My Nashville tour was amazing!!! The first night I arrived I got to see the sights a bit. I had dinner with my colleagues at a delicious restaurant. Then I rolled down Broadway and saw live music. It was awesome! The next day I met with a State Legislator from Tennessee at National Seating and Mobility my colleague Ann Eubanks and I are meeting with legislators to pass a bill in Congress that will provide better services for people who are wheelchair users. That evening I spoke to a large crowed of Belmont Occupational Therapy students and I sang them an original song called Possibilities. The exchange between the students and I was beautiful. They are preparing to help people with mobility impairments live independently, so the word of advice I gave them from my own story is to focus on hope, because hope is what fuels healing and strength. The following day I traveled to Chattanooga and had lunch with the reigning Ms. Wheelchair Texas and Ms. Wheelchair Texas 2012 Her and I went to the State Representatives office Corker, but we were unable to meet due to the current furlough. Instead we took pictures in front of the office, to make a statement. My final day in Nashville I went back to the Belmont OT program and worked with the students in smaller classroom settings. I focused on creating an atmosphere of empowerment in the Therapy process. My highlight was speaking to the family advocacy class. My parents are a great example of parenting to empower children with disabilities.
I just returned home for a recuperation time after touring the New England area for 9 days. It was a wild ride!! For starters in 9 days I stayed in 6 hotels visited 6 different cities and traveled through 3 New England states, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut. New England is a beautiful, historical part of the country and I really enjoyed my stay there. I saw the Boston cityscape, the beautiful Boston harbor, the Atlantic ocean, and the beautiful countryside. My tour started in the heart of Boston at the Boston Convention Center for the Abilities Expo. It was a magical 3 days of meeting like minded people, and many people with disabilities and their families. I felt right at home. After the Abilities Expo I hit the road in a beautiful rental wheelchair access van, which was provided free of charge by Ride- Away. What a blessing!!!! It was the Cadillac of wheelchair access vans. My long time friend Jen drove me too my events. The first stop was the University of New Hampshire where I shared my story and “Inclusion Revolution” with an amazing classroom of college students. I was impressed at the true desire to change the world that these students emanated. We had a very invigorating classroom discussion about inclusion and things that need to be done to make the U.S. a place of true equality. Next stop was Triangle in Malden, Massachusetts. Triangle is a non-profit organization that employs people with disabilities and they are a very impressive outreach. Within there walls they have numerous enrichment programs for people with disabilities, along with a warehouse, cafe, and television station in which they employ people with disabilities. I was blown away!! The people I met were to full of vision and purpose. I have had a dream of being a network television host and I believe that their television station, AbleVision, will be an opportunity to move in that direction. YAY!!!! Next stop was Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. There I shared my story and platform, then sang and danced for the staff and patients at Spaulding. It was a magical interaction, providing hope. Spaulding is the Cadillac of Rehab hospitals. The rooms have beautiful views of the harbor and state of the art mobility technology. I was impressed!! Then we made our way to the Framingham, MA Salvation Army where I gave a presentation with an anti-bullying organization to the youth and members staying at the Salvation Army. This was a chance to share my testimony and pray for people. I loved it!! By then I was exhausted. The next day we took a road trip to Hartford Connecticut where I made an appearance at Accessible Dispatch, which is a taxi company which dispatches wheelchair access taxis all over Connecticut and New York. The media was there and it was a magical time being interviewed on national television. Then we went to Mt. Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital. There I shared my story and sang for the patients. As I sang to them, their eyes filled with tears, which blessed my heart. I want to see them fly unlimited! The last Connecticut stop was Gaylord Rehabilitation Hospital. This hospital was so awesomley historical. The hall that I spoke and performed in was built in the 1600′s. The next day I finished my tour back in Boston by visiting the Easter Seals womens’ group THRIVE. I had a life changing discussion with some impressive women who use wheelchairs for mobility. What a whirlwind of life changing moments!