My Quantum Power Wheelchair and the MDA Shamrocks Campaign

As March continues, I reflect on my work with the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) and its Shamrock campaign, which started in the 1980s. Thousands of participating retailers will sell MDA Shamrocks to customers for a donation, ranging from one to five dollars. I was the national goodwill ambassador for the MDA in 2012 and 2013 and the Shamrocks campaign was one of my favorites.

My Quantum Power Wheelchair Helps Me Share the Mission

One of the ways my family and I were involved was by going to stores such as Lowe’s Home Improvement and the regional fast food chain Bojangles. We worked with the staff and answered questions about the neuromuscular disease and the mission of the MDA. We met some amazing people while spreading awareness of the disease. I shared with many employees why the campaign for was important for raising funds. When out educating people on the MDA, my Quantum power wheelchair with iLevel® technology came in handy, allowing me to elevate so I could capture everyone’s attention.

During my tenure as ambassador, I did multiple pieces of artwork to commemorate the campaign. At the local Lowe’s, the drawing I did was placed near the store entrance for many years and was always something we had to find whenever we were in the store. Part of my role as an ambassador was to attend check presentations. We did this regularly at one of the highest-grossing Bojangles in the Charlotte area. Local news stations were present, allowing us to spread awareness of the Shamrock campaign and the mission of the MDA to many people.

Making New Friends and Fond Memories

One of my favorite memories was speaking with my friend and the former CEO of Bojangles, Randy Kibler, at a presentation. We worked together closely over the years and built a great friendship. The Shamrock campaign was a fun time for me, filled with memories. While I’ve been involved in other fundraising campaigns, the Shamrock campaign was definitely a favorite, as it allowed me to get out into the local community. The support I received during the campaign was something that I am forever thankful for, and it brought new friends into my life. Here is to the start of the spring and this year’s Shamrock campaign!


We Need Better Resources for Adults with Cerebral Palsy

By Isabella Bullock

March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month. Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. According to the CDC, CP is the most common motor disability in childhood. Cerebral palsy is caused by abnormal brain development or damage to the developing brain. This usually happens before a child is born, but it can occur at birth or in early infancy. In many cases, the cause is not known. 

Resources for Children with Cerebral Palsy

Growing up as a child with cerebral palsy, there were tons of treatment options, resources and services for support of my physical, academic and social well-being.  There was even support groups for my family members for having a child/sibling with a disability. Fast forward to adulthood: these once readily available services do not exist. Even now, when you Google cerebral palsy, most of the images populated are images children with CP. The lack of services and representation for adults with CP gives the impression that children with CP do not grow up to be adults with CP. This could not be further from the truth.

Lack of Resources for Adults Living with Cerebral Palsy

From my experience, being an adult with CP has more complex challenges, such as post-secondary (life after K-12 schooling) transition, development of independent living skills, obtaining employment, locating accessible housing and personal care supports, all while maintaining peer and intimate relationships. These are all challenges that can be worked through but support may be needed along the way.

How We Can Help Adults with CP

How do we move forward in supporting adults with CP? To start, there needs to be more resources to support post-secondary transition and community-based living. There also needs to be more research done on adults with CP and an overhaul of the representation of cerebral palsy and who it impacts. While CP originally occurs during early childhood, those children grow up to be adults with CP and need just as much support.  


Tell CMS to Approve Seat Elevation for All!

For years wheelchair users have been advocating for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to allow insurance coverage for seat elevation systems, like iLevel, in wheelchairs. In August 2022, CMS finally took action on this issue by opening up a comment period where wheelchair users and other advocates could provide open feedback to CMS on why seat elevation technology should be covered. 

In February, we shared an update that the CMS issued its proposed decision on coverage for seat elevation technology that would allow coverage of seat elevation technology for individuals who perform weight bearing transfers. This means any person who uses a wheelchair and bears weight on their arms for an uneven transfer (such as transferring from a wheelchair to a bed that is higher) and anyone who bears weight on their legs for a sit-to-stand transfer would be eligible for coverage through Medicare. 

While this was great news because it would allow many wheelchair users to finally have access to seat elevation technology, the proposed rule leaves out people with disabilities who cannot perform weight bearing transfers, such as some people with quadriplegia, SMA, or ALS (among many other disabilities).

However, it’s not too late to advocate for CMS to broaden the rule so that everyone who needs seat elevation technology can get coverage for it!

Until March 17, 2023, wheelchair users and other advocates can submit another comment to CMS. Wheelchair users can explain all the ways that seat elevation helps them live their best lives, such as being able to reach cupboards, cook on a stovetop or perform personal hygiene tasks. It’s important to remind CMS that while seat elevation does help with transfers, the benefits of seat elevation go far beyond that! We can commend CMS for the proposed rule they have published and then urge them to expand the proposed rule to allow everyone to have coverage for seat elevation, whether they can perform weight bearing transfers or not! 

Click here to submit your comment today


Let’s Celebrate International Women’s Day

Mark your calendars! March 8th is International Women’s Day: a time to celebrate the courageous trailblazers who fought, persisted and overcame.

This year, we’re showcasing three famous women with disabilities who have contributed to the women’s movement, shattering barriers and paving the way for future generations.

Frida Kahlo (1907–1954)

Frida Kahlo, a Mexican portrait artist and feminist icon, is widely regarded as one of the most influential painters of the 20th century. As a child, she suffered from polio, and at 18, she was in a bus accident, which left her with chronic pain and mobility issues for the remainder of her life.[1]

Despite these hurdles, Kahlo didn’t just persevere but thrived, and did so in a period when men dominated the art world. Her artwork, specifically her self-portraits, spotlighted her condition and infused aspects of Mexican culture, highlighting:

  • Regional animals
  • Historical events
  • Traditional clothing and jewelry

Both her surrealist style and personal writings were a constant reflection of her lived experience of being a Mexican woman with disabilities. 

Wilma Rudolph (1940–1994)

Wilma Rudolph was born June 23, 1940, in Saint Bethlehem, Tennessee. As a child, she contracted polio, which partially paralyzed her left leg. Doctors told her she would never walk again. Her mother told her she would.[2] Well, Wilma didn’t walk. She sprinted. 

Wilma went on to become one of the greatest American track and field stars of all time. At the 1960 Rome Summer Olympics, she became the first American woman to win three gold medals in track and field at the same Olympic games. Her brilliant performance earned her the title of “The tornado, the fastest woman alive.” 

After retiring from the sport, Wilma went on to become a teacher, coach, advocate for women in sports and U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame inductee. 

Tammy Duckworth (1968–Present)

Tammy Duckworth is an American politician from Illinois, who has been serving as a junior U.S. senator since 2017. A retired Army National Guard lieutenant colonel, Senator Duckworth lost both her legs as well as the partial use of her right arm when an RPG shot down the Blackhawk she was piloting during the Iraq War.[3]

These devastating injuries didn’t stop her from continuing to sacrifice for her country. In 2016, she became the first Thai-American woman elected to Congress and the first woman with a disability to ever serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Senator Duckworth shattered glass ceilings. She showed young women with disabilities that they too can pursue a political career and make an impact.

Profiles in Courage

At Quantum, we’re honored to profile a few of the women who have made their mark on the modern world, and, despite their disabilities, reshaped society.

As a company, our mission is to open doors that were once shut. And, with our technology, we seek to uplift women with disabilities, helping them meet their clinical and quality-of-life needs.

[1] Frida Kahlo and Her Paintings.

[2] Women’s History Museum. Wilma Rudolph.

[3] Chicago Magazine. The Day Tammy Duckworth’s Black Hawk Went Down.


Getting Outdoors in My Quantum Wheelchair

I have an unpopular question among the Disability Community. Where’s all the snow?! I live in Scranton, PA, (yes, home of “The Office”) and one thing about living there is that our summers are usually pretty hot, and our winters are typically gray, snowy and cold. I don’t love the cold. Having acquired a spinal cord injury when I was 17 years old, I’ve had to deal with the standard of getting too cold too quickly, and then not being able to warm myself back up. I like to think that I look at the glass half full, and if I’m going to have a cold, gray winter, I want it snowy as well! Perhaps being a Quantum wheelchair user and hoping for a snowy winter isn’t exactly looking at the glass half full, but snow is in my blood!

Why I Love Snow

I began skiing when I was three years old and would spend every week on the slopes, building snow forts in my backyard. I broke my neck doing what I love: snowboarding. My love for the snow never dissipated. As a wheelchair user, you might think snow limits what I can do and prevents me from going places.  While that is sometimes the case, my Quantum wheelchair allows me to go further, do more, and explore more places, even in the snow!

A Smooth Ride in My Quantum Wheelchair

Quantum wheelchair

When I first was told about the 4Front® and then later, the 4Front® 2 power chair, I knew immediately that this was the chair for me. I needed it! It’s the ideal wheelchair for outdoor life. If you look at the 4Front 2, you’ll see big drive wheels in the front, smaller caster wheels in the back, and an amazing set of shocks!  These features are very cool to look at and extremely functional. Whether there is a layer or two of snow on the ground, gravel or dirt trails, I have no fear at all riding in my Quantum wheelchair.

On my 4Front 2 power wheelchair, I have STC (Smart Traction Control) and SRS (Smooth Ride Suspension). It truly lives up to that name. I have used many wheelchairs since my injury, and I have never experienced more of a smooth ride than in this chair! I don’t have to worry about having a random spasm traversing over terrain or simply that my chair won’t be able to handle where I want to go! In older chairs, I would be afraid to go into the grass because of imperfections in the dirt, but not with this chair! It goes no problem!

The Beauty of Snow

When the snow falls, there’s nothing more I like to do then get all bundled up and take a stroll in my chair. Everything is quiet, everything is beautiful, and I can have fun with my Quantum wheelchair! I hope we get some snow before winter is over so that I can enjoy it firsthand while in my 4Front 2!

About Christian Budney: Born and raised in Scranton, PA, Christian is a social worker and works with individuals with autism. He loves cold weather sports, particularly adaptive skiing. Click here to learn more about Christian.

For more great blogs from our brand ambassadors and Q Roll Models, visit today!

Return to the Life At iLevel page

Return to Sports

Return to Lifestyle


Art for Equity Demonstrates the Need for Accessible Healthcare

The Raw Beauty Project is an art platform that celebrates women with disabilities. It’s based in Miami, Florida, where I lived for a few years in graduate school. I still miss the weather, the people, the food, and the fun! So, when Raw Beauty Project founders Wendy Crawford and Dr. Susan Solman contacted me about a new exhibit called “Unstopable,” I was honored to participate. “Unstopable” matched disabled artists with women with disabilities. The artists captured incredible portraits of us and we shared our stories about accessing basic healthcare and the importance for accessible healthcare. You can see the full exhibit here.

This exhibit calls for accessible healthcare for disabled women
Text reads “Raw Beauty Project Presents: Unstoppable. Portrayals of women with disabilities advocating for equality in healthcare.”

A Lack of Accessible Healthcare for Women with Disabilities

Each portrait is unique and captivating. The stories of barriers to healthcare are infuriating. One woman was asked to guess her weight because the entire hospital lacks an accessible scale for her to use with her mobility equipment. Another woman needed surgery after developing a blood clot. She was taking medication to prevent blood clots but had been given the wrong dose because she was never weighed to determine the dose she needed. Another woman had to bring a male family member to her appointments so he could lift her on the exam table.

Accessible scales and adjustable exam tables have been in existence for decades. They are not new nor costly technology. Wheelchair accessible scales are less than $1,000. Adjustable exam tables range from $3,000-$10,000. When will the purchasing of these basic pieces of equipment become commonplace?

the lack of accessible healthcare is a huge problem for people with disabilities
Kara’s portrait (left) has text that reads “It is assumed that our lives have less value so there’s less interest or urgency to medically treat us.” (Right) Artist Al Kittel is in the process of painting the portrait.

The Struggle with Healthcare and Ableist Attitudes

It seems strange that I feel fortunate to have a height-adjustable table at my primary clinic’s office. I don’t have a scale though. More often than not, I guess my weight. Sometimes I teeter-not totally safely-on the scale if I want a more accurate measurement. I look forward to a day when the tools for equitable healthcare accompany attitudes that also reflect the value of our lives. Among the stories shared by the “Unstopable” project are the judgements disabled women have faced when pregnant or just trying to live their lives. The lack of exam tables and scales are hints of a much larger problem looming below the surface of healthcare.

The “Unstopable” Project concluded with a gallery exhibit in Miami. COVID-19, unfortunately, squashed our hopes to get together in-person but we each connected with our artists. Al Kittle, an artist in New Mexico who uses a power wheelchair, painted my portrait. Check out her work here. The colors and cameo of my service dog, Rocky, made me love my portrait instantly but my favorite part is harder to see. There are fine, dark lines in the arms that resemble my curvy bones. I used to hide my bowed arms but now embrace them as me.

With the exhibit over, I was free to buy my portrait from Al. It arrived a couple weeks ago just in time for my birthday! It now hangs in my bedroom as a reminder of so many things: sunny days, curvy arms, and the need to continue my hard work towards health equity for all.

About Kara Ayers: Kara is a mother of three and lives in Ohio. She is an associate professor at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center. In 2021, Kara spoke to the Biden-Harris COVID-19 Equity Taskforce about the need for people with disabilities to access the COVID-19 vaccine. Click here to learn more about Kara.

For more great blogs from our brand ambassadors and Q Roll Models, visit today!

Return to the Life At iLevel page

Return to Health and Wellness


The Best Advantages of Elevation in My Quantum Power Wheelchair

In my Quantum power wheelchair with iLevel technology, I enjoy being elevated, as it helps me complete daily tasks and be eye-to-eye with others. Although most of the time I’m raised in my wheelchair seat, there are occasions when I need to be in the lowered position.

Public Speaking in My Power Chair

Bryson is elevated in his Quantum power wheelchair

During any public event, I elevate the seat of my Stretto power wheelchair because I want to make contact with others while talking. This helps me feel like I’m included and part of the conversation. I also don’t like for people to kneel down to speak to me.

When I lead my newspaper staff during our weekly meetings, I like to put my power wheelchair in the lowered position, so I can be on the same level as my writers while they’re sitting down. Although this situation can call for what people are most comfortable with. If I elevate during my staff meetings, this can help my writers hear me and see me better as well. When I work in the newspaper office at the sports desk, I am in the lowered position in my wheelchair to fit under the desk so I can be on the same level as my colleagues.

Attending Classes in My Quantum Power Wheelchair

Bryson is in the lowered position in his Quantum power wheelchair

On campus, I like to be in the lowered position because I need to get my classes quickly. Down low, my Quantum power wheelchair goes faster, up to 6.25 mph, and gets me to class on time. If I go with friends to class, however, I prefer to elevate my wheelchair seat, so that I can speak to them and others can see me in the crowd. When driving over rugged terrain, it’s easier to go over certain bumps and terrain in the lowered position. UNC Charlotte’s campus is rather hilly, and being at a lower level gives me enough juice to get over them.

Grabbing Food and Completing School Work

When I’m grabbing food on campus, I am always elevated because it’s easy to grab my food and condiments. On-campus dining hall surfaces are usually higher up, so iLevel is a game changer when it comes to grabbing the food I want. When I do schoolwork at home, I elevate so I can reach my desk and get things done quickly. When it comes to transfers, I elevate my power wheelchair seat to get into bed, yet remain in the lowered position when I am getting into the shower.

Overall, when I use my Stretto power wheelchair, I prefer to be elevated at iLevel, as it has greatly improved my life. It keeps me mobile and gives me access that I never thought possible. iLevel is the way of the future for the disabled community.

About Bryson Foster: Bryson lives in North Carolina. He advocates and raises funds for the development of treatments for muscular dystrophy. He loves sports and cheers for his favorite basketball team, the North Carolina Tar Heels. Click here to learn more about Bryson.

For more great blogs from our brand ambassadors and Q Roll Models, visit today!

Return to the Life At iLevel page

Return to Lifestyle


CMS Proposes Seat Elevation Rule

On February 15, 2023, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued its proposed decision on coverage for seat elevation technology, like iLevel. The proposed decision would allow coverage of seat elevation technology for individuals who perform weight bearing transfers. This means any person who uses a wheelchair and bears weight on their arms for an uneven transfer (such as transferring from a wheelchair to a bed that is higher) and anyone who bears weight on their legs for a sit-to-stand transfer would be eligible for coverage through Medicare. This is great news! This means that so many wheelchair users will have access to seat elevation technology!

What it Means for Other Wheelchair Users

Many power wheelchair users need seat elevation to complete ADLs

It is still unclear, however, what this means for people who do not perform weight bearing transfers, such as some people with quadriplegia, SMA, or ALS (among many other disabilities). We do not want to leave anyone behind. So, it is important for wheelchair users to advocate to expand the coverage so that no one is left behind, especially since so many wheelchair users can benefit from seat elevation technology, whether or not they can bear weight for transfers. 

What We Have Achieved for Seat Elevation

To be clear, the current proposed decision is still incredible news.  Wheelchair users have been advocating for YEARS for CMS to change the rules to allow for seat elevators to be covered by Medicare. You might remember that in August of 2022, CMS finally initiated an open comment period for a National Coverage Decision on whether or not Medicare should cover seat elevators. Over 3,500 people submitted comments in support of covering seat elevation technology.  Without the efforts of the Disability Community advocating for this issue, we would not have made such remarkable progress! 

CMS is now accepting comments again, specifically about the proposed rule to allow coverage for seat elevation for wheelchair users who perform weight bearing transferring. You can read the full proposed rule and submit a comment here

Check back here in the coming weeks for more information about this proposed rule! 

About Stephanie Woodward: Stephanie is a brand ambassador advisor for Quantum Rehab® and works as a disability rights activist. She has received many awards for helping communities become more accessible, as well as for her actions in fighting for the rights of disabled individuals as it relates to Medicaid and other support services. Click here to learn more about Stephanie.

For more great blogs from our brand ambassadors and Q Roll Models, visit today!

Return to the Life At iLevel page

Return to Wheel Talk


Quantum Power Wheelchairs and Living with Multiple Sclerosis

March is Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Awareness Month, a time dedicated to educating the public about the effects of the chronic autoimmune disease and finding solutions that improve the lives of those living with the condition, which includes over one million Americans. Quantum power wheelchairs can enhance the mobility and independence of those living with multiple sclerosis.

What Is Multiple Sclerosis?

The central nervous system (CNS) is the body’s control center, which includes the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. The CNS helps to regulate motor function, process sensory information and control behavior and thought. Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease disorder that typically impacts the CNS of adults between the ages of 20 and 40, but it can affect children too. The normal transmission of nerve impulses is greatly affected, causing a wide range of negative symptoms, including:

  • Blurry vision
  • Cognitive problems
  • Electric-shock sensations that occur with certain neck movements, especially bending the neck forward (Lhermitte sign)
  • Lack of coordination
  • A squeezing sensation in the torso known as MS hug (dysesthesia)
  • Numbness or weakness in one or more limbs that typically occurs on one side of your body at a time
  • Partial or complete loss of vision, usually in one eye at a time, often with pain during eye movement
  • Problems with sexual, bowel and bladder function
  • Unsteady gait or inability to walk
  • Vertigo

The Four Types of Multiple Sclerosis

For most patients, their MS will fall under one of four categories:

  1. Clinically isolated syndrome (CS) – This refers to the first instance of neurological symptoms within the CNS caused by inflammation and demyelination.
  1. Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) – The most common type of MS, this form has clearly defined attacks of new or worsening symptoms (relapses) followed by partial or total recovery (remissions)
  1. Secondary Progressive MS (SPMS) – A later stage case of RRMS, with this type, a patient’s symptoms may gradually worsen without obvious relapses.
  1. Primary progressive MS (PPMS) – The rarest and most serious case of MS, this type is defined by a gradual progression of negative symptoms with little to no relapses or remissions. 

Multiple Sclerosis and Quantum Power Wheelchairs

Although the vast majority of people (66 percent) with multiple sclerosis will not develop a severe disability, for others, MS can cause paralysis that inhibits their ability to walk. For many of these patients, when their mobility goes away, so does their independence.

The Stretto is a Quantum power wheelchair equipped with independent SRS

A Quantum power wheelchair, such as the Stretto, is designed to provide comfort, mobility and greater independence. As the narrowest, most maneuverable power base, the Stretto is a true multiple sclerosis wheelchair. With a total width of 20.47 inches with 12.5-inch drive wheels, the Stretto is the best narrow wheelchair for individuals with multiple sclerosis to use in their homes. For outside the home, the Stretto is equipped with an independent SRS (Smooth Ride Suspension). Independent SRS has increased shock absorption due to the angle of the shocks on the chair, ensuring a smoother and more comfortable ride.

Because MS can affect an individual’s ability to operate a joystick on a Stretto power wheelchair, Q-Logic 3 Advanced Drive Controls are an excellent choice for a multiple sclerosis wheelchair, as this controller system is highly expandable and customizable. As symptoms progress, Q-Logic 3 can be adapted to accept alternative drive controls, such as switched driving or a head array.

Positioning for Quantum Power Wheelchairs

Quantum power wheelchairs provide greater independence for those living with multiple sclerosis

An individual living with multiple sclerosis may require power positioning to assist with postural realignment, pressure relief and function. The Stretto is compatible with TRU-Balance® 4 Power Positioning Systems, which features anterior tilt and memory seating. Anterior tilt options provide a choice of 10, 20 or 30 degrees. TRU-Balance 4 also features up to eight customizable memory seating positions, as well as a dual actuator articulating foot platform that lowers to assist with transfers. TRU-Balance 4 requires the selection of iLevel power seat elevation, power anterior tilt, power posterior tilt, power recline and a power articulating foot platform.

Anterior tilt combined with iLevel on Quantum power wheelchairs provides those living with multiple sclerosis greater access to their environment. With a forward tilt of the seating system, the user may find it easier to perform ADLs, such as cooking, grooming, reaching and transferring.

Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month

MS impacts the health and well-being of millions of Americans and for some, the disease can greatly hinder their ability to live an independent life. Quantum Rehab is just one of many organizations that seek to provide support to individuals and families living with MS. If you want to get involved with or donate to the cause, there are countless nonprofits and medical organizations making a difference, including:

This month, let’s work together to support people with MS and raise awareness of the importance of developing enhanced complex rehab solutions, treatments and cures.

Return to Health and Wellness


Why My Quantum Power Wheelchair is Better Than a Manual Chair

So, I know people who use manual wheelchairs and people who use power chairs. I tend to get teased by my friends in manual wheelchairs because I use my Quantum power wheelchair a lot of the time. They think that pushing a manual wheelchair helps you stay in shape and you don’t get lazy. And while it’s true pushing can help you stay more active, there is another side to this.

While there are advantages to using a manual wheelchair, there are drawbacks. Because I only have one hand, it’s difficult to hold things and push my manual wheelchair. If I need to do things around my house, such as carrying stuff or taking out the garbage, it’s more challenging to do these tasks in my manual wheelchair.

How My Quantum Power Wheelchair Gives Me Independence

Bryan's Quantum power wheelchair gives him independence
Bryan’s Quantum power wheelchair gives him independence

Using a power wheelchair, I can do more and be more productive and useful than most in manual wheelchairs. Having a Quantum power wheelchair with iLevel is the key to my success and being able to live alone. I can elevate my wheelchair seat, which is great for reaching stuff in my refrigerator and cabinets, or cooking on the stove or doing dishes. iLevel means that taking out the garbage is much simpler. My power chair allows me to have total independence, so I can live alone. It’s freeing!

So, while manual wheelchairs have their benefits, I have greater independence when I use my Quantum power wheelchair.

About Bryan Anderson: Bryan grew up and resides in Illinois. Injured by an IED in October 2005, Bryan is one of the few triple amputees to survive his injuries in Iraq. He is an ambassador for the Gary Sinise Foundation and a spokesperson for USA Cares, which is focused on assisting post 9-11 veterans. Click here to learn more about Bryan.

For more great blogs from our brand ambassadors and Q Roll Models, visit today!

Return to the Life At iLevel page