Wheelchair race to raise funds for MS research and assistive devices

<p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>A special wheelchair race will be held Saturday, May 30<sup>th</sup> from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. in the Mount Logan Middle School gymnasium. The public is invited to take part and support Rapid Transit in their endeavor to provide affordable assistive devices.

<p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>Dreena Barker originally had in mind an event that could be a benefit for herself.

<p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>”I have M.S. (multiple sclerosis) and I was trying to raise money to build a therapy pool,” Barker said. “The ones available in the community are just too hot for people with M.S. so I needed a cool water therapy pool.”  

<p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>Dreena said since she was in a wheelchair, she thought a good way to raise money would be with a wheelchair race. She said the first one went well but she realized she wasn’t going to fulfill her needs immediately.

<p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>So she organized a non-profit group, Rapid Transit, to raise money for research and development of assistive devices. Dreena said this is the fourth year of holding the race and says it’s a fun time for all.

<p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>”It’s crazy good,” she exclaimed. “We have a sports announcer, we have music, we have cheerleaders. We’ve got tons of door prizes.”

<p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>Dreena said anyone can come. It’s $2 for spectators and $10 for racers. The wheelchair race is for all ages. People with or without disabilities can participate and there are senior citizen and pre-registration discounts available.

In her efforts to develop assistive devices, this year Dreena had the opportunity to work with the Engineering (MAE) department at Utah State University.  She presented her concepts to the department and they chose one of them as their senior design project.  

They are developing a self-operated transfer lift to assist those with handicaps to get in a bathtub, for example. As the part of the first half of the endeavor, it will be installed as a prototype in Dreena’s house by December and the second part involves making it commercially viable for others.

Dreena says one in 700 people have multiple sclerosis, an auto-immune disease, in the U.S. with 200 new cases each week. A portion of the proceeds of the race will also go to the local MS Society chapter.

<p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>For more information, or to pre-register for Saturday’s race, you can call Dreena at 752-6469 or go to www.rapidtransitrace.org.

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