May is observed as National Mobility Awareness Month (NMAM) in the United States. Sponsored by the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA), this campaign aims to promote mobility and accessibility education for seniors, veterans, caregivers and those with special needs. The event highlights the ways in which people with mobility issues overcome their physical challenges while bringing attention to the many life-changing mobility equipment solutions available to make them more independent.According to CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (2018 statistics), about 61 million Americans experience a disability that impacts their major life activities. In fact, the most common disability type, mobility issues, affect 1 in 7 adults. The month-long campaign encourages people with mobility issues to embody the spirit of ‘Life Moving Forward’ by raising awareness of the mobility solutions available in your community. It highlights the everyday challenges faced by people with mobility issues and their perseverance, while drawing attention towards the availability of various types of accessibility devices such as stair lifts, wheelchair lifts, handicap vans and specialty vehicles that help improve the mobility and independence of people to a great extent.

As part of the observance, NMEDA organizes an online contest to identify three deserving “Local Heroes” who will be awarded a wheelchair accessible vehicle tailored to meet their specific needs. NMEDA defines Local Heroes as “people who volunteer, educate, advocate, achieve and persevere.” They can be independent wheelchair users, seniors with mobility problems, caregivers or anyone else living a life without limits despite disabilities.

From individuals, seniors with disabilities to their families and caregivers, every person striving to lead an independent life can be considered a “Local Hero” and take part in the annual contest. The contest starts on April 12, 2019. People participating in this contest can submit either a two minute “You Tube video” or a picture of the Local Hero along with a 400-word story telling about what makes you or your loved ones a Local Hero.

Voting is made open to the public and will begin on May 1 and run through May 31, 2019. NMEDA will be giving away three wheelchair accessible vehicles to the winners – one to a caregiver, one to a senior (above 60 years), and one in the general category.

Mark your calendars for this unique opportunity and be a part of the National Mobility Awareness Month this May!