Sunday, September 11, 2011


One Week To Go!

InclusionFest featuring the Wheel-A-Thon is now only one week away. A year ago we set out with the vision to create Indiana's premier disability awareness event. We asked people with disabilities what such an event would look like to them. The people we spoke to said they would want to see things like adaptive sports, interactive educational activities, music, art, food, assistive technology, and access to support services, service providers, and equipment suppliers, etc. We've tried to do just that.

accessABILITY - Center for Independent Living, Inc. is hosting InclusionFest, which is a free event, on Saturday, September 17th, at Christian Park (4200 English Ave.), from 10am to 4pm. The event will begin at 10am with the Wheel-A-Thon, which is accessABILITY's major fund raiser for the year. There will be wheelchairs on hand for everyone, including non-wheelchair users, to participate. If you want to take part in the Wheel-A-Thon, but can't be there at 10am, we will have a second "heat" starting at 11am. All of the funds raised through the Wheel-A-Thon go directly to accessABILITY, which is a non-profit that provides free Independent Living services to all people, of all ages, in Central Indiana with any type of disability. During these tough economic times, this organization is also an important partner in reducing the cost to taxpayers by helping people with severe disabilities avoid unnecessary institutionalization; one study estimates that in 2010 the State of Indiana realized over $26 in savings for every dollar spent supporting centers for independent living.

Most of the fund raising takes place before the event through on-line donations. All Staff members and Board members at accessABILITY establish teams on-line and are supposed to ask friends, family, professional contacts, etc., to consider making a donation to their individual team, joining the team and asking others to donate, or forming their own team to help raise funds. My team is Rebellion on Wheels (the name comes from my obsession with Star Wars), and this year I originally set my goal at $1000.00. Thanks to the amazing generosity of several friends and family members, we surpassed that goal many weeks ago, so I raised my goal to $2000.00. With just a week left, Rebellion on Wheels has raised $1542.00 for accessABILITY, and I'm hopeful that we will still beat the $2000.00 mark by Friday!

I'd like to thank the following people for donating to my team. These are all people whom I consider friends and family. What's interesting to me, is that many of these people are friends from long ago who I haven't seen since High School, several of whom live out of state. Whether they have chosen to make their donations out of recognition of the value that this organization provides to the community, or a desire to support me in this endeavor, I am deeply touched and appreciative. Thanks to all of you!

Cindy Reeves (my Godmother and Aunt)
John and Rebecca Klein
Nathan Blanchet
Herb Budden
Ali and Drew Carlson
Laikeya Watson
Jessica White
Keith Olson
Melissa Miller
Laurel Sorenson
Mick and Debbie Peek
Joy Rogers
Mark Hatfield
Ron and Kathy Gifford
Community Tissue Services (Dr. David Smith, CEO, and Diane Wilson, COO)
Susanne McAlister
Jo Ann Hatfield
Han Solo (my childhood hero, and apparently the pseudonym of my good friend Nate France!)
Debra Lein
Matt and Betsy Demmings
Patricia Warriner (my Mom, and I'm assuming Dad was involved too)
Maggie and Jack Herring
Amputee Care Center (Mark and Jeri D'Amico - Mark is my Prosthetist)
Gabe Polt
Matt and Sarah Holland
Amanda Melpolder and Jaki Levy
Harry and Lilla Kuper
Laura Pitts
Gayla Pitts
Rev. Tony Clark
Beth Ann Heiny
Ron Ellis
Merrilinda and Skeets Griffin
and 3 individuals who chose to remain anonymous

All donations make a huge impact, no matter how large or small. If you are interested in making a donation through my team, simply click on Rebellion on Wheels, which will take you to my team page where you will see the Rebel Alliance emblem from Star Wars. Once you are there, click on the "Sponsor Our Team" button.

If you are in the Indianapolis area next Saturday, please consider coming to InclusionFest. This is our first year, and we really have no idea what to expect. As it is a free event, we can't even begin to estimate how many people will attend, but we hope to attract as many as 700 people. So, even if you can't make it, please share the info about this event with anyone you know who is in the area. Here's a list of the day's activities. Hope to see you there!

-Wheel-A-Thon (10am to noon)
-Live Music (throughout the day)
-Sports demonstrations (various sports from noon till 3:30pm)
          -Wheelchair Tennis
          -Inferno Power (wheelchair) Soccer
          -Beepball Baseball (for people who are blind)
          -Indy Brawlers Quad Rugby
-Kids Area (10am - 4pm w/adult supervision) including:
          -face painting
          -balloon animals
          -kids games and activities
-Vendor area (10am to 4pm) including:
          -support services for people with disabilities
          -Community Art Project (hands on)
          -disability related equipment supply vendors, etc.
-Workshops including:
          -Financial Literacy
          -Caregiver Support
          -Accessible and Affordable Housing
-Additional Demonstrations including:
          -Self Defense Demonstrations
          -Wheelchair Ballroom Dancing demonstrations
          -Assistive Technology demonstrations
          -Service Dog demonstrations
          -Adaptive vehicle demonstrations
-Two food trucks including West Coast Tacos

Oh, and if you were interested in getting one of the cookbooks that were published to help raise money for my prosthetic needs, but didn't have an opportunity to get one, now's your chance.  They will be available for $15.00 in the vendor area!

We are also in need of volunteers to help us ensure this event is a success. If you have any interest in volunteering for this event, please contact accessABILITY at (317) 926-1660.

The other great news is that after Saturday, no more fund raising stuff on the blog for about a year.  Teaser for next time:  Finishing a project that I started over 20 years ago!

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