This edition hits the streets at the same time as Ability360’s annual report. Our theme this year, “We Do,” could easily be the theme of this edition.
The people in these pages “do” too. They travel and explore, they create, fly, work, raise families and go to school – they dare. They live lives worth living.
Our “Getting out” feature, took us to Benson, Arizona to explore Kartchner Caverns. We’ve found no other caves in the world that offer real access for people with mobility impairments. Arizona State Parks made an extraordinary commitment while developing the caverns for public access and created pathways that are “wheelchair-friendly” while still protecting the caves for future generations. Their efforts to make nature as accessible as possible include hiring an ADA coordinator and adding accessible cabins at state parks. Kartchner is the first in a series of parks we plan to visit for LivAbility.
We have stories that illustrate IL philosophy of self-determination and community integration. Through Ability360 Home Care Services, Glenn Long found friendship and purpose as he moved from squalor to a more positive future supported by professional caregivers.
Balloonist Michael Glen, a pilot who lives with paraplegia, took us up in his hot air balloon modified for wheelchair access. Jo Crawford covered the eagerly- anticipated annual Day at the Lake which wouldn’t be possible without the vision of Brian Church. He’s our Cool Career story this edition. After a distracted driver caused an accident that led to her disability, Marine Sgt. Gabby Graves-Wake found her new mission in competition.
Kasey, Angeline and Yvette are back this issue. Kasey profiles Chris DiVirgilio, who photographs adaptive sports for Sport N Spoke. Angeline covers Paco and Emily from Tucson in our new feature “Relationships.” Yvette kicked it into overdrive this edition with two great stories. First she profiled Kirk O’Hara, a talented painter who prefers the taste of watercolors to latex paint. Then she talked to Noah Abraham, a teacher who had polio as a kid. The hair- raising tale of his journey from Syria to Phoenix kept us on the edge of our seats.
Some of our favorite columnists are here too. Amina writes about the advocacy of showing up, Gary offers his perspective on dealing with people who don’t “get” disability, and Gus covers the pool renovations generously funded by the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation. Winter is officially over, the pools are open!
As we grow from being “just a magazine” to truly becoming “LivAbility Media,” we’re also expanding our skills. We each wear many hats that define us as “multi-media.” We’re fortunate that Ability360 staffer Clinton McDaniel is also an award-winning videographer, he now lends his talent and expertise to our video storytelling. This edition brings a record of seven video stories on our website. Clinton shot some of them and helped produce and edit others. Watch our website and YouTube channel for more new videos. Do we do video? We DO!