The reason I wanted E-books and my cousin AJ

July 20th, 2015

After over a year of headaches, frustration and multiple people’s hard work, my books finally became available in e-book format a couple of weeks ago. The whole process was a complete nightmare! I’d like to share with you the reason I pushed through to get them as e-books.

edgar

This cutie, Edgar, communicates nonverbally using an Ipad. He is learning to use his head to select different phrases and options on the iPad. Like many of my fans, Edgar’s hands cannot turn the pages of a paper book. Having Wendy on Wheels on his iPad allows him to read Wendy’s adventures or have them read to him. This brings Wendy’s adventures to a whole group of children who may not have had access to them before.

When I see this picture of Edgar, I am reminded of my cousin, AJ, who passed away about 10 years ago. AJ had a severe form of cerebral palsy. Edgar looks so much like AJ it’s scary.

AJ

My favorite memory of AJ is this one. My dog, Cleo, loved (and still does) to lick people’s faces. She would put her paws up on his wheelchair and lick him all over his face and mouth. AJ would laugh with delight and open his mouth more.

AJ at his prom

AJ at his prom

I will have big news regarding “Wendy on Wheels Moves On” at the end of the week!!!

Sisters raising awareness continues

October 27th, 2014

The month of October has been busy for Wendy on Wheels!  October 7th, my sister and I visited Kellison Elementary in Fenton, Missouri.  We presented in an all school assembly for their Ability Awareness Day.  What a wonderful group of students! Mandy and I talked about what it was like growing up.  Then, we opened it up to questions and answers.  There were a lot of good questions for Mandy.  They were really imagining Mandy when she was in elementary school.  They asked questions like, “What is your favorite color?” And “What is your biggest struggle in life?”  It was awesome!!!  Now, they can say they’ve met someone who uses a wheelchair.

This morning, we went to the two and three year old room at St. Micheal and St. George School.  We read Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Beach. Afterwards, each child was allowed to touch Mandy’s wheelchair.  Their teacher, Lisa has been teaching them about differences.  They’ve been learning about difference in skin color and hair color.  Today, the focus was differences in abilities.

st.michael1 st.michael

School visits are my passion!!!!  I love raising awareness especially with my sister!!!!

TASK Camp!!!

July 30th, 2013

Last Wednesday, Mandy and I visited TASK’s Camp.  TASK, which stands for Team Activities for Special Kids is a wonderful organization in St. Louis.  They host many different activities and groups for children with special needs.

Luckily, it wasn’t a hot day.  I think it was in the late 70s or early 80s, which is highly unusual for St. Louis in July.  We read Wendy on Wheels Saves the Day and Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Beach to six different groups.  The group that was the most excited and appreciative of Wendy was the oldest group.  They were in their late teens and some in their 20s.  They loved when Wendy became the “Wheeled Wonder.”  They giggled and clapped.

It was so sweet that TASK provided us with lunch of pizza and watermelon.  It was nice to have a break and hang out with the TASK volunteers and employees.

My favorite moment was with a group of 8 through 10 year olds.  One little girl walked up and said “Not storytime! That’s for babies!”  When Mandy finished reading Wendy Saves the Day, she said, “That wasn’t bad.”  Then she asked, the frequently asked question of why Wendy uses a wheelchair.  I told her, “I don’t really know.  I’ve never given a reason.”  Before I could elaborate she said, “What do you mean, you don’t know?  Didn’t you write the books?”  I’ve never had a heckler before.  This girl was awesome!!!

I responded with, “The point is, “We accept Wendy as she is.  The reason for her wheels doesn’t matter.”  She seemed okay with that answer.

This was such an amazing day!!  It felt wonderful not only to volunteer my time to read to this wonderful group of kids but to see them hang on every word of a book I created was truly an outstanding experience.  I’m so grateful I had this opportunity.

 

 

 

 

St. Louis Variety’s Adventure Camp

July 3rd, 2013

St. Louis Variety means a lot to my family.  From their website, “Variety The Children’s Charity has been helping children with physical and mental disabilities reach their full potential for 80 years.”  Mandy was their poster child for a couple years when she was little.  I wish I had a picture of that to post.  Over the years, Mandy has gone to camp, been a counselor, volunteered in the office and done a lot for Variety.

Last Wednesday, Mandy and I visited Variety’s Summer Adventure Camp.  We loved it!!!  The kids were so cute.

Copyright Variety St. Louis

Copyright Variety St. Louis

It’s so wonderful what Variety does for these children!  They all seemed to be having so much fun at camp.

Copyright St. Louis Variety

Copyright St. Louis Variety

I’m so glad I get to talk about Wendy on Wheels with my sister, Mandy, the inspiration behind the series.  I have so much fun raising awareness with her!

Copyright St. Louis Variety

Copyright St. Louis Variety

This little guy is adorable!!!  It was an awesome visit!  I think the campers really enjoyed Wendy on Wheels.

Our visit to MDA Camp

June 20th, 2013

Today, my sister, Mandy and I took a little road trip to share Wendy on Wheels with children at the MDA Camp in Fredericktown, MO

Mandy reading Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Zoo

Mandy reading Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Zoo

At first, I wasn’t sure how the kids felt about my books because they were absolutely silent the whole time we read.  At the end, they asked a bunch of questions about how and why I wrote the books.  Afterwards, we hung out at a pavilion by the lake.  For the last couple days, the kids worked on building boats out of cardboard, duct tape and plastic wrap.

Here's one boat.

Here’s one boat.

It was time to test the boats on the waters.  The counselors got in the boats and floated around the lake.  It was quite a sight.

My sister and I with Adam and the Mermaid Princess

My sister and I with Adam and the Mermaid Princess

I met a little girl who was a mermaid.  She played tag but she could never be it because she was the mermaid princess.  “Just look at my tail!”  She gestured at her legs.

I’m so glad we had the opportunity to meet such a fun group!!!!  We had a blast!!

Puerto Rico Trip: George Wally Chavin

May 19th, 2013

A few weeks ago, I went on a short vacation with my family to San Juan, Puerto Rico. It’s such a beautiful place! When I was in Old San Juan, we saw a little hut with a fountain on the outside dedicated to a woman named George Wally Chavin.

Chavin Memorial in Puerto Rico

Chavin Memorial in Puerto Rico

The words on the plaque tell a sweet story.  The plaque reads, “George Wally Chavin 1910-1966  Almost totally paralyzed, she excelled academically, performed athletically  and in her prime swam 40 pool laps daily.  During W.W.II, she met her love in this hut, then a military canteen.  Serving as a volunteer Red Cross Hostess from her wheelchair.  They were married and he neccessarily became her lifelong lifeguard, protector and lover.  May Chavin’s beauty, intelligence and courage be an inspirational to all.  Donated by Chavin’s Widower”

I love good, romantic stories!!!  It’s especially cool for me to see a memorial set up for a person who used a wheelchair.  So sweet!!!

In other news, I’m getting ready to work on book 5.  My creativity is flowing again!

School Visits and Book Writing

October 3rd, 2012

It’s been 3 months since my last post.  After the Abilities Expos, I took some time off to focus on being a mom.  Now it’s October, National Disabilities Month as well as Spina Bifida Awareness Month.  I’m ready to visit some schools again.  It’s time for me to get back to what I do best, which is teaching children acceptance, ability awareness and to end bullying.

School visits can be set up by emailing me directly at Angela@wendyonwheels.com.

The self-cath book I worked on for 180 Medical’s Kids Club  had a very successful launch at the Spina Bifida Conference in the summer.  Here are a few pictures.  The second picture is my sister, Wendy on Wheels’ inspiration, Amanda with the purple bag.

    

 

There were two versions of the book, “Ethan Can Cath!” for boys.  “Emma Can Cath!” is for girls.  Both books show instructional pages to help little ones learn to catheterize themselves.  From what I heard, Ethan and Emma were a huge hit.  If you have a child with Spina Bifida who needs to learn to self-cath, I recommend contacting 180 Medical and joining their kids club.

Chicago Abilities Expo

July 6th, 2012

Last weekend, I had a blast at the Abilities Expo in Chicago!  Auti, from the Sundance Channel’s new show the Push Girls, had a dance workshop every day.  People of all ages joined the dance circle to show off their favorite moves.  It was so great to see.  Auti is so nice!! 

This little girl, Anna came by my booth.  What a cutie!

Saturday was my workshop where I introduced Wendy on Wheels and read Wendy on Wheels Takes a Stand.  I started off talking about my inspiration for Wendy on Wheels.  There’s my sister, Amanda, up on the screen.  After I read Wendy on Wheels Takes a Stand, I asked the discussion questions.  The little ones in the audience were shy about answering my questions.

Here I am talking about pages eighteen and nineteen.  One the left (page 18) Wendy is frustrated and angry about the events of the day.  She sits on her bed with her arms folded.  She asks herself, “What else could I have done?”  Page nineteen, Wendy’s mindset shifts.  She puts her idea to paper.  Now, she can make a positive impact.

A lot of times in our lives, things bother us and make us mad.  We feel like something must be done.  When we feel furious and upset, we are closed off from anything good that may happen.  In order to make change, we have to shift our mindset.  This is why I created Wendy on Wheels in the first place.

I’ve been following Cure for Chloe on facebook for a couple years now.  I remember when Chloe was a cowgirl on a horse for Halloween and got her new wheelchair.  At the expo, I finally got to meet her.  It made my whole weekend!!  I was so excited!!!

I enjoyed meeting everyone in Chicago.  What a wonderful expo!  This was my last expo of this year.  I am currently booking school visits for National Disabilities Month in October.  Please contact me if you are interested.

 

Hagedorn Little Village School

May 29th, 2012

While in New York last week, I had the pleasure of visiting Hagedorn Little Village School.  I love Hagedorn Little Village!  I got to meet a huge fan of Wendy on Wheels, Dina.  She was kind of shy, but seemed to enjoy meeting me.  I read to a lot of classes in the 2 hours I was there.

One little girl got to choose the book for her class.  She chose Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Zoo, then signed “please.”  After I finished she signed “more.”  Luckily, we had time to read, Wendy on Wheels Saves the Day.  She signed “more” after that one too.

One little boy clapped very loudly and yelled out, “THAT WAS AWESOME!!  You are the best reader ever!!!”

My favorite schools to visit are special schools.  Children with different abilities are the reason I created Wendy on Wheels in the first place.  Hopefully, I will get some pictures soon to post.

By the way, I will at the Abilities Expo in Chicago at the end of the month.  My workshop is at 3:45 on Saturday.  Come see me!!!

 

 

The Real Wendy on Wheels is back up and rolling!!!

May 21st, 2012

A couple weeks ago, my sister, Mandy and I were on our way out the door to get a coffee at a local coffee shop, Kaldi’s.  There’s a small step coming out of the kitchen at my house.  I forgot to tilt her wheels up when I helped her down the step.  I wasn’t thinking.  I guess I was used to my son’s stroller, which doesn’t need to be tilted back, the wheels just go straight down.  She fell out of her chair and broke both of her legs.  To top it off, she had a fatty embolism that punctured her lungs and was in the hospital and ICU all last week.  It was very serious.  Everyone was so worried.  I couldn’t imagine life without my sister.  I felt like I was going to choke on my heart.

Last Monday, she got to go home.  I am so relieved.

Anyway, here is an interesting story about my sister and the accident.  When she got back in her wheelchair right after it happened, she said she was fine.  Since Mandy has spina bifida, she wouldn’t feel it if her legs were broken.  Her one leg had a bump under it right under her knee.  She insisted that it wasn’t broken because she touched it and didn’t turn white right away.  (I think that was what she said.)  So we went to meet my friend, Nichole at the Kaldi’s.  We stayed for about an hour and a half.  Then walked home.

On the way back, Mandy started to feel short of breath.  She couldn’t push herself up my driveway.  I pushed my son’s stroller up then helped her up.  The bump on her leg started to look worse and worse.  An hour later, my dad left work to take her to the hospital.  That night, they took x-rays and found out one leg was broken.  I felt terrible.  How did I not know I was supposed to tilt her chair back?  How many years have I been taking her around?  

She sent me a text that night that said, “Yeah it’s broken.”  I responded a few times.  One of the next texts really says a lot about my sister read, “I forgot to say thanks for a great day!”  I thought she was being sarcastic at first.  No, she was serious.  Despite 2 broken legs, she still had a great day.  Wow!!!

So back to the injury, they didn’t find out the other leg was broken until Sunday.  She couldn’t breath.  The doctors originally thought she had pneumonia.  Her breathing and pain had gotten worse, so Monday night they moved her to the ICU.  They had her in a coma.  She improved a few days later.  They removed the ventilator and feeding tubes.  On Thursday, the home nurse discharged her.  She is going places again and transferring in to her bed and the couch from her wheelchair.  YAY!!!

Now, she has a whole new outlook on life.  I will have to have her tell you about it.  Thank you everyone for all your prayers and wishes!!!  We greatly appreciate it.  It so great to have the real Wendy (Mandy) back on wheels!!