Episode 079 -- Wheelchair Life and a Google Give Away with Garrison Redd

This week I talk with Garrison Red. Garrison is one of our neuro cousins. His spinal cord was severed in a random shooting 14 years ago, and he's lived life since then in a wheel chair. It's been quite a life since then and the big adventures are only beginning.

There's a lot of overlap in the stoke, spinal injury, MS, CP, ALS, and other communities. While the cause of our deficits may be different, we all face similar challenges living life in society not optimized for accessibility. And we can rely on similar tools for navigating that world.


Garrison Redd laying on his back and lifting weightsAt 17 years old, Garrison Redd was a dedicated student and a standout running back on his high school football team before his life catastrophically changed one summer night in Brooklyn. A victim of random gun violence, Garrison was shot in the back and instantly paralyzed from the waist down. But instead of feeling sorry for himself, Garrison pushed forward. He is currently training as a powerlifter for the upcoming Paralympic Games, serves as a motivational speaker and mentors at-risk youth living with paralysis.

Now, for the first time in 14 years, Garrison Redd can turn on the lights, TV and music in his NYC apartment without assistance. He can see who rings the doorbell and adjust the temperature. Voice activated technology is giving him the independence many take for granted. And for the next two weeks, the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is providing access for 100,000 people with paralysis and their caregivers to receive a free Google Home Mini device (July 26-Aug. 13).

All members of the Reeve Foundation community living with paralysis and their caregivers are able to receive a free Google Home Mini while supplies last. To join the Reeve community and confirm eligibility, visit Googlenest.reevefoundation.org. The offer to redeem the device expires on August 13, 2019, and is available to U.S. residents only.

Garrison’s website is thegarrisonreddproject.org and he can also be found on YouTube (Garrison Redd) and Instagram (@GarrisonRedd). Additionally, he moderates a powerlifting group on Reeve Connect where he shares fitness tips and workouts with members of the paralysis community.

Power Lifting with Garrison



Google Home Mini and Accessibility




Here are the eligibility requirement for the Google Home Mini Give Away through the Reeve Foundation:

  1. You are living with a physical disability, mobility challenge, or paralysis you are eligible for a free Google Home Mini
  2. You are a caregiver and providing care to an individual living with a physical disability, mobility challenge, or paralysis you are eligible for a free Google Home Mini
  3. You are living in the U.S.
  4. You have not already submitted for a free Google Home Mini

If you meet the requirements, head on over to GoogleNest.ReeveFoundation.Org and fill out the form by August 13.

This is not a sponsored post or an ad; I just want to share this program and Garrison's story with you. And I'd encourage you to share it with others in the Stroke Community, as well. It runs until August 13, 2019.

And once you have your Google Home Mini and set it up, one of the first things to with it is say, "Hey, Google. Play the Strokecast Podcast."

Unemployment and Disability

Here is some data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics:

In 2018, the unemployment rate for men with a disability (7.9 percent) was
about the same as the rate for women (8.1 percent). The unemployment rates
for both men and women declined from 2017 to 2018. Jobless rates declined
among Whites and Blacks with a disability in 2018, while the rates for Hispanics
and Asians showed little change. For persons with a disability, Blacks (11.2
percent) and Hispanics (9.8 percent) had higher unemployment rates than Whites
(7.3 percent), and Asians (7.1 percent) in 2018. (See table 1.)

Persons who are neither employed nor unemployed are not in the labor force. A
large proportion of persons with a disability--about 8 in 10--were not in the
labor force in 2018, compared with about 3 in 10 of those with no disability.

You can find the full report here.

Hack of the Week

Wheelchair maintenance is important. Repairs can be expensive and not always covered by insurance. Plus there's the time and hassle of not having use while a chair is being repaired. And there's the extra spoons it takes to drive a chair that's not in top condition.

The wheelchairs bearings can pick up a lot of junk. Over time that can make them wear out and fail.

Garrison uses nail clippers to clean them out. It's a simple tool that makes it easier to get into small spaces at awkward angles. It's made it a lot easier to keep his chair working properly.


Google Home Mini Giveaway


Garrison Redd Project


Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation


Garrison on Twitter


Garrison on Instagram


Garrison on YouTube


Garrison on LinkedIn


Garrison Redd Newsletter


Garrison's Power Lifting Forum with the Reeve Foundation


Rusk Rehab at NYU


Garrison on MILFDAD


Ti Lite Wheelchairs


Wheelchair Sports Federation


NJ Navigators Wheelchair Racing


Gaglione Strength


Heidi Latskey Dance


Unemployment and Disability


Where do we go from here?

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast

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