Media Releases

International Wheelchair Day – Roll a Mile in my Wheels

Dignity for Disability candidate for Unley, Joanne Blesing, is asking South Australians to help make a difference to someone’s life on International Wheelchair Day, 1st March 2014.

International Wheelchair Day is a day of celebration for wheelchair users around the world. It’s a day that acknowledges the freedom and independence a wheelchair can provide to someone who would otherwise not be mobile.

However, with this celebration comes a responsibility for the wider community and government to ensure that those who use wheelchairs can access facilities and services available to the rest of the community.

“Here in Australia we have legislation that ensures people with a disability can access facilities and services. However, despite these legislative requirements most building developers only include the minimum standard of access to buildings and facilities and these minimum requirements are not enough,” says Joanne Blesing.

“I am calling on both Labor and Liberal to commit to re-examining these minimum codes in consultation with the disability sector to ensure true access is provided.”

On a global level International Wheelchair Day is promoting its Hart 24902 initiative to provide wheelchairs, mobility devices and other aids to millions of people still needing them.

The World Health Organisation estimates around 70 million people across the world need a wheelchair but fewer than 15 percent of these people can access a wheelchair appropriate for their needs.

HART 24902, (Humanitarians Achieving Results Together, 24902 – the circumference of the earth at the equator), was launched in Adelaide in 2012 with the ultimate aim of providing 20 million wheelchairs for 20 million people.

Initiatives such as a collaboration with American Express has seen co-founder Helen Edwards donate 20,000 of her own American Express frequent flyer points which were exchanged to provide a child with disabilities in Brisbane with aids to assist them become more mobile and independent.

“It’s not just loyalty points though anyone can donate to this initiative. Even the smallest donation can have the biggest impact on someone’s life,” said Ms Blesing.

To donate to the HART 24902 project go to the website: http://internationalwheelchairday.com/