Rio Olympics: Health Concerns for Disabled Sailors?

Rio Olympics: Health Concerns for Disabled Sailors? Should athletes be concerned

Commentary: Concern of Athletes at 2016 Rio Olympics-Paralympics.

By Urban Miyares, Co-Founder, Challenged America Program

For athletes there is no question being invited to compete and represent their countries at the Olympics/Paralympics is not only an honor and privilege, but also a testimony to their hard work to achieve excellence. However, in the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics & Paralympics, I have concern about the health and well-being of the athletes with the reports of pollution and contamination of the waters sailors will be competing in.

Having not read any reports, on the medical side, of health dangers for competing in Rio waters, it has prompted me to write about this concern in hope those in the medical profession will make comment, and to bring public awareness to this matter.

Many people with and without disabilities have compromised immune systems, often triggered by injury, disease, medical procedures and medications. Most are aware of their restrictions and need to avoid contact with or consumption of many types of foods and liquids, as well as other contaminates that are in water, soil and even the air. Others, including athletes, may not know of their restrictions or even realize they have a compromised immune system until a health crisis arises.

As a person with a disability and having a compromised immune system, if I were fortunate to be considered a member of the U.S. Olympics/Paralympics Team in sailing, as an example, I would have to decline my Team position due to medical concern.

Such damage to a person’s health, with a compromised immune system, can create an immediate medical emergency, with devastating effect, and also initiate or trigger a medical condition that may not be detected until month or even years later.

It is with this that I hope the U.S. Olympic Team and that of the other countries sending athletes to Rio publicly recognize this problem, and provide a medical assurance that competing (in the sailing venues) is safe during the games and will not affect their medical condition afterwards.

Let me know your thoughts and opinion.

The Raw Beauty Project Empowers Disabled Women

When she was 19, Wendy Crawford’s life as a model changed forever, after a car accident left her a quadriplegic. Thirty years later, she’s not only posing in front of the camera, but empowering other women with disabilities to discover their own Raw Beauty.

The co-creator of The Raw Beauty Project NYC told that after her accident — she was hit by a drunk driver — she initially remained optimistic that she could have a future in modeling with a disability, but was disappointed that the industry wasn’t as receptive to the idea.

Walter Chin
Wendy Crawford is one of the people behind The Raw Beauty Project NYC, a photo exhibition designed to empower women with disabilities.

Crawford, now 49, went on to found the mobileWOMEN advocacy group for women in wheelchairs in 2002, and in 2006 she helped created “Uncensored Life: Raw Beauty,” a Miami exhibit featuring photos of 20 disabled women that aimed to create new perceptions, shatter stereotypes and raise awareness for women with physical challenges.

“[Models] become empowered by it, and realize there are so many other things they can do,” Crawford said.

This year, partnered with the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation to develop The Raw Beauty Project, a spinoff that features 20 women with disabilities to emphasize their “beauty, empowerment and sensuality,” according to the project’s website. Showcased last month at ACA Galleries in Manhattan, photographs from the series have been sold to benefit the Reeve Foundation, which raises money and awareness for people living with spinal cord injuries and paralysis.

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Reinventing The Challenged America Program

Reinventing The Challenged America Program
Introduction of Challenged Sailors San Diego

Dear Challenged America Participants, Volunteers & Supporters,

As many of you know, the past few years have been extremely challenging for the Challenged America Program. With charitable donations and contributions down dramatically, fundraising events barely breaking even, and awarded grants only funding a fraction of the requested amount, coupled with rising costs, we are at that point of reinventing the Challenged America Program – operating at a pace equal to the level of public support and charitable giving … how we operated in the 1980’s and early 1990’s as, then, a big boat program.

With this, we have transferred (gifted) our entire fleet of small boats – eight Martin 16 sailboats – and all related equipment, supplies and gear to Mike & Sylvia Swall (as interim owners), who are helping a new small boat program under a newly proposed groups calling themselves “Challenged Sailors San Diego.” (CSSD). This new group is now formalizing its organizational structure.

If you or your group is scheduled to sail as a participant, companion sailor, or volunteer in the (Martin 16 sailboat (Small boat program (with Challenged America, please contact CSSD right away to reschedule and learn more about this new (small boat) sailing program:

Challenged Sailors San Diego
Mike & Sylvia Swall
Phone: (619) 764-1604

The Challenged America program will continue operations as a Big Boat program, with Challenged Sailors San Diego being our referral to small boat sailing.

Challenged America is one of five programs of the charitable and educational Disabled Businesspersons Association (DBA), and the board is currently strategizing the future of this program, with more of an emphasis on its mission, financial self-sufficiency, future staffing, and the rebuilding of its fleet of donated vessels, carrying it to another 37 years of operations.

If you would like to be part of the charity’s advisory on reinventing the Challenged America Program, please email us your background, experience, and how you believe you can add value to the advisory group.
Thank You

Urban Miyares, President
Disabled Businesspersons Association

Building a monument to wounded warriors

Our nation’s wounded warriors need time to heal; and the rest of us need a place in which to reflect upon their sacrifice. Here’s David Martin:

It’s a thing of beauty designed to honor an ugly fact: the wounds of war. The name of Washington’s newest memorial — American Veterans Disabled for Life — makes the point.

Project director Barry Owenby gave Martin an advance look at the memorial, which opens next Sunday. It’s for disabled veterans of all wars, of whom an estimated three million are alive today.

“It doesn’t end with the war; they live with it forever,” Owenby said.

“They have a trauma of injury, a healing process, and then their rediscovery of purpose. So that’s the story that we’re trying to tell here.”