VisAbility Games Prove More Than Athletics

Saturday, June 24th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Today, more than seven million Americans live with some type of disability.

It can make everyday tasks difficult, and Saturday some Tulsans got an education in overcoming obstacles... thanks to the VisAbility games.

Let the education begin.

Learning what it's like to get around in a wheelchair is quite a lesson.

Those learning are the able-bodied people.
Those teaching are the disabled who know all about the obstacles faced by people in wheelchairs.

"Almost everywhere you turn there are different kinds of obstacles to find,” says Helen Epstein, Ability Resources.

Helen Epstein has been in a wheelchair since she got polio in 1951.

She's one of those helping to educate others at the 2000 VisAbility races.

“It’s to demonstrate how a person with a disability must overcome obstacles in life," says Epstein.

The folks at Ability Resources organized the races to raise not only awareness, but also money to help those with disabilities.

Carol Kamp is president of the Ability Resources board.

She says the non-profit's goal is to help as many disabled people live independently as possible, and it's working.

"Last year we were able to keep 163 people out of nursing homes that were scheduled to go into nursing homes by fixing up their houses or apartments” says Kamp.

Many with disabilities show the other competitors how it's done.

Instead of words, these hearing impaired contestants use elbows to communicate and they did pretty well.

There are a lot of lessons to learn at these games and a lot of teachers.

“What we’re looking for is equality. We’re not looking for special privilege but to go with the rest of the people and be accepted," says Brooke Tarbel, Ability Resources.

Ability Resources wrapped up its all-day event with a concert featuring Grammy award winning singer B-J Thomas.