Taking a Leap of Faith

Dad, college professor, disability activist: these are just some of the roles that come naturally to Joe Stramondo. Thoughtful and dedicated, Joe is passionate about his family and his work as a scholar and educator and spends much of his free time advocating for and socializing with members of the disability community.

Born with dwarfism, Joe also sustained a spinal cord injury during his childhood. Still, Joe never lacked support and encouragement. Joe’s parents took him to his first Little People of America meeting when he was a toddler.

“I have been surrounded by a community of other disabled people for as long as I can remember,” Joe said. “I grew up with role models who had bodies like mine and used assistive technology like mine.”

Such strong ties to the disability community made it extremely difficult for Joe to leave home to pursue higher education.

“As a disabled person, being truly on my own in order to pursue my goals was terrifying,” Joe said. “It was the first step I needed to take, though, to build the life I have now.”

Joe is proud that he took that leap of faith, moving hundreds of miles away from home to attend school in another state, where he didn’t know anyone. That leap became a first of many, as Joe has traveled and lived in many different states over the years for school and for work, including Connecticut, Michigan, Texas and Pennsylvania. Most recently, he and his spouse moved to San Diego, California, where Joe works as an assistant professor at San Diego State University. He teaches about ethics in medicine, especially ethical problems that impact people with disabilities.

In between teaching and his involvement in the disability community, Joe strives to be the best father he can be to his two small children.

“They depend on me so completely that I literally live for them,” Joe said.  

To help with his mobility, Joe uses the Edge® 3 Power Wheelchair with iLevel® technology. He loves the upgraded SRS (Smooth Ride Suspension) that provides a comfortable ride.

“It has very good shocks that provide smooth handling,” Joe said. “Plus, it has a great turning radius with mid-wheel drive.”

With 12 inches of lift at 4.5 mph, Joe states the life he lives would not be possible without his iLevel Power Chair.

“iLevel vastly improves my reach wherever I go,” Joe said.

Whether it’s giving a lecture to his students, going out for a meal with his spouse or helping his children reach the monkey bars on the playground, iLevel gives Joe all the access he needs.

“My power chair is an integral part of everything that makes my life meaningful and enjoyable,” Joe said. 

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