2021 Automotive Mobility Awareness Tour Kicks Off at Moss Rehabilitation Center
TAMPA, FL (August 23, 2021) — When Berlin, NJ resident Julia Bonamassa took the field for her youth soccer and softball games at 10 years old, she started falling down a lot. She began having trouble running. A few months later, her identical twin sister, Jessica, started experiencing the same thing.
“When Julia was running in soccer, her leg started to give out and collapse. We all thought it was a growth spurt,” says Jessica Bonamassa. “We were very active, playing soccer and softball and in the outdoor world, kayaking, riding quads and shooting.”
Unfortunately, it wasn’t a growth spurt.
The twins were diagnosed with FHSD, a form of muscular dystrophy. This is a progressively deteriorating muscle disease, which has no cure or treatment to prevent progression.
A decade later, the twin girls will be going to separate colleges for the first time in their lives with Julia attending Rutgers University, Camden, and Jessica attending Rowan University, both as juniors. Julia plans to eventually go to law school or into national security and Jessica wants to be in the public relations/marketing field.
Today, despite their diagnosis, they live independent lives because of the assistance of their wheelchair accessible vehicle.
On August 26, Jessica and Julia Bonamassa will be participating in the first stop of the 2021 Automotive Mobility Awareness Tour at Moss Rehabilitation Center in Elkins Park.
At the event, the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) and United Spinal Association will bring accessibility solutions to the forefront and showcase all the ways hospital administrators, case managers, occupational and physical therapists, automotive mobility dealers and manufacturers are working to improve the lives of their clients.
“By sharing the latest innovation in wheelchair accessible vehicles and equipment with centers like Moss, we are truly able to assist more people who need the specialized vehicles and adaptive equipment that our automotive mobility dealer members across North America provide,” said Danny Langfield, CEO, National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association. “After missing more than a year of connecting in person with our front-line healthcare workers, we are really looking forward to starting this tour again.”
United Spinal Association will specifically be showcasing its efforts to assist the 17,730 Americans who experience spinal cord trauma each year.
“Our organization specializes in improving the lives of individuals after a spinal cord injury,” said Vincenzo Piscopo, President & CEO, United Spinal Association. “We’re looking forward to connecting with organizations like NMEDA and the local facilities to partner with us in bringing this information to the public.”
Upcoming stops of the 2021 tour include Phoenix, Los Angeles, Fort Worth and Washington, D.C.
For Jessica and Julia Bonamassa, it’s a true opportunity for them to show how life-changing a wheelchair accessible vehicle can be for someone with a debilitating illness.
“When we got our first van last year, it was the first sense of normalcy we felt in years because we didn’t have to rely on anyone and could be completely independent,” Julia Bonamassa says. “We could just drive. It’s just amazing and a blessing because when I get in the car, I don’t need to worry about struggling.”
What: The Automotive Mobility Awareness Tour, showcasing the latest in wheelchair accessible vehicles and how they transform the lives of those who need them.
Who: National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association and United Spinal Association, along with:
- Berlin, NJ Residents Julia and Jessica Bonamassa
- Stacy Krubsack with MobilityWorks in Cinnaminson, NJ
Where: Moss Rehabilitation Center, 60 Township Line Rd, Elkins Park, PA 19027
When: August 26, 2021, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
How: Please RSVP by calling Alan Byrd at 407-415-8470 or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org
Learn more about Julia and Jessica Bonamassa, please view this story from WPVI in 2015.
About the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association: Founded in 1989 as a non-profit trade association, the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) supports more than 600 mobility equipment dealers, manufacturers and driver rehabilitation specialists in the United States and Canada dedicated to expanding opportunities for people with disabilities. NMEDA is the sponsor of National Mobility Awareness Month, the annual celebration that encourages seniors, veterans, caregivers and people with disabilities to enjoy active, mobile lifestyles. For more information on NMEDA, please visit NMEDA.org, as well as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.
About United Spinal Association: Formed in 1946 by paralyzed veterans, United Spinal is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit membership organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for all Americans with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D), including multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, ALS and post-polio. Membership is free and open to all individuals with SCI/D, with over 53,000 members across 50 chapters nationwide. Known for its revolutionary advocacy efforts, United Spinal played a significant role in writing the Americans with Disabilities Act, provided important contributions to the Fair Housing Amendments Act and the Air Carrier Access Act, and was instrumental in attaining sidewalk curb ramps and accessible public transportation in New York City, which created the standard accessibility model used in many United States cities. For more information on United Spinal Association, please visit UnitedSpinal.org.