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First Ever National Mobility Awareness Month

April 16, 2012, 7:07 AM by Kellee Azar

First Ever National Mobility Awareness Month

Simple tasks for many can be difficult for those living with a disability. But a national organization is doing everything it can to lend a helping hand.

This May will be the first ever Mobility Awareness Month.  And while trying to raise awareness, the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association is also giving away three custom wheel chair vans, giving people in KELOLAND a chance to score their own set of wheels.

A handful of people are being recognized in South Dakota.  They all have different stories and are all living with different disabilities. But this May, they're coming together for a common goal.

"If you don't live that day-to-day life, you don't know that and there's awareness in society.  This is just awareness for a different community and it makes me feel grateful to help others understand," Kendra Gottsleben said.

During the first ever Mobility Awareness Month, the National Mobility Equipment Dealers is holding a contest for someone with a disability to win a wheelchair-accessible van, which don't come cheap.

"Well, if anyone has looked into the mobility line of work, to do conversions on the van is not cheap.  And to buy a new van, you are looking at $50,000 to $60,000," IMED Mobility Manager James Tuohino said.

Because of what the van could do for their families, they've decided to enter the contest in hopes of winning one of the three vans available.

"I am 19-years old and I have spinal muscular atrophy, which is a type of muscular dystrophy.  So, I don't have a lot of strength left, so getting in and out of a van is something I can't do," Kyla Snelling said.

"Well over two years ago Austin got bacterial meningitis, which resulted in all four of his limbs being amputated. We do have a van, but the lift is broken.  We are just hoping to get a new more reliable one," Heather Coffee, Austin Schoppert's mom, said.

"I created my video because, I, as a person who has a wheelchair and has a disability, we have a car that is an SUV and my mom has to physically pull the ramps out and push my chair up into my RAV 4," Gottsleben said.

Each has posted their story to the website and now all they need is the votes, to vote head over to the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association website.

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