palm Cove, in particular, have done some fantastic work with the accessibility of their urban environment.

“It’s a good quality, accessible tourism precinct,” he says.

6 Uluru, NT
All restaurants and bars, hotel reception areas, the town square and shops at Ayers Rock Resort have access for wheelchairs.

Sails in the Desert Hotel has 11 assisted rooms, Desert Gardens Hotel has 10, the Lost Camel Hotel has four and Outback Pioneer Hotel has three.

The Sounds of Silence dinner tour is suitable for people with disabilities, with special transfers arranged to the site with prior notice.

AAT Kings has wheelchair-friendly coaches which can accommodate collapsible wheelchairs.

The base walking tracks at Uluru are also accessible.

Wheelchairs also fit on to the resort shuttle and there is a ramp leading on to it at the front of the bus.

7 Phillip Island, Victoria
This popular tourist destination has several accessible accommodation options and attractions.

The famous Penguin Parade at Ventnor has ramp access and wide manual doors are left open during summer and at viewing time.

Displays are also visible from wheelchair height and a wheelchair is available free of charge for visitors with limited mobility.

For accommodation, Wheelies Rest, at Smiths Beach, is a purpose-built 11-bed house suitable for all wheelchair users. Alvina Holiday Cottage, at Ventnor, has two and three-bedroom self-contained units with lever doorhandles throughout, hi/lo hospital beds, hoists and a beach wheelchair.
More: www.visitphillipisland.com

8 Sydney, NSW
The Harbour City has a dedicated website, sydneyforall.com, for people with disabilities and several tourist attractions have made inroads in the area. BridgeClimb offers services for the vision and hearing-impaired, including Auslan Climbs in which climbers are accompanied by an Australian Sign Language interpreter who interprets the commentary about Sydney and its world-famous Bridge.

The Art Gallery of NSW offers several access programs, including free Auslan-interpreters for groups of visitors who are deaf and who book at least two weeks in advance.

It also has a free program called In Touch at the Gallery which offers guided sensory tours for people who are blind or vision-impaired, allowing them to experience the tactile qualities of bronze and marble.

It can be hard to find accessible rooms with a view, but the Shangri-La and InterContinental hotels and the YHA in The Rocks all offer these.
See www.sydneyforall.com

9. Hong Kong
WITH accessible trains and stations and plenty of accessible rooms, Hong Kong is a popular choice for people with disabilities. Several years ago, its building code was revised to state that for every 100 hotel rooms, two rooms must be accessible for people with disability. Easy Access Travel, a subsidiary of the Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation, provides services through its Rehabus and Easy-Access bus and offers recreational activities for people with disabilities. Novotel New Century and the YHA are both accommodation options worth considering.
See www.easyaccesstravelhk.com

10. London, UK
IN the lead-up to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, there has been a huge surge in improvements for people with disabilities and new accessible areas such as Southbank in London. The city also has its own accessibility website called Inclusive London which is dedicated to showing all accommodation, attractions and bars and restaurants which are fully accessible.
See www.inclusivelondon.com

Stand Up or Get Naked & Bend Over!!!!

Well folks we made it home in one piece, barely! After a disgusting  flight back from Australia to New York on Qantas (that’s another story for another time).  We arrived at Los Angeles Airport to connect flights to New York  City, a Qantas special services assistant escorted me and my spouse through customs and baggage pickup to security where I was immediately met with an aggressive officer who treated me like a criminal and told me to stop talking when I was merely asking which aisle should I roll into as neither would fit my wheelchair.
After being gruffly pushed through a aisle that was barely as wide as my chair, a large African American TSA female officer asked me could I stand. I told her “no,”  I had limited mobility. She then told me, “but you have to lift yourself completely so we can search your chair.” Bewildered, I informed her I travel regularly and was usually asked to lean forward and hold my thighs so they could check behind me, then outstretch my arms, lean left then right so they could check the sides of my chair and between my body and the frame. In response to that she called a supervisor and told them I was refusing to co-operate and stand up so she wanted a cavity search. Really?  She was requesting a private room where I would be told to strip and agree to a nude search.
I nervously made a joke saying “could we at least date or you buy me dinner before we got naked.” She  didn’t get the joke.  I kept repeating “I’m cooperating fully, if you bring a chair here I’ll transfer and you can search my wheelchair.” I was told to be quiet or I was going to be stripped in a private room. I luckily had a witness from Qantas Special Services (which is a division any disabled person should know of and always ask for as they exist only as special help for the disabled travellers). If that witness wasn’t there I doubt anyone would believe this drama ever happened. I’m not nearly the only one nor the worst example of this.
1/ Recently a quadraplegic Iraq Vet arrived at an US airport and was forced out of his chair by TSA and made to crawl through the scanning machine, as they didn’t believe he was disabled and therefore would not let him board his flight until he was screened to their satisfaction.

At this stage, I asked for a supervisor and only after 15 minutes of being threatened with the degradation of being lifted out of my chair, placed on a exam bench naked and have every body cavity invaded did a senior female excuse the aggressive TSA officer and do the very search I was used to whenever I travelled.

So the government is hiring people who, as this women admitted in front of witnesses, do not understand why people use wheelchairs, and thinks we just like wheeling instead of walking and we better bloody well jump up when told or bend over and grab the table.

What are we meant to do TSA?

Are we magically meant to be cured?

If you can pull that off please tell the medical community, because if you think for one moment we want these damn wheels and we want someone to lift us in and out of bed like roast out of an oven, if you think the most disabled of us want someone else to wash us and wipe our ass, you’re as stupid as the people you are employing.
We are intelligent people who when presented with these situations try to make YOUR job easy because when it is so become our lives.

My suggestion is this TSA,

1/put the TSA officers in a room with doctors who specialize in spinal injuries and neurological disorders, actual disabled people representing the different forms of illness that make a person wheelchair bound and don’t let them out until they have spent a day being trained.

2/Keep then in that room until they understand the different needs of different people, and how to respectfully do their job while allowing us to keep our dignity. This isn’t rocket science but apparently it is a mystery to some.

In closing we are not asking for special consideration, We already know that terrorist groups regularly straps bombs on disabled people as suicide bombers and that some criminals will go to amazing extents to use even a wheelchair to conceal drugs and weapons so of course we should be checked. The question is should our dignity be the price we are asked to surrender if we want to travel, or have to for work? Clearly the answer is NO!

So TSA, get it right and through your skulls, if I can’t walk and I can’t stand you can strip me naked as often as you want but I won’t bend over for you or anybody no matter how pretty blue the latex gloves are!

Respect our Existance or Expect our Resisitance