I was lucky enough this weekend to attend the Abilities Expo in Anaheim, CA. I’ve written numerous times about these Expos and wanted to share some stories from this past weekend.
First of all, the attendence at the show was great. All day Friday there was a sea of people checking out what the show had to offer. Last year they used to charge and admission fee to enter the Expo, but they are now offering free registration to anyone that wants to attend, which it makes it so much better. There were 5 companies showing wheelchair vans, there was over a half dozen wheelchair vendors showing their products, there were booths for canine assistance, booths for advocasy groups, booths for organizations (MDA, NMEDA, etc.) and much much more.
As always, I meet the most amazing people at these Expos. I met a young man and his wife, and had seen them at the show last year as well. He has MS and his disease is deteriorating. Three years ago he could walk and now he’s confined to a power scooter most of the time. He is currently driving a regular car and has hand controls installed so he can drive. His wife helps him load the scooter in and out of the vehicle. He is at the point where it’s getting too difficult to walk and is in the marketing for a wheelchair van. They had so many questions, and they were in the right place to get all those questions answered. There was every type of accessible van there for him to try out, to see which fit him best. He and his wife must have spent four hours at the expo, and they got all the contact information they need for his disability, and products associated with it.
In addition to the displays and workshops, there are also a lot of different demonstrations. In Anaheim, the above picture was the Tennis demonstration. They also had Aaron Fotheringham, who is in the World Record Books for performing the 1st Wheelchair Back Flip. They had fencing demonstrations and fashion shows, it was great. I saw multiple people there on more than one day. It is definitely one of those Expo’s where you can get something different every day you attend.
If you can attend one of these Expo’s, I highly recommend it. There are two more shows remaining this year, one in Chicago in June and one in Atlanta in November. Check them out!!