July 27, 2020

9. Robin Wearley | Saving Lives One Sling at a Time

This week we spoke with Robin Wearley Founder of ADAPTS.org a portable transfer sling that is changing how the disability community is able to advocate for itself. Robin didn't only create a new resource that is helping the community, she is also empowering a community! Listening to everything Robin and ADAPTS are doing was so exciting so tune in because we know you're going to love it. Plus, for all of our special listeners, ADAPTS.org is offering 15% off if you enter code SAS15 at checkout.



[00:00:46] Hi listeners. Welcome to the show. We have a great guest with a really cool resource today. Robin Wehrli of adapts.org. This equipment is being used within the special needs community and beyond. Fun fact, when we went to the Boston abilities expo, I got caught up at there, but it was my hell practical.

[00:01:06] Their equipment is it's something that I would really like to see everywhere. adapts.org is even offering all of our listeners 15% off with our special promo code. So check them out and enter S a S 15 for 15% off. And don't forget to check us out on all of our social media and give us a follow to let us know that you're listening.

[00:01:26] Enjoy the show. So today we'd like to welcome to our show. Robin Worley, who is the founder of adapts.org. Welcome Robin. Thank you so much for joining us today. Thank you so much for having me. We're super excited. So no Remo we'll jump right into it. Tell us a little bit about. Adapts that Oregon, uh, we found you at the Boston abilities expo, um, and we're really excited to see just something different out there and, and an organization thinking about our community in a different way outside the box.

[00:02:02] Um, right. In, in, in a way that's financially feasible for the person. Um, so that was Ian for an organization or for a corporation. So that was really exciting. So tell us a little bit about before we get really into adapts and what adapts is. Tell us a little bit about you and yourself, um, and how you're connected to the special needs community.

[00:02:25] Okay. So, um, I live in San Francisco. I'm a retired flight, it's Nemo. And, um, after I left the airlines, I went back to school to become a physician assistant. And, um, I did that for about 12 years, and then I moved over to the pharma industry. Um, so all said and done after 30 years and professional. Business, I retired and, uh, from everything and then started this business, um, landing it came about because I have a frequent flyer friend, um, John Morris, who blogs under wheelchair travel.org.

[00:03:02] Um, he called me up one day. I said, um, you know, I want to pick your brain. Um, he uses a power chair, he's a triple amputee. And he said, if there's an emergency evacuation on the airplane, how am I going to get out? And I basically said, well, how do you think you're getting out? And he said, I think I'm going to have to rely on the kindness of strangers or I'm going to have to army crawl out of the plane.

[00:03:28] And, you know, it just got me thinking and, um, I sort of felt like, uh, Richard Dreyfus and close encounters, you know, where I was obsessed, like all night long tossing and turning, thinking about him and people like him getting out of a plane and an emergency evacuation because you know, the airlines really don't have a plan for those people.

[00:03:50] No. Yeah. I mean, I think we've seen that even ourselves, that, that just kind of like, isn't even a thought everything's going to be fine. So about it. Yeah. April, April people don't think about how they're getting out of the plane in an emergency, or they all want to think of exactly. And so, you know, it's also true for people with disabilities.

[00:04:12] And anyway, um, in the morning I. I, I woke up and felt like I was hit by a Thunderbolt and got my yoga mat out and some rope and fashioned the first prototype of the dance. And then it was kind of off and running from there. We did a Kickstarter campaign and, um, which was a nail biter. We funded our goal by $19.

[00:04:34] Oh, wow. I know how hard it is to do like a fun, a crowdfunding type campaign. It's not an easy feat. Oh gosh. It was so scary. It literally nailbiting. I mean, I was at my friend's house and we were just watching, you know, on the, on the, a website and all of a sudden, like the 12th hour, you know, someone came on and bought one that put us right over the edge and.

[00:04:58] Oh, I was so grateful. Um, and it's just sort of been that kind of a story ever since every, every roadblock has sort of been, you know, scary, but we overcame it, you know? And, um, can't remember who put us in touch with the abilities expo people, but that has been phenomenal because that's our target audience, you know, people that use wheelchairs and they sort of look at it, Manning the booth and talking to people.

[00:05:26] You know, that's sort of my marketing plan, you know, is building awareness that way. And it's gone now from being a, you know, an emergency evacuation plan on an airplane to an emergency evacuation plan anywhere. Um, but it's also turned into kind of the emergency. Evacuation slang that you could also use every day.

[00:05:50] You know, you go to, you mentioned going to, you know, your friend's grandparents to the pool and if there's no, uh, you know, Hawaii is to get someone in and out of the pool, you could use it for that. Or, or how many times do you go to them waste? Isn't working at the hotel. Um, yeah. But, but our, basically our customers have become our source of research and develop.

[00:06:15] Oh, that makes sense. I mean, they're the ones using it. So listening to what their needs are, they come back all the time at the booth and say, Oh my gosh, we bought this last year. And this happened and it came in handy for you to use, use it for that. And one lady said that, um, they didn't buy it. She went home.

[00:06:32] This was in Chicago. She went home and her next door neighbor collapsed. And the first thing they said was, Oh my God, if only we'd had that, you know, slang. So you hear stories like that all the time. Yeah. So tell us a little bit about adapts. What, what it is exactly. What is the, what is adapts? So it's a portable transfer sling, and it looks kind of like a, um, thought stretcher or.

[00:06:59] You know, a hammock, if you will, it kind of cradles the person, um, in the, um, it's a one size fits all, um, apparatus, but it sort of cradles then. And the handles act as a way to kind of engulf them in the slang to hold them in place. So, um, it's been tested to hold up to 450 pounds, um, in the laboratory and it's got six handles.

[00:07:24] So if you'd actually have someone that heavy, then you can just. First the weight, you know, with the 60 handles, like all the way around, it's not a difficult thing to utilize because you have the weight to student, no matter who's in it. And you can have multiple, you can decide two people, three people, four people helping carry.

[00:07:40] Yeah. And if you need head support, then you can use all three handles at the top. And then it creates a little sort of pocket for the head to lie in. You know, that's a great idea. And, um, one of our biggest questions in the booth is how much weight will it hold and, you know, It it's tested to hold 450 pounds, but obviously if you have someone that heavy, you're going to have to have probably six people, right.

[00:08:04] Not doing the lifting. Um, and so, because it's designed to be used for times when a hoist isn't available or there's no time to put a hoist together. Um, like for example, on an airplane, you can't put a hoist together to. Right. Someone, you know, um, you know, it's a manual listing sling, so it really, the people who are doing the lifting have to be able to lift.

[00:08:30] Right. But in emergency, I can imagine it's just, who's willing to. Jump on board and help in that situation, it must be less daunting when you're like, I have this thing adjust need help. Can someone, it, I can't imagine people wouldn't just jump in and be like, I'm here to help. Absolutely. Or like, imagine if you're at a hotel and the elevators are out and you need to get someone down the stairs.

[00:08:54] We actually have a drawing and pictures of John Morris. We have a video to going down the stairs to guys. You know, carrying him down using the slang and we use that in our marketing. But, um, but I mean, so you knock on the door and the person across the hall or next door and say, Hey, grab a handle and, you know, help us get out.

[00:09:12] Yeah. And it's not taking somebody that needs to know about. I can do this. Yes, exactly. Yeah. Anybody can do it as long as they have the strength, you know, lift the person. Um, so yeah, I mean, it's, that's basically, um, it's really simple and that's by design, you know, the other part of the design is it folds up into it?

[00:09:38] To create like a little tote that you could put in the bottom of a backpack or, um, you could roll it out and put it in a, um, a purse or a computer bag and, you know, you can roll it up and put it behind you like a lumbar pillows. Well, I think that's super important too, because like in, I know, like for other wheelchair users that we know they're like, and even for us with Eddie, like we're already carrying a bunch of supplies.

[00:10:03] And we're trying to be as discreet as possible for his independence. And, um, so something that can be like, that looks like a toe or can just slide underneath or behind you just is discrete enough. So you still have your, you know, I guess the independence is the best word to use, but you know, your modesty, you're not just being like, Oh, I have to carry this thing around with me because someone's going to have to carry me.

[00:10:25] It's not. Something should be shamed. It's just like, Oh, I have this thing in case of an emergency. And it looks like a tote bag and it's just underneath my chair. Right. And there are people who, um, like I think there are a lot of paraplegics that are pretty adept at, you know, in themselves around they could easily, you know, get onto it if they needed to, if at the last minute, you know, um, if someone is.

[00:10:50] Uh, you know, needs more help than that, that, um, isn't as adaptive moving around, then they can put it on their wheelchair at home and go off and do whatever it is they want to do. And if there's a time they need to make a transfer for, let's say, for example, if they go to Disneyland or something and we need to just use it to get in and out of the rides all day long.

[00:11:12] That's a great idea. I mean, we were thinking that when we went to Disney world, like Eddie, So many times they say, can you transfer? And I think what have you can like, do you just not get to go on that ride? Like you who's helping you. Like we, I mean, luckily, and you can just pop right out of his wheelchair and jump on the ride.

[00:11:28] And the wheelchair is just to help him from getting fatigued. But there's so many instances where I'm sure, you know, if someone who is elderly, who can't just transfer themselves or, you know, we have friends whose children are just larger now and they can't carry them anymore. And then lift them, you know, as you talk about what adapts.

[00:11:44] Is I'm like my brain is just running on all the different ways. Even. I know someone that could use it in a whole different way, you know, like, you know, you have someone who's got Alzheimer's and their, their body's just starting to kind of shut down a little bit, like having to lift them or carry them or, or transfer them from, you know, just moving from, laying in the bed to up and getting dressed in the day.

[00:12:05] Anything that can just help you transfer somebody is getting, Oh yeah. I don't know if you saw when you looked on our website, but we haven't. A picture of a gentleman. Um, his daughter sent us the picture because she bought it for him just so that it gives them a little boost to get up and out of the, um, out of his La-Z-Boy chair, you know, the yeah.

[00:12:23] Kleiner, you know, he just needs that extra little, little import. About the recliner and the image I'll go to the woman. I mentioned about, um, abilities, a hacker. Um, she found this at the Chicago expo and, um, wanted to know about school safety. Um, you know, and now that. The fall is coming. Hopefully kids will be back in school, but, um, she wanted to highlight the fact that schools need a safety evacuation plan for kids in wheelchairs.

[00:12:55] And right now, a lot of schools that there's more than one level. They, they use evacuee chairs, which are like wheelchairs that go downstairs. But those are super expensive and take a lot of time to put together. And I can imagine too, if you have more than one child in the. School that's what are you doing in a wait for them to go back up?

[00:13:13] So what does this, this is like a true emergency and you don't have a lot of time. You're like waiting for it to go back up for that. Yeah. It's like Sophie's choice. Who gets to go in the wheelchair and go down first and then once it's down there, somebody's got to bring it back up to get the rest of the kids.

[00:13:28] So for the cost of one of those. Kind of wheelchairs, like 10 kids could have their own slang with them at all times as well. That's there and it's just, yeah, that seems well, she, she sort of brought to light for me, another market I hadn't really thought about, you know? Yeah. Um, and so it's just, it's just amazing how the community, I call it a dabs, but it's kind of adapted, you know, various needs in the community kind of on its own, you know?

[00:14:00] Well, I think it's a community. That's not had a choice. Like you said. I mean, like Amy Delgado's job is to where she's doing this to figure out ways to hack things. Every, a lot of people in this community are doing that because it's it's life for them. Like they're adapting to the world around them, not the other way around.

[00:14:18] Right. So they're just having to find ways to make things work so that they can get around and be independent and live life that way. So something like this is just seems like such a no-brainer that I don't know how someone didn't think of it sooner. They're like, well, I sent that myself too, and here's, what's really interesting about the airline industry.

[00:14:40] Um, so the last. The study on how to evacuate people with disabilities was conducted in 1977 at, um, maybe FAA yet that Cammie, which is the, um, I think the acronym is similar, not it's medical Institute in Oklahoma city. Anyway, they got people together with various disabilities and, um, tried to determine how fast they could evacuate and then the airplane.

[00:15:11] Um, and this airplane was a Boeing seven 27. That is not even in service anymore. Of course, 1977 was more than 40 years ago. And, um, and the configuration back in 1977 on airplanes was similar to what our first class looks like now. Brand way more, you know, people into planes and the roads are narrower.

[00:15:33] And, um, you know, the, if someone's sitting on the aisle, the people in the middle seat, in the window seat, aren't able to get out until that person is moved, you know, so it's very different inside a cabin, but those. These haven't been updated since then. Yeah. So they're not interested the same that they should be in kind of thinking about the community and, and how right now the plan is what they call grab and go where someone probably presumably a crew member grabs.

[00:16:03] Um, the person under the arms and the other person grabs them under the knees and they lift them into the aisle and run to the exit with them. And which is all fine and good if the person has legs or if they don't have some sort of, um, you know, neurological disease that prevents them from providing. Uh, resistance when they're lifted under the arms, you know, um, or, uh, I mean, there's just a bird, brittle bone disease gonna injure them, just like, uh, how it would make you feel.

[00:16:40] On the inside to, just for them to, I'm just going to pick you up, like throw you over my shoulder and we're going to go, like, you know, it shouldn't be where you feel that you're just like a child being taken care of. You know, this should be something that you feel independent. You're bringing this to them.

[00:16:55] I have this thing. You know, every plane should just have it for the cost that it is. It's just no reason why they shouldn't just have this on every airplane. Right. Dream is that the airlines would have them in all of the safety kits on the airplanes. And there's one safety kit for every 50 seats. It's up to four.

[00:17:13] So the bigger airplanes, you know, like an Airbus three 50 would just have four period, you know, but the smaller, smallest jet would have at least one. And, um, but someone could be injured in an event, in a crash or in a, in a, um, emergency landing. And, you know, they wouldn't even necessarily have to be a person who was some of the disability.

[00:17:36] There could be someone that's. You know, injured in the airplane or even a crew member. And so the flight attendants could run to it, grab it, you know, get the person on it and get them out of the plane. You see a lot of pushback with that, like with some, with, with, you know, organizations or whatever, pushing back saying, well, you know, there's not that many emergencies on an airplane for this to be justified or something like that, where you have to then say, well, there's so many other opportunities to utilize this in a safety way.

[00:18:05] That's only benefiting them really. Right. Well, we don't get pushback that overtly I'd never read it really difficult to get to the right people, you know, who make the decisions about these kinds of things. So, um, a big part of, um, Well, like getting together with the people at all wheels up is trying to lobby the government, um, and, um, you know, raise awareness with the FAA and, um, you know, department of transportation and, um, You know, various other entities that, um, number one, we need to update the 1977 study is actually a device.

[00:18:48] So, so let's do a study and a test and see how much safer and how much quicker it is to get people out of the airplane, um, than just grab and go. Yeah. And we know so much more now I feel like it doesn't even make sense not to write up. I mean, stuff like that should just always be re-looked at considering how quick.

[00:19:06] Technology changes, how quick, you know, how much we learn with science, everything just should be updated just to. See where we're at and check ourselves. Yeah. Even, um, even, uh, I forgot. I was afraid about the, Oh, well, um, we do have one story where someone actually used, um, a dance in an emergency evacuation on an airplane.

[00:19:29] Oh, that's great. I mean, not great, but great. Yeah, it will. Yeah. It turned out good. Um, the, a lax, um, the first one that we exhibited at, um, a woman bought, um, a dance for her and her teenage son, um, who I think has CP, she and her husband and the son were traveling from Toronto to Washington DC, and they had an emergency landing, um, for smoke in the cabin and did an evacuation on the tarmac.

[00:19:59] And, um, she and her has been used it to get her son out and down the slide. And then they gave it to the flight attendant and told them there's an elderly lady inside, you know, to go back and get her out. So they did. And that. That basically simulated, um, the two ways that adapts would be used at least on an airplane.

[00:20:21] One is if the passenger had their own with them and used it the way they did. And two is if the flight attendant order run to the safety kit, grab it out of the safety kit and use it to help somebody get out. Now, just out of curiosity, like if somebody, I mean, I think a lot of this is assumption of like, people have, you know, maybe they have it with them.

[00:20:40] They put it on the seat before they sit down and things like that. But what if it is an emergency you're not planning on using it? Something comes up. Is it easy to transfer someone who maybe doesn't have the same physical ability to kind of like, you know, roll themselves or whatever, or get on to it?

[00:20:54] What, what, you know, how simple or easy is it for somebody to transfer themselves onto the adapts? Yeah. So, you know, you know about the lab role, right? Like if you're going to change the seat under someone you wrote loud rolling. Same thing. If it, if they're sitting in a seat on an airplane and you need to get it under them, then they just sort of lawn roll over, tuck it under.

[00:21:15] Log roll back, pull it through and then grab them and, and, um, grab the handles and lift them into the Island. And off you go to the exit. I mean, that sounds like seconds and, you know, in an emergency considering what it could take to try to. No, get your wheelchair out. And they can't even get that out in an emergency.

[00:21:36] This is what people often don't think about is their wheelchairs checking cargo. Right? So, um, even some airplanes have, um, onboard, uh, collapsible wheelchairs that they use, like on a long flight to get someone to the laboratory or whatever, but you can't put that together in an emergency. Number one. And number two, you can't send something.

[00:21:59] Bulky and sharp down and inflatable slide. Um, so it, it that's one reason why adapts was designed with no buckles or, you know, um, uh, anything sharp that might poke a hole in the slide. And it had to be something really simple that you could pretty much intuitively. No, you just grab her handle and go.

[00:22:22] Yeah. I think you from really multiple sides of the community coming as a flight attendant, being in the medical community, religious, seeing it all is probably what made you prep to be a perfect person to kind of create something like this. Cause you really can see the knee. You're not having to jump through any hoops.

[00:22:39] You see the needs, you know, what will work, what won't work, know all of those things. I think that really kind of puts you in the best position possible. Well, I, and I think that's all my experience has sort of dovetailed into this one moment where I can, I can, um, pull on that experience and that knowledge, um, whereas some of the other, uh, devices out there, uh, the people who designed them don't understand necessarily why their device wouldn't be able to be used in an evacuation or, um, uh, there, you know, other similar.

[00:23:16] Oh, ideas that, um, just take too much time to put together, or they're too complicated to explain how to use or whatever, um, or they're made out of webbing and you don't want to be sitting on webbing. I want to be comfortable at the same time. Right? Exactly. And it comes with the same idea of that. You just want that independence and that sense of.

[00:23:36] South. You don't want to feel like you're in a situation that isn't just a comfortable situation for you. Right? We do get a lot of questions too, about like, why is it made in yellow? And the reason is because emergency equipment on the airplane is yellow. The oxygen masks are yellow. The life rafts are yellow.

[00:23:54] The life vest are yellow. Um, and it's kind of a universal color of distress. Yeah. So now have you considered doing other colors for people that are using this in a non-emergent situation? So people that are using it as transfer, things like that, we'd be happy to do that. The thing is, is, um, we ha it's expensive to do in small lots.

[00:24:16] So, um, if there were a company, like, let's say an airline wanted to buy them for. You know, the whole air airline, and let's say their colors were blue and red. I'm sure we'll make them all blue and all red and put their branding on them. You know, if that's, if that's what they want. Um, but one-off orders, it's just really expensive to do multiple colors until we get enough of a father.

[00:24:41] Yeah. Until you grow it. Well, I can't imagine. It's only a matter of time because it just seems like such a need. I can't see how it would change. Well, the other point is the yellow color is in low light, um, circumstances where you have smoke in the cabin and, and, you know, you want to be seen, you know, you want to be.

[00:25:01] You want it to be obvious that this is a person who needs help and, you know, a good point. I don't think you'd, you don't think of that, you know, especially, and if you're using it, like you said, if, if someone's got to be transferred onto it or offer you wanna be able to see it clearly in an emergency situation so that, you know, you're not having any difficulties with it and the person's not having any difficult.

[00:25:23] No, one's having difficulties with it. It's just, you're on and off of it easily. Right. I guess the idea would be, I would assume it'd be as quick as possible. Yeah. That's what I mean. That's what it's all about. You know, it's just, um, when time is of the essence, um, and when it's not, you can use it to see the world, you know, take it to, uh, a hotel room or.

[00:25:43] Uh, like I mentioned, the, um, amusement parks are, um, you go to a friend's house, it's not assessable and you need to get up the stairs. They have, you know, a handful of stairs getting into the house or, or maybe they have a pool and don't have a hoist. Yeah. So who are you selling these to? Primarily? Is it.

[00:26:00] Right now, is it mainly individuals, organizations, corporations, like who, or who is your main demographic? Um, well right now, originally it was the airlines, but, um, when we realized how difficult it is to get to the right people and the decision makers, um, we decided, well, let's take it to the community and build awareness.

[00:26:18] So our main market is, um, you know, the P the attendees, uh, for the abilities expos. So originally I thought it was going to be wheelchair users who are travelers and know maybe sports teams that are going to the Paralympic games, you know, those, those kinds of people. But what I found out after I got to the abilities expo is probably my biggest market are the.

[00:26:42] Um, people were, um, CP, um, you know, the families, uh, I mean they just look at it and say, Oh my gosh, this is like you said a no-brainer and you know, the kids are getting bigger and heavier for the parents, one parent to handle. And, um, as they grow, they need to. Something where, you know, both people can help.

[00:27:04] So, so my market has kind of morphed into more than that kind of demographic than necessarily the, um, uh, paraplegic, um, market. Hopefully the more individuals it's, you know, it's kind of like the. You know what comes first, the chicken or the egg, but like the more individuals that are purchasing this, it's almost like, why wouldn't they just like, I think it'll get, hopefully get to a point where then it's like, Oh, we need to have this on our airplane.

[00:27:32] We need to have this in our doctor's office. We need to have this at the, you know, just everywhere. So that. Yeah. I'm even thinking like nursing homes, like how many times are nursing home AIDS having to lift somebody and transfer somebody that's not even healthy for their employees and safe for their employees.

[00:27:47] I'm thinking about COVID and there's like so many less employees working right now. And they're in a tough situation. Having something like this, it's gonna re it's just. Act also lifting a burden off of people, uh, caretakers as well. Right. I dunno if you remember, but, um, one of the hurricanes, a couple of years ago, there was a nursing home right across the street.

[00:28:10] This is in Miami, I think right across the street from a hospital. And. People died in that nursing home because they couldn't get them across the street to the hospital. And, you know, a lot of, uh, like, uh, um, some of the neighborhood emergency response teams will teach, um, roll up a blanket and, and put the person on the blanket and then grab the edges of the blanket to carry them.

[00:28:36] Have you ever tried doing extremely dangerous, your fingers, like can barely hold on to the role that you've created. So, um, yeah, it it's, I, I wished that my company had been further along at that time, it would have been great to donate to, you know, places like that to help with their evacuation. I'd love to get it into FEMA, you know, um, for the red cross or somebody that can.

[00:29:03] Right. For, for those times when they have, you know, getting people to shelters, you know, um, we have wildfires in California and earthquakes, you know, if there's rebel outside, you're not going to be able to take a wheelchair. Yeah. But if you get people to a shelter and the shelters aren't equipped necessarily to handle, assess, you know, have assessable accommodations, um, then, you know, having something like this to help.

[00:29:31] Get people. Yeah. Yeah. You know, again, I mean, like you can't imagine being in a situation like that, you're already losing a lot. You're already scared. You're already in a difficult situation. And you know, some of these people probably, maybe don't have a caretaker with them and they're all alone. And you know, to know that like, Oh, okay.

[00:29:49] You know, FEMA is thinking about me. Or the red cross was thinking about me or whoever, you know, that you've, that they have this item. It's like, Oh, okay. I'm not just, uh, you know, I'm not just collateral damage here in this situation. I'm part of the situation. And they're looking to help all of us. Right.

[00:30:05] We had, um, here's one from him. For the highway patrol people out there, California highway patrol came up to us, our very first abilities expo and said, Oh my gosh, we need these, you know, if we can just put these in the trunk of every patrol card, um, when they get a nine 11 call because someone's fallen at home.

[00:30:23] Yes. Yeah, they have to send two patrol cars out so that there are four people to help get them up off the floor or wait for an EMT or something like that. Well, they had a dance in the patrol car. They'd only have to send one patrol car and the other one could be out. You know, doing what they normally do and, and, um, and you know, it would only take two people to get them up.

[00:30:47] So really we're also saving taxpayer money, which everybody likes to do claim, or that they haven't gotten some sort of C spine injury or something. Yeah, but so many, I feel like so many calls or responses to just a fault, just somebody who fell and can't get back up and just need help. And they're calling because they don't have anyone to help them up.

[00:31:07] And, um, I mean, we've experienced that in our own family that you, you know, someone's gotta be able to go get them. And, you know, I know like around here, if you're an independent living. Situation. They're not allowed to touch you. They're not allowed to go up there and I don't want to anything. So, you know, they can help you off the floor.

[00:31:28] Like, so, you know, if there's situations like this, it just seems like it's crazy to me that everyone wouldn't just have this available and be out there. So we need to help get the word out. That's that's yeah. That's the role of today is to keep, uh, keep projecting that out for you guys. Keep, uh, hopefully sales going up.

[00:31:46] Cause it is. It's an amazing product that really helps with independence. You, you do have it. It's the form of confidence. Um, and you know, we're learning like confidence is huge for people in the disability community because, um, it's hard to obtain that a lot of times. And then that independence builds that confidence and having that is, is tremendous.

[00:32:06] So you guys are pervert providing a great service here, which is awesome. So I want to shift a little bit, cause I actually have some questions. I. Uh, did a little research and watch some of your videos, but I heard you mention like briefly in one of them that you have a packing plant in upstate New York that employs individuals in the special needs and disabilities community.

[00:32:28] How did you get involved in that? I think that's awesome. You're like doing two things at once here. That was another, um, networking opportunity from the abilities expo. It was the New Jersey abilities expo, and a woman who worked at pine Ridge industry. She's in charge of business development, came up to me and said, we w we want to, you know, get your contract and we want to be able to do your fulfillment.

[00:32:51] And, um, so I went out to visit them. It was actually, it was before the bust and expo. I, I figured, well, I'll, I'll stop. And. So your, uh, is in Schenectady, Schenectady, New York on the way to Boston then. Um, so took a tour of the facilities and I was really impressed. Yeah. They, they employ people from the disability community.

[00:33:11] Um, they are not a sub minimum wage employers, so they paid them, you know, minimum wage and they did the contract. Um, that way. And, um, and basically they take delivery of the slings and they're made from the factory or factories in Fort Wayne, Indiana. And, um, they shipped them to pine Ridge industries in Schenectady, and then they do all that QA and they do the folding and, um, then they do the packing and they do the inventory.

[00:33:45] And then when they get it, When we get an order, they get the order and may, um, pack it and ship it out. So they're pretty much other than other than the manufacturing of it. They're pretty much doing it all. They're, you know, they, they, um, yeah, they do all the, they call it picking and packing, picking and fulfilling.

[00:34:03] Nice. Nice. So how many is it? Do they, I'm assuming they do that with other, um, companies, other businesses as well? It's not just adapts. I know they have several other companies. Um, they have one, um, I, Oh gosh, I wish I remembered the name of it, but it's a woman that using an invite he's has an environmentally friendly, um, diaper for babies, you know?

[00:34:29] Um, and she's probably their biggest. Um, company that's in there and been in there for a number of years and the rest are all small businesses like mine. That's awesome. I think it's awesome that there's an opportunity, maple syrup company, and you know, other things like, you know, they happen to be people that employ people in the disability community.

[00:34:49] And mine happens to be a product used by the disability community, but all the products there are not. My main, my main and being the only one that is actually used by the disability community, probably their favorite, then you're probably their favorite.

[00:35:07] I think that's really awesome. I think it's awesome too. Like, you know, you're, you're. You're helping double duty there without even realizing it. I mean, it's difficult. I think when someone's in the disability community to, you know, to be, get employed or be employed just with stigmas, with anything that's going on and, and wage pay is another huge, you know, conversation we've had a lot.

[00:35:33] Um, I think that the fact that there's no. Industries out there that are willing to just be like, this is what we're going to do, and this is how we're going to do it. And the fact that you can kind of do that and help the community in this way too. You're really making a, you know, a double difference.

[00:35:47] Yeah. There

[00:35:51] are factories in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and they have been, um, uh, I don't know what you want to call it. Uh, moved over now to making the PPE for healthcare providers. Um, so they'd been working around the clock 10, 12 hour days, crazy getting caught up with PPE. Um, so, but they managed to squeeze in little blocks of the orders, um, uh, for.

[00:36:17] You know, refilling our inventory for adapt so we can stay ahead of the orders as they come in. It's tough. But I think everybody in a position where they just understand that if they order something, it's, we're going to get it. When we get it, we kind of lost the whole, I need it from Amazon tomorrow kind of attitude.

[00:36:34] And we understand that like everything's being fulfilled when it can get fulfilled. Yeah, this is the time for people to be very forgiving about that kind of thing. Yeah. There's nothing we can do about it, really. Um, so I also noticed you have some really, you know, separate from what I feel like other, um, corporations or businesses or companies to do is you have this resource that people can purchase and use, but you seem to have a lot of great resources.

[00:37:01] On your website for anyone looking to use or purchase one of them? Um, um, I was pretty impressed with seeing how easily, you know, like, okay, so you have one now, what can I use it for? How can I use it? You have all these great videos and resources on your site. Um, I, you know, I guess this isn't really a question, but I was just really impressed by that.

[00:37:22] And I also see that it seems to, if I was somebody that was like on the fence about purchasing something like this, maybe from being apprehensive to thinking this might be difficult to use, generally seeing it in use, you know what I mean? Uh, in the mainstream, like I'm not out somewhere and see someone using it as often.

[00:37:39] At the moment, um, seems like a great way to help ease any apprehension in that way. Right? Well, the videos came out I'm that we've put up on our YouTube channel. The videos came out as a result of people coming up to us at the booth and saying, well, how do I fold it back up again? Oh my gosh. That's like our number one.

[00:37:59] I bet it's like a map. It's really simple the phone back up, but it's not intuitive. So we did a video. And same thing with, well, how do I get it under the person, if they're already sitting in their wheelchair or sitting in an airline seat or whatever. So we found three different ways to do that. There may be more, and if there are more, we love to hear from people, but, um, three different ways to do that.

[00:38:25] And they'll all depend on the person's disability, you know, how much upper body strength they have and so forth. So we did, um, we did three videos of that. We did. Videos of what it looks like to get someone up off the floor, or how do you get it under them when they're lying on the floor or, um, you know, just it's, it's come through questions that people have had and, you know, we'll have a conversation with someone in the booth and then we'll go, well, let's make a video.

[00:38:52] Well, I think that's great. I mean, there are so many times where you hear. Companies be like, Oh, Oh, that's a good question. I'll answer it. And then that kind of goes by there and not thinking outside the box. And then third, probably a lot of other people with that same question. Oh, yeah. You can tell it a member.

[00:39:08] Yeah. You can tell by the number of times the video has been viewed, you know, the ones getting it under the wheel under the, when they're already sitting in the wheelchair, holding it back up, obviously those are popular. But, um, but yeah, I mean, it's, uh, it, you know, like I said, our research and development comes from our customers.

[00:39:27] I think. That's the right way to do it because that's the community that's using it, you know, that's the demographic. So to have that, like a feedback from them and stuff too, I think is a huge, so, um, which is great. So you mentioned all wheels up, right? Um, tell us a little bit about your, your partnership with them.

[00:39:47] Like what you do with all wheels up and who, and who they are, what they're doing. Right. So our wheels up is, um, a grassroots organization, nonprofit, um, that is trying to, um, get a wheelchair spot on airplanes, uh, you know, similar to what you would have on a, on a. You know, bus or a train, you know, a place where a wheelchair could lock down and the person could ride in their wheelchair on the airplane.

[00:40:14] And so the woman who started it is, um, Michelle Irwin. Um, and she had a son with a disability and she's, you know, they, they want to travel as a family by air. And so she's just done a remarkable. Um, organizational effort, um, she's networked with various airlines and airplane manufacturers and restraint systems.

[00:40:39] And, um, she does fundraising. It's just, it's just an incredible organization. And so. Anyway. Um, I was invited to be on the board of directors to help her with, um, advising about cabin safety. Um, and why some of the concepts, uh, what needs to be considered in terms of what the FAA might say, or, you know, what might happen in the evacuation and, um, You know, so, so I help out with that and we've made a couple of trips to Washington to talk to various, um, uh, congressional representatives and, and, um, their staff.

[00:41:18] Um, we're, we're trying to get the 1977 study updated. And, um, so sort of all of our, uh, political activism between our two organizations has kind of fallen together under the all wheels up, um, umbrella many, I think we're in we're at a time right now where it seems to be a little, another little shift in advocacy in disabilities, um, where.

[00:41:47] I can see it, you know, just, even with school and stuff where there's just seems to be a shift where the conversation changed. And instead of it being where, Oh, there's just not enough people for it to make a difference. Or there were to be like, Oh, this is a, you know, this isn't a minority group to the point where it's not, it doesn't matter enough to, to adjust things around it, which is a joke.

[00:42:09] Cause it clearly, you know, a lot of our country and world are affected by this. You know, by special needs or disabilities on whatever level that is. Um, wow. And I think, you know, back in 1977, there weren't as many people with disabilities traveling and now they're able to live much more, um, healthy lives, much, much more mobile lives.

[00:42:32] There are a lot more technological advances and gadgets and all kinds of things to make, travel really comfortable. You know, the one thing that has been sort of, um, you know, a roadblock to being really fully travel assessable is airline travel. You know, there's a huge worry about, um, wheelchairs being damaged in the cargo hold and.

[00:43:00] Um, huge concern. And you know, of course the airlines have to report on that now, but the airlines themselves have become very much more receptive to these ideas. And now is the time, um, it's, um, accessibility and inclusion is a huge topic lately. Um, you know, and, and I think airlines are starting to realize.

[00:43:26] That, uh, you know, in hotels too, it's not just airlines. Yeah. Um, you know, any place where amusement parks, marinas, you know, wherever they're starting to realize people with disabilities are mobile. They have money. They want to travel. They want to enjoy life and see the things that everybody else is able to see without roadblocks.

[00:43:48] Yes. Well, I think that's the key money. I mean, it sounds crazy, but the reality is we're consumerism, a consumer society where the thing that's going to speak the most to a large corporation or something like that is how is this going to affect their bottom line? How can they make more money doing something?

[00:44:07] And it, you know, all the time, I mean, there's a reason why Disneyland Disney world, their accommodations are so great. They understand that or group of their customer base is looking for this inclusion. Yup. And so if everyone thought that way and realized how it can only benefit them, even if, if that's the way we have to get it out there, like, you know, obviously it's more of a moral issue, but if whatever.

[00:44:35] Like, if I were to talk to you about money and that's, what's going to get you to make the change, let's make the change. Well, you know, what's also interesting about this topic is that in any given moment, any one of us could become a member of the disability community. Exactly. And you know, the people making the decisions and the corporate decisions either they or a family member could become a member of the disability community.

[00:44:59] And that's when all of a sudden they're going to get religion and realize. You know, why have we neglected this? Yeah. Now this matters. No, that wasn't me because it affects me directly. And I think that's what we need to, well, what we're seeing is we were kind of moving towards a more empathetic society, um, because you do have, you know, social media can be taken as it wants to be, but you're spreading this information.

[00:45:23] You're spreading the, the. Idea that there are people out there that need this help. They need these kinds of things and you can't deny it because here we are fully, well, here I am a fully able body person who gets to enjoy these things. Yeah. It's that I want, everybody wants a good quality of life. Um, so I think it's kind of where now compassion comes in.

[00:45:43] Absolutely. Yeah. And so now anybody can be empathetic towards that. And so to see that and be like, yeah, of course, absolutely. Well, that's like the positive and the negative of social media. Like the negative side is that everything is right there and people just say whatever they want to say and it's on their mind.

[00:45:58] But at the same time, people are spending so much time on social media, something they're looking for, the positive they're looking for. What else can be done there? You see all the, I see all the time, somebody for everybody for their birthday, I'm raising money for this. I'm raising money for this people.

[00:46:12] And they're raising money. People are. Instead of, you know, we're at 30 something years old. No, one's buying the gift for my birthday. Like, but if I put something up that says for my birthday, I'm looking to raise funds for X, Y, or Z. People are more interested in giving because I feel like it's on social media.

[00:46:29] We're giving it's so easy to just click 10 bucks here. Yeah. We're just in a society right now where if something instant gratification and. I mean, no, it sounds more terrible, but like something more instant gratification makes us feel good. It feels like we helped society in a way that we're more willing to do it just because it's right in your face on social media.

[00:46:48] Yeah. Yeah. But I think, you know it, and when you see a bunch of negative on social media, you're like looking for something positive. Yeah. You know, that's the beauty of working in the disability community. It's there's a lot of positives. Oh yeah. You know, it's like, you don't get a lot of negative, um, feedback about, um, at least, you know, we haven't gotten a lot of negative feedback at all about our mission or, um, like who doesn't support people being able to.

[00:47:21] Did not have their wheelchair wrecked and, you know, um, enjoy, you know, all the, all the places, any able person can. I don't know. But her name is probably, Karen said her name is probably Karen. Yeah.

[00:47:41] Errands. That was a joke. I do apologize to all my caring friends out there. We love you, Karen. You're funny. So Robin, what we'd like to ask all of our guests is if you had 30 seconds to speak to our community, what advice would you give them? Oh, yes. I thought about this before. Good. My advice would be.

[00:48:04] Assess your evacuation plan. You never know when you're going to have an emergency happen. Um, we all need an evacuation plan. Everybody does whether, you know, whatever natural disaster you get in Boston. I dunno, blizzards and hurricanes, maybe, um, California wildfires and earthquakes, you know? Everybody needs an evacuation plan and people with disabilities may need something, uh, beyond just what the rest of us hand.

[00:48:35] Um, if you need help getting out, you've got to have the ducks in a row before the emergency happens. You know what I mean? I think it's so funny. Like. You know, we teach children from kindergarten or preschool, stop drop, roll. How do you get out of the house? Don't touch the handle, check the windows. I mean, we're teaching these fire safety rules from preschool.

[00:48:58] I mean, from as soon as they can comprehend what it means, and then we talk about it on every commercial it's on commercials, it's on TV. What does it do if there's a fire, how do you get out of your home? What's your safety of expertise? I mean, I remember when our kids were little, it was like, okay, where are we meeting?

[00:49:12] If you ever had a fire and you get out of the house, where are we meeting? And what are your safety words of a stranger? Like you're, you're teaching these emergency things to children at a very young age. Why wouldn't we be thinking about what would happen if in other situations as well? Right? It should just be taught.

[00:49:30] It should just be a thing to have. Absolutely. And I, you know, I just think that, um, none of us really, you know, emergencies happen. You don't want to think about it, but you don't want to be stuck when it happens without a plan. Yes. And, um, so that's, that's the main thing we have. We have a resources tab.

[00:49:51] You might've found it on our website and, um, Ms. Wheelchair, California from 2018, Christina Jackson is our. Spokesperson. Um, strangely enough, when I met her, uh, it was at an event up in Sacramento that the California highway patrol puts on and she came up to our booth and said, Oh my gosh, I wish I'd have had this a week ago because I needed to be evacuated out of my apartment.

[00:50:15] Oh no. Fire. And, um, and I said, Oh, will you be our spokesperson? And that's how that all, I mean, that's, I mean, and that's a perfect example is that, you know, we're, we're talking about what would happen on an airplane, but there are tiny quote unquote emergencies that happen on a regular basis that me, and you might just think, Oh, and if this happened, I would just go this way or I would leave this way.

[00:50:38] And. There's a fire drill it, you know, my work and I just walk out and, Oh, no, I forgot my jacket. Like, that's what I'm thinking about. I forgot my purse, but for some people it's a larger issue. Even if it's a small thing, like there's a fire drill. How am I getting out of this building at two in the morning?

[00:50:57] Well, it's funny because they, I was just over at, um, uh, my clinic building. I had a hand surgery three days ago. Anyway, while I was waiting in the waiting room to go in, there was a sign up above that said, had a wheelchair logo and it said, uh, area of refuge. Oh, and it was in front of where the, um, elevators are.

[00:51:23] And it got me thinking, we call our campaign to why wait campaign hashtag why wait when hashtag minutes matter and what people who use wheelchairs are told. You know, on, on an, on a high floor is to go to the, um, area of refuge and wait on first responders come to you. So everyone's out of the building.

[00:51:43] You're just waiting for someone to come in. Well, in my answer is why wait? Yes, you have a dApps. The people in the waiting room, me, the lady behind the desk, the, you know, whatever we can. Get them on it. Grab a handle and go down the stairs with them. Yes. Um, Oh yeah. You'll now you'll start to notice, you know, in a parking garage, you know, there'll be an, uh, an, a sign saying, you know, this is where you wait, uh, for first responders, if you use a wheelchair, not to mention, like, imagine just being like in that situation, I mean, Oh, sorry.

[00:52:17] We'll catch you later. Like, bye. Have just have a seat here. We'll catch up. Well, when someone shows up running down the stairs and leaving somebody in a wheelchair at the top of the stairs, that's what I'm saying. You couldn't, I'd figure out a way to help them. You'd have, and you'd be like, well, how can I help this person?

[00:52:35] Like you? And you're wasting minutes. This will be my chance to show, but you're waiting. You're wasting minutes. Like you said, you're wasting minutes. Just figuring out a plan. At that moment when your brains aren't even working right. Versus we've got a plan, let's just do it. Yeah. Yeah. That's fantastic. So what are you working on next?

[00:52:54] I know things are probably a little bit different right now with COVID, but, um, what is adapts working on? What is it you're working on now? Well, my big shift now is since the abilities expos are canceled, um, Uh, or postponed, um, I'm working on shifting as much as I can over to social media and online marketing and, um, getting involved with, um, various like organizations like score and some other, they help advise, um, small businesses with, you know, there's some COVID topics right now, how to adjust your sort of your marketing plan and so on.

[00:53:37] So that's. That's the main thing and, um, the abilities expos, they just finished hosting a virtual abilities expo. Um, yeah, which was really interesting. We participated in that and the Northeast, you may know about this, but the Northeast. Um, cerebral palsy foundation is hosting a virtual expo in October, so we'll be participating in that.

[00:54:03] Nice. Um, and, um, so we're just kind of open to hearing, you know, other ways of getting. The awareness out in the marketing out. Um, you know, we'd love to be talking to the airlines right now, but you know, with the way, and they've cut back on flights and so on, and they're just in survival mode, it's, you know, that's kind of on the back burner for a while.

[00:54:27] I'm sure. But, uh, but in the meantime, there's, there's still natural disasters happening and there's. Still a reason to have a, um, emergency plan and, and, um, so that doesn't stop, you know, we have a product that it's best if it's demoed and people can try it themselves. Right. Watch it on video somehow. So, um, so reading about it, for example, or seeing an ad in a magazine or a story in a magazine doesn't really.

[00:54:58] Resonate with people as much as actual video and like a good visual that's exactly. I think what caught our attention when we were at the abilities expo is literally I was in one corner and Eddie was in another and called me over to be like, you have to watch them use this. They're using it right now.

[00:55:14] Like watch how they use this. Like it was because. It is, it's just not something you've seen before and it's just, you watch it. And you're like, Oh my gosh, why have we not seen this before? Yeah. Like, we've got to tell people about, we were like telling everyone we knew, right. I wanted to make a testimonial video and then we send it off to you guys.

[00:55:36] And then you kind of have like a little fun, fun, little thing it's done. We'll grab one for sure. I mean, I would grab one anyways, just because we have friends. Yeah. Bring it to Boston. We'll take a trip out to Boston. We'll break you for me. We have, we have friends my life. I just like jumped right in, but it's like, but we have friends who, I mean, I would have one just to have in my house because we have friends who might need it in an emergency or with somebody.

[00:56:04] Like, I just think that's something you just like, we put. I put, you know, emergency roadside kit in my trunk is something my dad always taught me to have, well, this would be the same. Why wouldn't you just throw this in your trunk and have it with you in case you needed it? I don't care if I'm on the roadside.

[00:56:18] You see Eddie's favorite thing to do not favorite thing to do, but every time we're driving, if someone's pulled over to the side of the road and they got a flat tire, they have an emergency. He's like, I got to stop. Stop and help them. Like you guys, you got tools. I got to listen back, literally pull over.

[00:56:33] I'll help you out. But I think, you know, what, if we drove by someone that was, you know, in a position that they needed help and we've got this in our trunk, I just think it, this isn't something that you need just because you have a disability just to have it in hand, in case you run into a situation where you can be.

[00:56:49] Yeah. Well, and to that point, we had customers come up and say, Hey, I want to buy two. I want one for the car. And in one for the house and, you know, um, exactly what you described. So we create, created a buy two coupons. So you get $25 off if you might do nice. Our customers asked for that gift. I feel like it's even like a great, I mean, as a gift, like, I feel like I know families that just like, wouldn't think to purchase this for themselves and just be like, Oh, I think this, would it be helpful to you?

[00:57:17] I know you're struggling. Or I think that, you know, you could utilize this. I just think. You your first one, you can go buy your second one here's coupon, but yeah, no, I think, um, that's great. So where can everyone, where can everyone find you? So, so we are, uh, online. Um, our website is adapt a D a P T s.org org.

[00:57:42] Perfect. Um, and, uh, don't be confused with.com cause that won't get you there. So it's adaptive. Dot org. And we have several tabs. We have a gallery that shows pictures of people using it. And we have, um, reviews, people that have used it and given us a little quote and, um, and we had a shock page and, uh, you know, then we have the page about our stuff.

[00:58:05] The story and we have FAQ stands in times. Like FAQ's because of course, every time someone comes to our booth and ask the questions, we add it to the Epic year. That's great. That's awesome. And you're on social media, right? I saw you're on Instagram. Yeah. It was on grade as adapt underscore team. And we're on Facebook as adapts.

[00:58:26] Start or perfect. Can we're on LinkedIn as a dance and, uh, what am I left out? Um, YouTube as a dance, you guys are everywhere, so you can't, everyone can find you, right? Yeah. It's not hard. Um, you can, even if you'd Google portable transport slang, I think we. The first thing that comes up. That's good. Well, that's good.

[00:58:49] But that also says that there isn't enough resources out there. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And we're, we're looking into, um, it's part of the ship, you know, now that we, um, are doing the abilities expos, um, we're looking into some, uh, like, uh, home medical equipment, uh, sites, you know, to, to put it up on, people have said, Oh, go to Amazon, but.

[00:59:13] No, no at work. Yeah. It's, I'd rather go to places that are specific for, um, products that the disability community is going to be using. I think like every time we are looking for something, the first place I look is like our local durable medical equipment store. Right. You know, and that's the first place I go.

[00:59:31] And then I'm like, can you get me this? Cause usually they don't have it in store. I'm like, can you get me this? I'm looking for something like this. And then, you know, we're both re both me and the store are researching what we can find. So in some, you know, we have stores here that you can just have this on the shelf.

[00:59:45] Yeah. That's exactly what we're looking for, um, to get it out there for distribution. Um, cause those are also mom and pop and small businesses. A lot of times we really want to try to support the, the as much as we want people to support us as a small businesses. Especially during COVID, you know, hoping all these little small businesses make it through this, this whole pandemic phase.

[01:00:09] Um, you know, we, we like to try to do the same thing. Yeah. Awesome. Perfect. Well, thank you so much. We really appreciate you taking the time to meet with us, especially through all our ups and downs with having to reschedule and everything. We really appreciate it and your time and yeah. It's been really fun and you know, I've got nothing but time, so we're just hanging out.

[01:00:36] Thank you so much for listening. We really hope you enjoyed this episode as always, please make sure you share with a friend and leave a review. You can find all the resources mentioned in this episode, on our Facebook or Instagram on. Special about special. Thanks again. And we'll see you soon.