New representation in Canada

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As many of you are aware, Stephen Bourne has been instrumental in launching, developing, growing and supporting Ride’s presence in Canada. We are grateful for his years of dedicated service and hard work. As business has grown across Canada, we now require full time sales representation in our largest market: Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area. Unfortunately, Stephen was unable to relocate so he will be leaving Ride Designs, effective January 1, 2019. We wish Stephen well with his future endeavors. 

As of January 1, 2019, Ride Designs will be represented by East West Medical Products, Ltd. Craig Royal will cover British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Maria Joannou will cover Toronto, Ontario, and east to the Atlantic Provinces.

Both Craig and Maria come to Ride with many years of experience in complex rehab technology and more specifically, custom seating. We are thrilled to have them on our team. We also have a robust plan in place to back up Craig and Maria with support from our deep field of highly experienced staff during and after this transition. 

These changes allow us to further our commitment to serving you better and be more responsive to your needs. 

Advocacy: It’s never been more important

Funding for complex rehab technology equipment in the US is in jeopardy. It’s important for lawmakers to understand just how critical this equipment is to preserve and enhance health and independence. ADA requirements may be loosened… certainly issues for everyone to be monitoring.

How to get up to speed? One website to get an overview of the issues is that of the National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology.

It’s all about educating those for whom disability issues are a foreign language about the importance of these issues to the disability community. Ride Designs team members were among those who went to Capitol Hill in late April to advocate for complex rehab technology. Earlier this year, we hosted Colorado Senator Michael Bennet at our facility for Small Business Week. The Senator, shown here discussing wheelchair seating with veteran Andrew Kinard, seems open to learning more about both our products and the issues they are meant to resolve.

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You don’t need to travel to Washington to be involved… check out these resources:

• An interesting podcast with panelists speaking about their advocacy efforts has been posted online by United on Wheels.

• The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, which focuses on spinal cord injury advocacy, urges “Lend your voice to our initiatives and you can make a real difference for people living with paralysis, as well as their families and caregivers.”

• Your member of congress is leaving, now what? Mobility Management outlines some ideas about how to how to keep CRT discussions going amid changes in D.C here.

• Visit “Protect My Mobility” regularly to get the latest updates on pending legislation.

Corbac available through year-end only

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Ride Corbac Back Support, side-view.

We are sorry to announce that due to increased manufacturing costs and decreased reimbursement, Ride will discontinue the manufacturing and sale of the Corbac Back Support, effective January 1, 2019.

Orders placed by the end of business on December 31, 2018 will be fulfilled. Limited Warranty for this product will remain effective for 24 months from the date of delivery to the original purchaser.

Please contact Ride Designs Customer Service with any questions.

Click here to learn how you can help protect access to quality complex rehab technology.

Rich Salm: director of sales and education

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Rich Salm (center) at a recent show, flanked by team members Shelly Myers (left) and Joe Bieganek (right)

Ride Designs announces the promotion of Rich Salm, ATP, to the position of director of sales and education.

A long-time veteran of the Complex Rehab Technology (CRT) industry, Rich has made significant marks in many areas including CRT business ownership,  business development, contract negotiations, advocacy, NRRTS board membership… and the list goes on!

Rich joined the Ride team one year ago as sales manager, and quickly gained significant traction in forging fresh directions and improved sales support / performance throughout the organization. His initiatives and skills in education and support of international business development went far beyond his job description and earned him this promotion. Rich now oversees all sales and education functions within Ride Designs. Look for great things to come.

Congratulations, Rich — we loved your reaction to the surprise announcement! 

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Ride On: National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic

We caught up with Joe Bieganek (orthotist and Ride Designs president) to discuss his experiences at the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic, held in Snowmass Village, Colorado during the first week in April. This annual event provides a fun and safe way for Veterans with disabilities to explore many different adaptive sports and activities. It’s also a great opportunity for veterans to come together, relax and enjoy the company of friends. To immerse yourself in what this event is like, check out this powerful video about what the Winter Sports Clinic means to the Veterans that participate.

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How long have you been participating in the Winter Sports Clinic?
This year was my 15th year volunteering at the event. The event itself has been going on for over 30 years.

Why is this event so important to you?
The whole event is about getting disabled Veterans out into activities and sport activities. And it’s important to me because these are men and women who have been injured one way or another while serving the country and it is just an incredible way for us to give back to our Veterans, to be there and to help them.

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How do you help?
I’m part of a group of professionals that come together yearly to staff the Prosthetics and Seating team, led by Kendra Betz, DPT. We apply the same science, and provide the same technology, that we use in our everyday seating practices to help the veterans at the event be as active as possible. Our goal is to help keep their skin safe and help maintain good posture so that they can have a great experience on the hill, or in a hockey sled, Nordic skiing, or in whatever event they are doing.

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Has there been an exceptionally memorable moment?
There are so many, but there is one that jumps out. We’ve worked with a Veteran with a double hip disartic over the last four to five years to simply get him sitting again. He had both legs when I first started working with him and then over a series of events, skin issues and health, he lost both of his legs. He just wanted to ski again with his family.

So over the past few years, he’s visited our Aspen Seating Clinic in Denver. Going through fittings and working with him has been very challenging. We have to design seating to keep him in his monoski, without legs, which is very difficult.

This year when we showed up to at the Winter Sports Clinic, he wasn’t on the list to work with. So everyone started calling him, trying to find out what was going on. When we finally reached him, he said “I’m good, I’ve skied 20 times this year, I am ready to go!” Now that’s really cool!

What sort of changes do you see in Veterans over the course of the week?
You might expect the energy to go down as the event goes on, but at the Winter Sports Clinic it is the exact opposite. People seem to get more fired up as the week comes to a close. It is such a great freedom from everyday life to be out on the hill — and there are such great coaches and teams. The whole event gives the Veterans an atmosphere in which to relax — like a winter camp. And camaraderie — we have a lot of repeat people that come back year after year. It’s an event that many Veterans look forward to throughout the year.

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What events do you assist with?
Typically, the organizers make sure we shift around a lot so volunteers get many different experiences. There is a focus on education — learning about sports, good positioning and seating so VA employees can take the knowledge back to their hospitals. The experiences help volunteers become more knowledgeable about working with Veterans both in everyday seating and sport interfacing.

We move around between events such as Nordic skiing, Alpine Skiing, Sled Hockey, and Snowmobiling. There are so many different activities to participate in, even scuba diving, but I mostly help with the ones that involve sitting. This year we also rebuilt a snowmobile backrest for Veterans with high injury level and SCI snowmobile riders. Snowmobiling has been an event for quite a while, but not everyone can participate due to safety. Our goal is to have the event available to more people in the future.

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The National Disabled Veterans Summer Sports Clinic will take place September 16-21 in San Diego, California. Click here (and scroll down) for a links to all Veteran Affairs Events. Information on volunteering at the Winter Sports Clinic is here.

Note: Photos watermarked Thin Air Images, LLC are courtesy of Joel Bach.