Virtually the Latest and the Greatest!

By Jolene Montgomery

You come to the Abilities Expos to network, check out workshops, view the dancing … and see the latest and greatest products in the disability universe. Now, without donning a mask or leaving your couch, here's a preview of 5 New Products available at the Abilities Virtual Experience, perfect for gifting friends, family—and, of course, yourself!

ANKHGEAR

Have you ever had a life-or-death struggle with a zipper? Specifically, when you try to connect the zipper at the bottom of your jacket or – even worse – the jacket of a squirmy, wiggling, protesting kid?  Now try it with one hand, numb hands, shaking hands or hands you can't see.

ANKHGEAR  Zippers

Scott from ANKHGEAR felt your pain.  When Scott's Uncle Dave was having trouble zipping up his jackets, Scott, an inventor and engineer, came up with a better solution.  Working with his mother and a friend, they were able to build the first prototype and eventually developed and commercialized the first zipper innovation since the zipper was invented.

They could see there was a great market for people with limited hand function, arthritis, MS, Parkinson's, limited vision… and parents of squiggly children!  The MagZip zipper was born. The zipper has been incorporated into some large apparel brands over the past several years.
This summer, ANKHGEAR was launched – the new brand for apparel that includes MagZip.  ANKH is the symbol for life, and gear is what they do.  Bringing cool gear to improve your life – ANKHGEAR is here.  You can get the magnetic zipper their reasonably-priced clothing line, or you can buy the zippers and zipper components separately and DIY into your beloved clothing at home.  Or, if you are like me, hire a local tailor to do it.  See all ANKHGEAR's MagZip options at https://ankhgear.com/.

WOW Wonders on Wheels

When you speak to Justin Graham you feel energized even before you take his on-line exercise classes.  Justin exudes positivity, energy and seems to leap at life – no waiting for something to come to him.  Not for this guy!

WOW Wonders on Wheels

This is despite the sudden death of his beloved dad from covid, just a few weeks ago.  Justin's dad was his muse, and he developed the WOW wheelchair exercise program just for him, a T-7 paraplegic.  As Justin mourns his loss, WOW continues as a fitting monument for what his dad believed: health and happiness for all, including those in wheelchairs.

Classes range from $30 - $60/month and are available on the website: www.wowwheelchairfitness.com

Total Independence with Disabilities

Ashley Trujillo is the very busy mom of 5 girls, all between the ages of 7 &15.  One of her girls, Angelita, 11 years, is also a special needs child, born with spina bifida.  In her attempts not to spend all her time as a nagging, pesky mother, Ashleigh looked to technology. If you can ask Siri to choose a Bruno Mars song, why couldn't your iPhone also assist your child with daily tasks, like getting ready for the day or medical procedures?  Ashley found a way.

The program can help not only parent and child, but it can help to coordinate care with caregivers at school and work.  "We were very worried about what would happen if Angelita wasn't catheterized on a regular schedule at school.  We set up the program so that I was automatically informed when she started cathing AND of her urine output and heart rate in real time.  It was life changing!"

Total Independence with Disabilities

It proved to be more than just handy.  One day that the school's caregiver was out sick, and no one realized that Ashleigh had gone without being catheterized.  "I realized that I hadn't gotten a phone message from Angelita's program stating she started cathing.  I immediately phoned the school, and someone took care of Angelita right away.  Otherwise, how would I have known?"

Ashley's program is, for now, only available for Apple.    You can learn more about the app and contact Ashley directly at "Total Independence With Disabilities" email TIWDlife@gmail.com or website TIWDlife.com. 

VitaGlide

Hugh Stevenson, Olympian and member of the Rowing Hall of Fame, took one look at the Classic VitaGlide and saw the future.  His version of the unique exercise and strengthening machine, the new and improved VitaGlide, came out of a consortium of PT and SCI Professionals at the Miami Project, University of Miami Medical School.  "Everybody's looking for the solution to SCI," says Hugh when I catch up with him having a late dinner at his home on the East Coast,  "there's been a lot of battlefield input from Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan as well as car accidents.  In the end, stabilization is the key. "

Vitaglide

Stevenson, who has launched two adaptive rowing programs, recalls, "I came across this device while setting up a disabled rowing class.  My friend Nancy Olsen, a world-class wheelchair tennis player, said that I just had to see it.  I knew right away that I was looking at something great, but it needed some engineering.  That's where I come in."

With his background in industrial engineering, Stevenson is all set to make the new VitaGlide exactly the way he envisions it.  "When you open the box, you want to be looking at a shiny new penny.  And it is!  For a time, Covid stopped us, but now people are realizing the expediency of exercising at home."

In Hugh's never-to-be-boring opinion, most exercise machines are deadly dull, but the VitaGlide's computer touch screen and ability to exercise each side of the body separately, makes it the non-dull option among exercise equipment.

"The end result is a better life experience for those who are surviving whatever they are up against – M.S., stroke, Guillain-Barre, whatever. The anecdotal results derived from testing over the years is mind blowing." Stevenson states, remembering his years of training and working to train others.
Hugh Stevenson and his wife, Marcy Ullom, own the VitaGlide company, found at www.vitaglide.com

Handi Pac by Advanced Freedom

Finally, we come to a product with which I have a lot of experience, the Handi Pac carry bag.  This was recommended to me by a former Miss Wheelchair USA, who obviously does a lot of traveling.  The magic here is that the bag hangs in the front, resting on your feet and footplate, fastening to your chair with magnetic straps.

Handi Pac

The advantages are obvious: no one can steal anything off your lap; the weight is supported by your footplate; you can access all your stuff without twisting around in back of yourself.  Great for traveling!  But now that the pandemic has hit, travel isn't high on my list.  What do I do with my pretty red bag?

Laundry.  Ever tried to carry warm, folded, clean clothes from the front of the house to the back?  I defy you not to dump the pile from your lap to the floor.  Placed in the Handi Pac, it arrives unscathed and still clean.  The Handi Pac is also great for shopping.  I can bring the groceries from the car to the refrigerator in one trip - even the Chardonnay arrives unscathed!  To purchase your own or for more information, see https://www.advancedfreedom.com/

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