9-Time Gold Medalist and Multi-Sport Wheelchair Athlete Named Spokesman for National Mobility Awareness Month

Mike Savicki

Mike Savicki, a quadriplegic triathlete, has been named spokesperson for National Mobility Awareness Month, the new May celebration encouraging people with disabilities to live active, mobile lifestyles. Photo courtesy of National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA)

Mike Savicki, a triathlete with quadriplegia, has been named spokesman for National Mobility Awareness Month, a new celebration in May that encourages people with disabilities to live active, mobile lifestyles.

Savicki, who is a freelance sports journalist, disability advocate and small business entrepreneur, sustained a spinal cord injury in a dive in 1990 in Pensacola, Fla., while in flight school to become an F-14 pilot. Since the injury, he has won 69 gold medals in the National Veterans Wheelchair Games and has become the only person to finish the Boston Marathon both on foot and in a wheelchair, a race he has completed 18 times since 1990.

"Sure, I knew there would be challenges after my accident, but it never stopped me from pursuing my passions. I got involved with this awareness project because I've been celebrating mobility for the greater part of my life, and I wish the world would join me, even if only for a month," said Savicki.

The goal of the annual monthlong celebration is to raise awareness for wheelchair accessible vehicles as well as other transportation solutions that can improve the quality of life for veterans, seniors and those with disabilities. Sponsors of the U.S. and Canadian celebration are the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA), Toyota, SanTan Honda Superstore in Chandler, Ariz., and Chrysler.

As part of the celebration, written and videotaped stories from people with mobility challenges will be accepted on the National Mobility Awareness Month Web site from March 18 to May 13. The public is invited to vote from April 1 to May 13 to help select winners who will receive a new wheelchair accessible vehicle on national television. Toyota has donated a 2012 Sienna minivan, SanTan Honda has donated a Honda Odyssey and Chrysler donated a 2012 Town & Country minivan. In addition, van conversion companies, such as Braun Corporation, Vantage Mobility International and Bruno Independent Living Aids, will contribute lowered floor conversion and specialized equipment.

"The first time I got behind the wheel of my new van, a feeling of freedom and liberation came over me. It was as if my disability was just stripped away. I felt free again. I was free again. I could explore, travel and live on my own all over again. That van gave me mobility, and it gave me the self-confidence I never thought I'd experience again," said Savicki.

To submit your story, click here.