All posts by denise

9 Great Gifts for People with Disabilities

Still have holiday gifts to buy, but you’re just stumped on what to get? Here are some ideas if your loved one has a physical disability.

1) A Good Night’s Sleep

For people who use a wheelchair, their body can get stiff and sore, and sleep issues like insomnia are common. A gift to relax the body or mind can help a person sleep more comfortably. Try a calming candle, white noise machine, or massage wrap.

2) Wheelchair Pouch

This handy contraption attaches to the wheel, arm or back of a wheelchair and provides convenient storage for personal items. Some are black and basic, while others are highly styled with vibrant colors and accessories.

3) Adaptive Clothing
There are many companies – like Target and Tommy Hilfiger – that offer clothing lines specifically designed for people with physical disabilities and seniors. Adaptive clothing often uses velcro and magnets rather than buttons and zippers; pants, dresses and shirts open to the side or the back; and shoes have easy step-in and closures. It makes everyday dressing easier. 

4) Computer Mouse

Make web browsing easier with a modified-use mouse. Varieties include ring (finger-controlled), pedal (foot-controlled), or orally-controlled options.

5) SAD Lamp

Studies show that people with disabilities suffer depression and anxiety at a higher rate than the general population. For loved ones with wintertime blues, a SAD lamp can help elevate mood by radiating the benefits of natural light, allowing recipients to experience “happy rays” even after the sun goes down.

6) Modified Cane

Canes have been used for centuries as walking aids. Modern advances have made canes even more useful. Especially helpful for seniors, retractable canes can expand to serve as a balancing aid when needed. Or, freestanding walking sticks remain upright, preventing users from having to bend excessively.

7) Electrical Adapter

Plugging in electronics can be a challenge for people with limited mobility. In addition to bending and reaching, the person must line up the prongs perfectly, which may prove difficult and frustrating. A magnetic electrical adapter allows devices to be plugged in quickly and easily.

8) Jewelry
Especially if your loved one is female, you can’t go wrong with a beautiful piece of jewelry. Always consider her personal needs and any sensitivities, but what woman wouldn’t adore getting a lovely necklace, bracelet or earrings this holiday season?

9) Personal Passion

One of the most thoughtful gifts you can give is something that relates to your loved one’s personal passion, hobby or fandom. What do they love to do? What are they always watching videos about on YouTube or Facebook? A gift that ties into something they most care about is sure to be appreciated.

We hope that gives you some good ideas. Now get out there (or online) and shop!

Here at Bussani Mobility, we’re all about independence and helping you get mobile. Our customers often become our friends, too, and we try to provide information about accessibility that goes beyond their mobility vehicle. If you’d like to see more helpful resources, click here.

Veteran Christopher Levy Wins a New Jeep

 
Veteran Christopher Levy Wins a New Jeep

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Congrats to the recipient of the 4th Annual Great American Jeep Giveaway at Westbury Jeep! Christopher Levy, U.S. Army, who served 8 years including tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, was honored earlier this year. Bussani Mobility worked with Westbury Jeep to install hand controls that operate the gas and the brake – and to give an American hero a chance to get back on the road. We salute our heroes.

Bussani Mobility Creates First 3D Accessible Parking Aisles

To raise awareness for the importance of respecting accessible parking spots, Bussani Mobility has created the first 3D accessible parking aisles.
[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0c0-lYimrQ[/embedyt]
The goal of the 3D accessible parking design is to bring attention to a significant issue faced by people who use wheelchairs or scooters. The 3D optical illusion of a raised barrier was created to stop someone who is not disabled from parking on the access aisle, thereby keeping it open for someone who needs it to deploy a wheelchair van ramp.
The 3D handicapped parking aisles are in place at Bussani Mobility’s Smithtown and Mamaroneck locations, but Bussani Mobility CEO Daniel J. Bussani says: “The 3D accessible parking aisles should be done everywhere, not just at mobility dealerships. They help people be more aware of the everyday obstacles faced by people living with mobility challenges. If someone parks illegally in those spots, especially if they block the striped lines, the person who needs the access won’t be able to exit their vehicle. Let’s all pay more attention … and do a little bit of good in the world.”
Accessible parking abuse is rampant. In fact, in a recent U.S. survey, 74% of participants said they have witnessed accessible parking abuse. People with disabilities make up the largest minority in the world, according to the United Nations, and mobility disabilities affect one in eight adults in the U.S. Yet the daily challenges faced by this group, like parking, are largely ignored by society.
The 3D access aisles are part of a larger, nationwide program launched by mobility vehicle manufacturer BraunAbility, in honor of the recent 29th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Bussani Mobility is one of 17 mobility dealership locations across the U.S. that is installing 3D accessible parking designs to combat illegal parking in spaces designated for those with mobility disabilities.

John Bussani Inducted Into NMEDA Hall of Fame

JohnOn March 7, 2019, our founder John Bussani was inducted into the NMEDA (National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association) Hall of Fame. He was honored as “one of the true pioneers and ground-floor innovators” of the mobility industry.
John’s Backstory

NMEDA told the story of how John fled Yugoslavia at the age of five with his mom, to join his father, who had defected to Italy to make a better life for his family. He remembered riding on a train in the dark, with the sounds of war raging all around him.
He had his first glimpse of the Statue of Liberty at 11 years old, from the ship that brought his family to America. They settled in Hoboken, New Jersey, and later moved to Freeport, New York. Later in life, John served in the U.S. Army, and experienced some of the physical challenges faced by veterans who were disabled in their service to our country. He started thinking about how he could help.
After the war, John worked as a draftsman and then started repairing automobile transmissions. While having dinner with friends one night, he was introduced to a polio survivor and the conversation touched on mobility. That night inspired him to start on a career that spanned over four decades and touched thousands of people’s lives. At first, he worked out of the trunk of his car, visiting people’s homes to put hand controls in their vehicles. John went on to become a charter member of NMEDA; was actively involved in developing the QAP program; and participated in the Adaptive Driving Alliance, as well as leading industry organizations.
Advancing People’s Lives
John retired in March 2017, and passed the torch to his son, Dan Bussani, who is a co-owner and CEO, and who has been involved in the business his entire life. Today, Bussani has two locations on Long Island (one in Nassau and one in Suffolk) and one location in Westchester, New York. Dan Bussani shares ownership of the company with co-owners and long-time employees, Dan Walsh and Stephen Wilmer.
At the time of John Bussani’s retirement, Nassau County District Judge Hon. Robert E. Pipia, who is also a customer and friend of Bussani Mobility, wrote this about him: “John’s development of his business and his hand in the nurturing of the vehicle modification industry, setting the standards to what it has become nationally, and has advanced the lives of individuals with disabilities throughout our country, making people mobile, and most importantly, independent. Where would we be without John’s vision and hard work? Enjoy all the fishing and libations you so richly deserve, John, because you ‘got us there.’”
His Inspiration

When John Bussani received his award, to much applause, he talked about how it “was an incredible honor.” And, he went on to acknowledge some of the people he met early on that made a big impact as he was starting his business.
First, there was Alan Ruprecht, founder of Drive-Master in New Jersey. He would not allow his disability to stop him from driving. So, he fought back and used his ability to create universal hand controls to help him regain his mobility.
The second person who impressed John with his beliefs and business ability was Ralph Braun. He was told he probably would not survive past his early teens, let alone have a job or family. He proved them all wrong. Ralph’s abilities rose above his physical challenges to create products for his own use that, over time, became the world-class industry leader, BraunAbility.
And third, was Peter Zarba, who started as a customer and then worked for Bussani Mobility for 30 years. He inspired everyone who met him, and led the way by playing quad rugby, marathons, kayaking, fishing, and even skydiving ─ always putting abilities above disabilities. He said: “Pete was a daily reminder of what we (all of us in the mobility industry) work for, improving quality of life for people.”
Parting Words
John went on to say that these three unique people ─ Alan, Ralph and Peter ─ “were all told that their prospects were limited, but they saw beyond that. They saw the truth behind it, which was that they had abilities to live very useful and productive lives.
“In summary, we in this industry, are blessed on a daily basis to touch so many lives and help people achieve mobility freedom. We offer people products and services that are truly life-changing. So, keep it up, guys.”
John, everyone here at Bussani Mobility, is so grateful to you and proud of you!

One Bussani Customer Gives a Van to Another This Holiday Season

During this season of giving, a beautiful thing happened at Bussani Mobility. One customer gifted another with an accessible vehicle. And a Merry Christmas it will be!
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The first customer, who wishes to remain anonymous, walked in Bussani’s Smithtown location one day, in the market for a new wheelchair accessible van. He generously told Mobility Specialist Michael Garramone that he wanted to donate his current van to someone who needed it.
Long-time customer, Anthony Di Blanda, immediately popped into Mike’s mind. Tony had been in an accident over the summer on the way to church, at one of those Long Island intersections that truly needs a stop light. He made it through the accident with only some bumps and bruises, but his converted, 12-year-old Dodge with fold-out ramp was totaled. The family didn’t have collision insurance.
For six months, he and his family struggled with his transportation needs. His wife, AnnMarie, and his son had to lift him and his scooter in and out of their other SUV whenever they wanted to go anywhere. They often asked others for help.
handicap accessible van
“Tony has always been a person of positivity, radiating happiness. But that accident really got him down,” Bussani Mobility’s Michael Garramone said. “He was not happy because that vehicle was his independence. It was his way to drive and get out.”
Recounting the day Tony got the call from Bussani offering the vehicle, he said, “I remember that day. I said ‘thank you, thank you, thank you.’ The way they looked out for me was like family. It was truly amazing!”
The team at Bussani Mobility got to work fitting the donated 2007 Honda Odyssey with push-pull hand controls for Tony. It already had an in-floor, automatic power ramp installed. Don’s Hand Carwash of Smithtown also provided a free detail. And Branch Auto Care of Smithtown donated a free NY State inspection.
On Friday, December 8, the vehicle was ready and Mike handed the keys over to Tony and AnnMarie. When we asked where they’ll go first, Tony said with a beaming smile, “I’m going to wheel up the ramp in my scooter, sit in the back, and let my wife drive us to lunch!”
He went on to say, “She’s the real hero, the way she helps me, takes care of the kids, puts up the Christmas lights with a drill.”
The love between these two incredible people is palpable. Married for 25 years, they have three kids, now ages 13, 17 and 19. Just seven months after getting married, Tony was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when he was 30. As the disease progressed, Tony began using a cane, then crutches, and then a scooter.
“In the beginning, I was so down about what happened to me,” Tony said. “I didn’t even want to bother trying to do things. But now there’s so much technology. At one time, it looked like I couldn’t even get into a vehicle. But now I can even drive. A life that looked closed is now open again.”
handicap accessible van
When Tony drives, he parks his scooter in the passenger seat area and transfers over. “It gives freedom to me and my family. It allows me to be there for them. It makes you feel better that you can take other people places. I can go to Costco, you can go to Costco, we can go to Costco together.”
Before life with MS, Tony was a chiropractor and a biochemist. He then started teaching science. Now he helps out with the school’s alumni outreach program. He said, “Now, I’ll be able to get back to the school and see all the alumni faces again.”
AnnMarie added, “The vehicle makes life doable. It opens up the opportunity to continue to live a normal life together.”

WWII Vet Receives Accessible Van on 92nd Birthday


Yesterday, State Farm sponsored the donation of a wheelchair accessible van to WWII Veteran Sidney Germanski. We were so happy to be able to host the ceremony at the Bussani Mobility Team’s Mamaroneck, NY location, and provide the mobility conversion.

WATCH FIOS1 NEWS COVERAGE OF THE CEREMONY.

After learning of a local Mamaroneck Veteran’s struggle with daily transportation, State Farm coordinated with Bussani Mobility Team to secure a van and worked with Star Body Collision to have it equipped to meet his needs. The 2007 Dodge Caravan is a wheelchair conversion with fold-out ramp and wheelchair tie-downs.
92-year old Sidney Germanski is legally blind, paralyzed and uses a wheelchair. He depends on his wife and the local Veteran’s Affairs office for his daily transportation needs. “It has been a daily struggle and hardship to get me where I need to be,” commented Mr. Germanski. “This new van will
change my and my wife’s life significantly, and we are so grateful.”
Monday’s vehicle donation ceremony happened to be Mr. Germanski’s birthday. “I couldn’t ask for a better birthday present,” he said.  Mr. Germanski plans to use the new vehicle to travel to the White House where he will be presented with a Medal of Honor for his military service. “One of the most important days of my life,” he said.
Photos courtesy of Risa Hoag.

Elegant Chrysler Pacific Coming Soon

Car and Driver
A new mobility minivan, the Chrysler Pacifica, has officially been unveiled. The vehicle is so elegant that Car and Driver calls it “one of the best-looking van bodies ever plopped atop four wheels.” BraunAbility has designed conversions for people living with physical disabilities. Features vary somewhat, but here’s a look at what you can expect when you get behind the wheel.
The Pacifica offers power side-entry with in-floor ramp and interchangeable front seats. There is slightly more space than in its Town & Country counterpart. The interior styling is reminiscent of a Chrysler 300 sedan, and the luxurious two-tone leather and wood accents will make both driver and passengers feel pampered. In addition to style, the Pacifica boasts better handling and noise control.
The minivan also comes with great technology, with UConnect, a second-row entertainment system filled with games and perfect for long car rides. Chrysler is also working to make a hands-free door option not just for the rear tailgate, but for the sliding doors on either side available as well. Now caregivers and wheelchair users can operate the door/ramp/kneel system entirely by passing a foot (or footrest) beneath the frame of the van. And for anyone wanting to extend that new car look as long as possible, the Pacifica comes with a Stow n Vac, making quick clean-ups convenient and easy. A panoramic sunroof and rear park assist with stop technology are the cherries on top of the cake.
Bussani Mobility will start taking advance orders for the Chrysler Pacifica this month.

Life Rolls On: Jesse Billauer’s MXV

jesse billauer mxvJesse Billauer is a well-known surfer from Pacific Palisades, California.  Jesse suffered an accident at the age of 17 in 1996, hitting his head on a shallow sandbar after being knocked off his surfboard by a wave. The force broke his neck, severing his spinal cord at the C6 level and instantly rendered him a quadriplegic. Just three years later, Jesse designed a surf board equipped with a bar to hold on to, allowing paralyzed individuals like him to get back to surfing. He took his passion one step further starting the life Rolls On Foundation, an organization dedicated to introducing wheelchair users to skating and surfing.

WATCH THE VIDEO! Jesse explains how the Ford MXV has changed his life. You will feel his excitement.

Jesse Billauer was never interested in owning a wheelchair accessible vehicle because he cared too much about style to settle for a minivan until he was introduced to the BraunAbility MXV. When the BraunAbility MXV came along, he quickly changed his mind about accessible vehicles. He drives an MXV equipped with a B&D 6-way transfer seat, a push-button gear shifter and dealer – equipped hand controls, allowing him to transfer from his chair and drive. Now the Life Rolls On founder drives completely independently without sacrificing space or style. SEE MORE DETAILS

Life Rolls On: Jesse Billauer's MXV

jesse billauer mxvJesse Billauer is a well-known surfer from Pacific Palisades, California.  Jesse suffered an accident at the age of 17 in 1996, hitting his head on a shallow sandbar after being knocked off his surfboard by a wave. The force broke his neck, severing his spinal cord at the C6 level and instantly rendered him a quadriplegic. Just three years later, Jesse designed a surf board equipped with a bar to hold on to, allowing paralyzed individuals like him to get back to surfing. He took his passion one step further starting the life Rolls On Foundation, an organization dedicated to introducing wheelchair users to skating and surfing.
WATCH THE VIDEO! Jesse explains how the Ford MXV has changed his life. You will feel his excitement.
Jesse Billauer was never interested in owning a wheelchair accessible vehicle because he cared too much about style to settle for a minivan until he was introduced to the BraunAbility MXV. When the BraunAbility MXV came along, he quickly changed his mind about accessible vehicles. He drives an MXV equipped with a B&D 6-way transfer seat, a push-button gear shifter and dealer – equipped hand controls, allowing him to transfer from his chair and drive. Now the Life Rolls On founder drives completely independently without sacrificing space or style. SEE MORE DETAILS

MXV™ Wheelchair Accessible SUV is Here!

People who use wheelchairs can now choose a practical vehicle that’s not a minivan. Built on the Ford Explorer chassis, the BraunAbility MXV™ (Mobility Crossover Vehicle) is the first wheelchair accessible SUV being offered to the mass market.
The MXV personifies action and independence while allowing for easy access and safe driving by people living with physical disabilities as well as caregivers. It has been described as offering the freedom of an accessible van with the style and swag of an SUV.
MXV White REV small
Brought to market by trusted mobility conversion manufacturer BraunAbility, the MXV is getting rave reviews across the country. The vehicle has recently become available for purchase in New York State and is available at local mobility dealer Bussani Mobility’s four locations.
“The MXV represents a new era in mobility,” said Daniel Bussani, Vice President at Bussani Mobility Team. “This is nothing short of a breakthrough in mobility transportation options for people living with physical disabilities. It offers great new options for people to express their personality and live an active lifestyle.”
There are six patent pending features that maximize interior space without sacrificing style or safety, including a glide-out door operation and a space-saving sliding shifter. The in-floor technology makes the best use of interior space, and removable driver and passenger seating offers flexibility for power and manual wheelchairs. The SUV can be configured to meet the owner’s specific needs.
The MXV is on display at all of Bussani Mobility’s (www.bussanimobility.com) four locations: Bethpage, NY (Nassau County), Smithtown (Suffolk County), Mamaroneck (Westchester County) and Long Island City (Queens). Mobility specialists on-site can answer any questions about the vehicle.
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