+
all terrain wheelchairs, wheelchair accessibility

Aimee Copeland is a quadruple amputee and advocate for those with physical disabilities.

We all know that Mother Nature is often the best medicine to relieve stress, improve fitness and increase happiness. However, these benefits aren’t always accessible to everyone. Hiking trails are next to impossible for many with physical disabilities, especially wheelchair users.

That’s why the Aimee Copeland Foundation, an organization created by a master social worker and quadruple amputee to help build a more inclusive community, and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources have collaborated to provide an innovative way to make outdoor recreation more obtainable—through a fleet of all-terrain, free-to-use wheelchairs scattered across 11 of Georgia’s state parks and historic sites.


Each chair is equipped to hike, hunt, fish and easily travel through difficult terrains like mud, water, sand and snow. And since the devices were designed with safety in mind, certification and a “buddy” are required to qualify for use. That said, visitors who qualify include those with cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injuries and lower limb amputations.

“Our mission is to provide outdoor opportunities for every Georgia citizen and visitor,” said Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites Director Jeff Cown in a press release. “I am proud to partner with the Aimee Copeland Foundation to offer access to visitors with mobility or physical disabilities.”

As Cory Lee, 32-year-old travel blogger and wheelchair user, notes in an interview with The Washington Post, this could be life-changing for many people. Lee has covered accessible adventures throughout the world, and yet has never been able to properly explore his home state of Georgia, as his regular wheelchair couldn’t handle the trails.


Lee had previously traveled to other states that provided terrain-ready wheelchairs, like Muskegon State Park in Michigan. Traversing the three-mile shoreline in his rented all-terrain wheelchair “allowed me to have so much independence on the sand,” he said. Now, he and others will be able to have that kind of independence in even more places throughout the country. In addition to Michigan and Georgia, South Dakota, Colorado and Minnesota have similar programs.

Independence and mobility have been noted to be the most vital factors in determining quality of life for those with disabilities. Despite the stigmas surrounding them, wheelchairs are valuable tools for providing this kind of autonomy. It’s lovely that more advancements are being made to improve a device that already helps so many fully live their lives. Hopefully even more take on this idea.

Health

A child’s mental health concerns shouldn’t be publicized no matter who their parents are

Even politicians' children deserve privacy during a mental health crisis.

A child's mental health concerns shouldn't be publicized.

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.


It's an unspoken rule that children of politicians should be off limits when it comes to public figure status. Kids deserve the ability to simply be kids without the media picking them apart. We saw this during Obama's presidency when people from both ends of the political spectrum come out to defend Malia and Sasha Obama's privacy and again when a reporter made a remark about Barron Trump.

This is even more important when we are talking about a child's mental health, so seeing detailed reports about Ted Cruz's 14-year-old child's private mental health crisis was offputting, to say it kindly. It feels icky for me to even put the senator's name in this article because it feels like adding to this child's exposure.

When a child is struggling with mental health concerns, the instinct should be to cocoon them in safety, not to highlight the details or speculate on the cause. Ever since the news broke about this child's mental health, social media has been abuzz, mostly attacking the parents and speculating if the child is a member of the LGBTQ community.

Keep ReadingShow less

Famous writers shared their book signing woes with a disheartened new author.

Putting creative work out into the world to be evaluated and judged is nerve-wracking enough as it is. Having to market your work, especially if you're not particularly extroverted or sales-minded, is even worse.

So when you're a newly published author holding a book signing and only two of the dozens of people who RSVP'd show up, it's disheartening if not devastating. No matter how much you tell yourself "people are just busy," it feels like a rejection of you and your work.

Debut novelist Chelsea Banning recently experienced this scenario firsthand, and her sharing it led to an amazing deluge of support and solidarity—not only from other aspiring authors, but from some of the top names in the writing business.

Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on 04.15.19


On May 28, 2014, 13-year-old Athena Orchard of Leicester, England, died of bone cancer. The disease began as a tumor in her head and eventually spread to her spine and left shoulder. After her passing, Athena's parents and six siblings were completely devastated. In the days following her death, her father, Dean, had the difficult task of going through her belongings. But the spirits of the entire Orchard family got a huge boost when he uncovered a secret message written by Athena on the backside of a full-length mirror.

Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on 01.22.19


The legality of abortion is one of the most polarized debates in America—but it doesn't have to be.

People have big feelings about abortion, which is understandable. On one hand, you have people who feel that abortion is a fundamental women's rights issue, that our bodily autonomy is not something you can legislate, and that those who oppose abortion rights are trying to control women through oppressive legislation. On the other, you have folks who believe that a fetus is a human individual first and foremost, that no one has the right to terminate a human life, and that those who support abortion rights are heartless murderers.

Then there are those of us in the messy middle. Those who believe that life begins at conception, that abortion isn't something we'd choose—and we'd hope others wouldn't choose—under most circumstances, yet who choose to vote to keep abortion legal.

Keep ReadingShow less