Monthly Archives: April 2018

Spinalpedia’s Spring 2018 Newsletter

Spring 2018 Newsletter

Indoor Skydiving All-Abilities Night – April 30th

Spring is here! We’re  bringing people on adaptive adventures very soon. On April 30th at iFLY Indoor Skydiving in Loudoun, Virginia, we’re taking a group of people with SCI to iFLY’s “All-Abilities” night. Registration is full. To experience this adrenaline-fueled activity in the future, email us at spinalpedia@gmail.com.

SCI News: The Latest So Far in 2018

We’re dedicated to sharing the latest in SCI news on our social media platforms. Since the start of 2018 we’ve posted several exciting SCI-related links and news. We’ve chosen two of the most popular news links for our Spring newsletter (below). Follow us on Facebook for the latest in SCI News!

 

BioArctic Human Trials Are Underway

Nerve grafts have become a major area of spinal cord injury research and an exciting trial from BioArctic, a company in Sweden, is currently underway in Estonia. And a very exciting detail: They’re using humans to test the viability of their research.

Specifically, they’re using a biodegradable device that’s implanted into the spinal column and filled with FGF1, a growth factor that helps with neural regeneration and healing. Patients from Sweden, Norway and Estonia are currently only allowed in the trial. Learn more about this study here.

Google Maps Finally Adds Wheelchair Routes

People who use wheelchairs have long complained about Google Maps’ lack of accessible routes and it seems Google has finally listened. In select cities, wheelchair-users can now scope out the fastest accessible routes.

To find an accessible pedestrian route, go to “Directions” > “Options” and click the option: “Wheelchair Accessible.” Only New York, Tokyo, London, Mexico City, Sydney and Boston currently have this accessibility feature, but more cities will have it soon.

The Tax Cut & Jobs Act: What People with Disabilities Should Know

In 2017, President Trump signed The Tax Cut & Jobs Act, which includes changes that are making many in the disability community concerned. One of the most significant changes to the tax structure is the change in the corporate tax rate, dropping from 35% to 21%. This deficit is so big that many people with SCI are worried cuts to important state funded services like Medicaid, Medicare and SSI could occur.

The Senate voted to lower the Medical Deduction threshold from 10% to 7.5%, another worry, and they allowed the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to expire. To see all of the changes to expect this tax season for people with disabilities, visit our blog post on the topic here.

Spinalpedia Helps Pass Law for Maryland Workers with Disabilities

Josh Basile, founder of Spinalpedia, recently helped pass a bill (SB 660, HB 1280) that enables Maryland citizens with disabilities make a higher income and still keep their Medicaid-paid nursing and PCA services. He advocated heavily for the bill that was passed on the last day of their state legislature.

We at Spinalpedia couldn’t be more proud. Learn more about the bill and watch an interview with Josh with NBC News here.

SCI Superstar: Vahen King

A spinal cord injury always comes when you least expect it. For Vahen King, her paralysis arrived at one of the happiest times of her life – an engagement – but she hasn’t let it stop her. She’s the first ever Ms. Wheelchair Canada, a published author and she works as a certified life coach and ordained minister. Reaching these goals post-injury wasn’t easy however. Vahen had to fight some serious personal demons.

Her inner-perseverance is quite extraordinary. What makes Vahen’s story unique is that it’s laced with a faith component and a love story; a man (who’s now her husband) who’s been with her the entire way. Now full of direction and determined to help the world anyway she can, she’s become a force on wheels you will never forget. Read on to learn the full story of Vahen King.

Why She’s Fearless?

A resident of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Vahen’s faith has been the biggest determiner of her life. A life-long Christian, she fell in love with Jesus as a little girl, and by the time she graduated from high school in 1992, she had decided to attend a popular bible college. While she was in school, true love struck. She met a man and 9 months later they were engaged. A week after their engagement however, Vahen found herself paralyzed.

After being rushed to the ER, she WAS diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis. Suddenly, Vahen was paralyzed from the chest down. Only 24 years old at the time, she was in shock and angry with God. She did gain a significant amount of function back and is now (function-wise) an incomplete paraplegic, but Vahen uses a wheelchair most of the day (although she can stand and walk short distances).

After her injury, she doubted herself and asked her fiancé if he still wanted her. He replied, “God gave you to me. I am not going to send you back.” They married, but shortly afterwards the couple began to encounter difficulties. Vahen had a miscarriage, and after graduating from college, she didn’t feel grounded. Someho, Vahen overcame her depression by restoring her faith, and was able to become a certified life coach as well and an ordained minister. Vahen is now focused on helping others.

She also wrote an autobiography in 2016 called Going Farther in fact. Her book chronicles her injury and journey afterwards. Vahen is also a motivational speaker and makes videos that give great how-to/coping advice to SCI survivors. Her YouTube channel can be found below.

Vahen is such a positive force of energy that she also won the first ever Ms. Wheelchair Canada pageant last year. She represented her country in Poland at the Miss Wheelchair World pageant last Fall. While she did not place in the top three, Vahen did win the Miss Kindness Award, which if you ask us is just as good.

What’s Next?

Vahen is now loving life more than ever before these days. She keeps busy running her own ministry, a life coach business and she keeps a tight speaking schedule. Becoming Ms. Wheelchair Canada opened up many avenues of connecting with the media and to the world. Vahen tries to release a new video each month and she works out at home/does PT at-home often. She loves sharing her incomplete skills in these videos like walking, riding a tricycle and walking down stairs.

Vahen also sings at her ministry’s weekly service, spreading her positive energy that method as well. No matter how you encounter Vahen’s spirit, she has the ability to lift you up in some way. So many people with paralysis can be surrounded by dark energy. Her profound spirit is one to behold. And we are thrilled she’s sharing more via video.

The world could always use a few more Vahen Kings. She is truly an original.

– Visit her site: VahenKing.com
– Visit her video channel: Vahen King

Our Favorite Vahen Videos:

Contagious Courage – Intro – Vahen King

THIS IS YOUR STORY – Vahen King

Miss Wheelchair Canada

Discovering the Power in me – by Vahen King