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!!!

Wendy’s Updated New Look

July 13th, 2015

I updated Wendy’s new look again. I decided to put her in a more “active” wheelchair. To do this, I lowered the back of Wendy’s chair removed the handles. We also changed the color so that her chair would stand out more on the cover.

Here she is!!!

Here she is!!!

I will have the cover soon. I can’t wait to show you!!!

The trip that inspired Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Beach

May 31st, 2015

This morning, Facebook sent me a notification saying I had memories. Six years ago today, I was with my family in Clearwater Beach, Florida on the vacation that would later inspire my first book, Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Beach.

Mandy used a beach wheelchair to go around Discovery Cove. We went snorkeling, swam with stingrays and dolphins. I loved it!!

Mandy feeding birds at Discovery Cove

Mandy feeding birds at Discovery Cove

The beach was walking distance from where we stayed. Here’s a picture of Mandy and my dad at the beach.

This picture later was used Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Beach.

This picture later was used Wendy on Wheels Goes to the beach.

The "cartoon" version

The “cartoon” version

This was such a fun trip! I loved spending time with my family. I had no idea at the time that trip inspire a children’s book, which would lead to more books.

In other news, I will have an updated image of Wendy for book #5 in the next couple weeks as well as a cover. I can’t wait to share it with you!!!

 

 

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!!!!

The Influenced by Jason Hwang

November 11th, 2013

October 30th, I was the Keynote Speaker for Ursuline Academy’s High School Diversity Conference.   I spoke for about an hour about diversity, ability awareness, ability sensitivity and the creation and evolution of Wendy on Wheels.  After I finished speaking, I stuck around for a little while.  A young man introduced himself.  Then he told me he was a poet and my speech had inspired him to write a new poem.  He showed me his hand where he had scribbled it down. I felt so excited that my speech had inspired him.  Here’s the poem.  Please read.

 

The influenced
By Jason Hwang
There is a kid.
sitting admist all the crowd,
listening to a woman.
At first, he doesnt care.
just a speech, extra credit
grades, thats where his mind went
The boy just listens with no thoughts candid.
but do we control our thoughts?
when we see a black person with a hood on in a dark alley
don’t we instinctively think of danger?
don’t we protect our body as its the natural behavior?
This, the words from that woman, became a cause of an instinct.
He thought, of group of superheros.
May be it is the avengers,
may be the xmen and its comrades.
but what xmen has the power to move a whole community into a realization?
what avenger has the power to influence the young minds about the dark side of the alley?
what superhero actually give others an image of the pessimistic side of the Galaxy?
None, the hero continues on its journey undefeated.
But this superhero, wendy on wheels, is different.
as though she is undefeated, she has been defeated.
she has been had the worst disadvantage.
but gift is a curse, and it works vice versa
curse, when given to the right person, is the strongest gift the world will ever give
Just like rosa parks and her dark pigment
Just like Einstein and his madness
Just like Steven Hawking and his disability
Wendy on wheels was and will be given with the biggest super power.
This thought crashed into the boy.
didn’t write for a while, now he looks down at the keyboard with no sense of coy
and express all he has for this one superhero.
Who was created from another super hero.
who was inspired by the most gifted yet most cursed.
who is inspiring the boy sitting in the backseat listening.
And the boy’s final thought is this.
To be influenced, is to listen to someone who was influenced.
and this effect, will ripple towards all the earth.
and in the end, achieve its perfect influence of diversity.

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.

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!!

Lunada Bay Elementary and Day 1 of the Abilities Expo LA

March 31st, 2012

Thursday, I had the pleasure of introducing Wendy on Wheels to a kindergarten class at Lunada Bay Elementary School.  It was my first school visit in California.  What a wonderful group of little ones!  I started with Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Zoo.  The group did great with the discussion questions, although they were more interested in having me read more books.  I read two more of my books.  I got a bunch of hugs when it was time for me to go.  How sweet!   I LOVE IT!!!

On my way out, I saw some excellent anti-bully signs the second graders made.

I love this catchphase, “Bullies are a pain in the brain!”

I used to draw hearts on everything when I was a kid.

Yesterday, was the first day of the Abilities Expo in LA.  It was great.  There was very little traffic on the way to downtown LA, so we got our booth set up right on time.   That’s always a good start.  I met a lot of great people.  Here’s a picture of my son and me.

One particular conversation that stands out in my mind was with a gentleman, named Andrew.  He said at the time he started kindergarten around 1977, they had just started mainstreaming children with different abilities.  He was the first ever  child with a wheelchair to attend at the school.  The school was not prepared, mentally or physically.  Not only did he have to go all the way outside to get to other parts of the school but he had 300 kids asking him all sorts of questions.  “What’s wrong with you?” “How do you go to the bathroom?”  “Why are your feet so small?”  I can imagine it made things very difficult.  I hope to change this with Wendy on Wheels.

There are two more days of the Abilities Expo in LA.  I read my newest book, Wendy on Wheels Takes a Stand today in my workshop.  I can’t wait!