What Do FloorCurl, Urostat, Velochair & Ex n' Flex Have in Common? They All Went Virtual!
The event was groundbreaking! More than 80 companies and organizations met with more that 9,500 people from the disability community at the end of June. There was no need for masks, no social distancing and no temperature check because the Abilities Virtual Experience was 100% online.
After receiving a staggering number of questions about how people could still connect to their favorite companies and find new ones, we knew we needed to find a way to do our job—to be the community connection—especially during this unique time. If this were a live event, the aisles would have been packed. But since it was virtual, there was plenty of room and jammies with fuzzy slippers were not out of the question.
Here are just a few exhibitors from our rock star line up. We chose them because they are new to our audience, or because they are topical, or because they are just plain fun!
When Rock Solid Productions launched FloorCurl in 2009, it was a way to expand and market the sport of curling in schools. This obscure sport, native to Scotland, soon exploded in group homes, senior groups and community centers. Anywhere you have some smooth floor, you can now curl!
Then the Pandemic hit. Ramsey Blacklock, president of FloorCurl, relates, "All of our school programs were closed and events locked down."
Abbie Darnley, another officer of Rock Solid, chimes in, "The great thing about FloorCurl is that it can easily be social distanced to begin with! You can easily set it up, so people are six feet apart."
As an American, I am woefully ignorant of curling. I learned that the sliding teakettles are called 'stones' the flooring are 'sheets' and you don't throw the stones, you 'deliver' them.
As a wheelchair-user, how do I curl? Abby explains, "We have pusher-sticks for anyone who can't reach down to floor level. For the Abilities Virtual Experience, we put together a package specifically for wheelchair users. We discounted our packages for the show, too!"
Ramsey continues to educate me, "It can custom fit to whatever space you have. You can set up a one-way sheet so people can use less space and still deliver the stones."
"We have worked with special Olympics groups and community groups where we customized programs just for them!" Abby informs me. Awesome. Makes me want to curl!
Check them out online at www.floorcurl.com.
Another company that is new to our Abilities Expo's following is UroStat, a unique urological supply company. Started by Bert Burns, a C 6-7 quadriplegic, UroStat is known for its dedication to customer service. Bert says, "We want to get more involved in our community and support them in their goals. SCI is our bread and butter and a community that we've supported for years beyond UroStat."
Bert seeks out people with disabilities to be on the team, knowing that their understanding and direct knowledge of urological products helps deliver the best service.
Bert excitedly joined the Virtual Experience. "As a previous Paralympian medalist in wheelchair racing, I know firsthand how important it is to have goals and to feel supported. The events and workshops at the Expo offer worlds of possibilities for involvement. We wanted to interact with the community nationally, and a perfect way to do that was through the Abilities Expo platform."
UroStat can bill Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance. Find them online at https://urostathealthcare.com/.
When Founder/inventor Kenneth Simons was diagnosed with OPLL, a rare neurological disease, he couldn't walk or stand very long. What the medical profession offered him was, "Either a shoulder-straining manual wheelchair or fat-producing electric scooter," Ken remembers, a hint of distain in his voice. "I figured there has got to be a better tool. I couldn't find one, so I invented it!"
Ken continues, "In 2017 we commissioned a study of 3.3 million people who use traditional wheelchairs. Surprisingly, 2.9 million had use of at least one arm and one leg. That's all you need to power the Velochair."
Ken and his team (pictured above) found that when they exhibited at the live Abilities Expo, people who thought they couldn't use Velochair actually could use it.
"I invented the Velochair to develop my abilities, not focus on my disabilities. I wanted other people to experience my delight and enthusiasm. When they try the Velochair at the Abilities Expos, they have huge smiles on their faces!"
Kenneth's wife Wendy, a Physician Assistant of many years, speaks up: "When I was in school, it was about maximizing capacities instead of incapacities. After 25 years of technology and pills, doctors are now accustomed to taking the easy way out. We knew how to treat the whole person 25 years ago, and it's important to go back to that after this pandemic."
Kenneth agrees, "The Velochair is just fun, and it's ok to have fun! It has allowed me to go to my grandson's soccer game, grocery shopping with my wife, live my life. So, when the opportunity came to join a Virtual Expo we jumped on it."
Check out the Velochair at www.myvelochair.com.
Ex N' Flex
Have you ever wished a company would listen to your ideas and feedback? If so, then Ex 'N Flex is the exercise system for you. Developed in 1989 by family members of a stroke survivor, the machine has been lovingly saved and updated by Rob Clarke and his team.
"We are committed to continuing their legacy and have worked diligently to keep the passive exercise concept developing. Primary to our process is listening to the therapists and users of the Ex N' Flex machines."
Rob and his team are wise, holding to the 'if it ain't broke…" philosophy.
"We are committed to continuing the legacy of the creators. We have worked diligently, listening to therapists and users of the Ex N' Flex machines, to ensure that we hold true to their vision. We constantly hear from users who have been using the devices daily for the past 15 years, that they love to "Exnflex" daily. Our customers willingly share the benefits that they experience when it comes to their quality of life. They are the experts, and we respect that."
Ex N' Flex is one of the few systems that has equipment for both upper and lower body passive-active exercise.
"The inventors put a lot of thought and creativity into developing the original products. Their passion created an organization determined to help those affected from the limiting effects of disease and injury with a durable medical device suitable for both the institutional and in-home use." Rob says proudly.
"We were delighted for the opportunity to show our product globally at the Abilities Virtual Experience. We knew that once people saw it, they want to try it for themselves."
Visit them at https://exnflex.com/.
Pre-Register for Abilities Expo Today...It's Free!