WBEZ | disabilities http://www.wbez.org/tags/disabilities Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en 'Valor Games' for disabled veterans to begin http://www.wbez.org/news/valor-games-disabled-veterans-begin-108375 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Vets 130812 AY.JPG" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Hundreds of veterans and service members are set to compete in the annual Valor Games Midwest.</p><p dir="ltr">The event for the disabled begins Monday and ends Wednesday. Competitions include cycling, archery, powerlifting and indoor rowing.</p><p dir="ltr">The event is geared toward veterans or active service members who have been wounded or are ill. The first Valor Games started in Chicago two years ago, with events spreading to San Francisco, San Antonio and Durham, North Carolina.</p><p>Chicago&rsquo;s sponsors include the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Chicago Park District. Organizers say about 220 participants have registered for this year&rsquo;s games. Among those participating is Air Force Sergeant Israel Del Toro, or DT.</p><p>A bomb exploded under his truck eight years ago in Afghanistan. Del Toro lost fingers on both hands, had over 130 surgeries, got skin grafts for most of his body and wears a brace on his right leg. But for the next few days, he&rsquo;s cycling, powerlifting, and competing in the discus and shotput contests.</p><p>&ldquo;I thought all throughout my therapy, I could never work out at free weights, and when they encouraged me, &lsquo;Come on DT, try it, try it,&rsquo; I ended up winning gold in it,&rdquo; &nbsp;Del Toro says. &ldquo;That first Valor Games, I always say, that was the first time I actually got under a bench and started working out again.&rdquo;</p><p>Four years ago, Del Toro was the first disabled airman to re-enlist. For veterans who have left the military, he says the games can help them regain part of that experience.</p><p>&ldquo;They can start acting like they&rsquo;re back in the military, tell the same jokes they used to, pick on each other, &lsquo;cause that&rsquo;s just the camaraderie you don&rsquo;t get anywhere else,&rdquo; he says.</p><p>Howard Wilson, a retired Marine Corps veteran, agrees. After leaving the Marine Corps, he lost most of his vision through glaucoma, a disease that damages the optic nerve. He has competed at all three Valor Games in Chicago, and says despite the competition, everyone was working together at his first competition.</p><p>&ldquo;You had competitors, but everybody was still on the same side. We egged each other on, we made such each other do our best,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;The disability just opened up a new chapter in my life. I knew my vision was getting worse, I got depressed, started thinking about what I couldn&rsquo;t do. You see things slipping away: driving, your independence, you don&rsquo;t have to stop yourself from doing what you were doing initially, you just have to find other ways of doing it.&rdquo;</p><p>He says he is reinventing himself through sport, and hopes to qualify for the US Paralympic wrestling team.</p><p>Sport makes it easier to cope with injuries and depression, says retired Army Sergeant Noah Galloway. He was hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq and lost his left arm above the elbow and his left leg above the knee. He has since run two marathons and a series of races, including two <a href="http://toughmudder.com/">&ldquo;Tough Mudder&rdquo;</a> obstacle course races. He gets sponsored to run, but doesn&rsquo;t call himself a professional athlete. He says veterans just need to start participating.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve been at the bottom. I&rsquo;ve suffered the depression. I wanted nothing more than to have my arm and leg back, but when I accepted the fact that this is who I am, and I got up, and I got back in shape, and I started taking care of myself, everything turned around,&rdquo; Galloway says. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re not looking for Paralympian athletes, we&rsquo;re looking to take care of our veterans.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Alan Yu is a WBEZ metro desk intern. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/Alan_Yu039">@Alan_Yu039</a></em></p></p> Mon, 12 Aug 2013 08:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/valor-games-disabled-veterans-begin-108375 Global Activism: His Wheels International sends bicycle parts to the disabled overseas http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-his-wheels-international-sends-bicycle-parts-disabled <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F77302960&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" height="216" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/HWI%20Ethiopia.jpg" style="float: left;" title="Picture of a trike recipient in 2012 at Soddo Christian Hospital in Ethiopia. (Courtesy of Soddo Christian Hospital/Ethiopia Staff-His Wheels International)" width="163" />Alice Teisan, a former nurse at Rush Hospital, was an avid cyclist before she was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in 1992. Despite her major health setback, she channeled her passion for bicycling into helping others suffering from disabilities globally.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p>In 2005, she created <a href="http://www.hiswheels.org">His Wheels International</a> out of her own home, which recycles old bicycles to send overseas.</p><p>Teisan&rsquo;s book <a href="http://hiswheels.org/20-frontpage/325-riding-on-faith-keeping-your-balance-when-the-wheels-fall-off"><em>Riding on Faith: Keeping Your Balance When the Wheels Fall Off </em></a>is available on Amazon in paperback and in Kindle format. She will offer the Kindle download for free until February 2 as a gift to WBEZ listeners.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Alice%20Teisan.jpg" style="width: 234px; height: 169px; float: right;" title="Alice Teisan, founder of His Wheels International and author of 'Riding on Faith: Keeping Your Balance When the Wheels Fall Off'. (Courtesy of His Wheels International)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">Initially, she had small goals.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;My initial goal back in 2003 was to give away 100 bikes in my lifetime. In 2005 after being challenged by my mentor, then 90, I founded His Wheels International. Since then His her group has distributed 1,600 bikes and hand-pedaled trikes to people affiliated with 88 countries. We have prototyped 22 different trike prototypes. Our trikes have been assembled, fabricated and manufactured on five continents.&quot;</div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 31 Jan 2013 10:19:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-his-wheels-international-sends-bicycle-parts-disabled City urges businesses, property owners to shovel sidewalks http://www.wbez.org/story/ashley-gross/city-urges-businesses-property-owners-shovel-sidewalks <p><p>If you own a business or property in Chicago, the city has a message for you: grab a shovel. <br /><br />Now that more streets are passable, people are turning their attention to sidewalks. The city of Chicago requires that property and business owners clear their own sidewalks. Brian Steele is a spokesman for the Chicago Department of Transportation. <br /><br />&quot;It is of course required by city ordinance but more importantly, it&rsquo;s about being a good neighbor,&quot; Steele says. <br /><br />He says the city can issue tickets but rarely does. Instead, he says inspectors check up on 311 calls about unshoveled sidewalks to encourage compliance. <br /><br />That&rsquo;s especially important to people with disabilities. Marca Bristo heads the disability rights group Access Living.<br /><br />&quot;The sidewalks are our streets in many respects,&quot; Bristo says. <br /><br />She says lots of people they work with are staying close to home. <br /><br />Bristo says the city needs to do a better job making sure sidewalk ramps get shoveled so people in wheelchairs can get back to work and back to their regular lives. <br /><br /><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 08 Feb 2011 06:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/ashley-gross/city-urges-businesses-property-owners-shovel-sidewalks Mayoral hopefuls face off at activist forum http://www.wbez.org/story/big-box/mayoral-hopefuls-face-activist-forum <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/DelValle3.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago mayoral candidates are facing each other in three forums this week. But former White House chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel isn&rsquo;t participating in any of them.<br /><br />At a community activist forum Tuesday night, several of Emanuel&rsquo;s competitors slammed him as they pointed to an empty seat with his name on it. <br /><br />City Clerk Miguel del Valle accused Emanuel of stalling efforts to overhaul the nation&rsquo;s immigration laws. &ldquo;The individual who was supposed to sit in this chair is the individual most responsible for blocking immigration reform in the United States as a congressman [and] as the chief of staff to the president,&rdquo; del Valle said. &ldquo;How are we to expect him to protect the rights of immigrants in this city? It won&rsquo;t happen.&rdquo;<br /><br />The only other candidate hit with criticism was lobbyist Gery Chico. Former U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun answered a question about Chicago school closings by pointing to Chico&rsquo;s years as school board president. &ldquo;Quite frankly, Mr. Chico, you need to be responsible for some of the things that went on with the Chicago public schools,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;We can do better. Our future depends on it.&rdquo;<br /><br />Chico responded. &ldquo;In 1995, the Illinois General Assembly said our schools were in crisis, long before I got there. And by the time I left in 2001, we were on the upswing,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t close schools. We built them.&rdquo;<br /><br />About 2,000 people attended the forum, sponsored by New Chicago 2011, a coalition of more than two-dozen groups. It took place at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Besides education, topics included violence prevention, human rights, jobs and housing.<br /><br /><strong>To hear the entire 74-minute forum, select &ldquo;Listen to this Story&rdquo; (above). Note that forum organizers turned off the microphone whenever a candidate exceeded a time limit.</strong></p></p> Wed, 15 Dec 2010 06:48:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/big-box/mayoral-hopefuls-face-activist-forum