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Former Shriners Hospital patient demos world’s first van designed for wheelchair users

Kristina Rhoades pops a wheelie as she demonstrates the MV-1, available locally at Destinations Mobility.

Kristina Rhoades, the 2005 Ms. Wheelchair California, recently drove to Sacramento in the MV-1, the world’s first specially designed van, factory-built from wheelchair users feedback.

A spokesperson for the manufacturer, Rhoades demonstrated the features of the MV-1 at Shriners Hospital for Children and was interviewed by the media.

After suffering a spinal cord injury as an infant, Rhoades was a patient at Shriners Hospitals for Children from 1997 to 2004. She has used a wheelchair most of her life.

Rhoades was joined by Richard Rosebush of Destinations Mobility, a division of Paratransit, Inc.

Because of Paratransit’s national presence, its long history in the mobility industry and its understanding of disability issues, Destinations Mobility recently was awarded the Northern California distributorship for the new wheelchair-accessible vehicle.

“We are really proud to be part of this new venture,” said Richard Rosebush, Destinations Mobility division manager.

For more than 211,280 seniors and people with disabilities in Sacramento County, being able to go anywhere they want when they want is a huge problem—not only for them, but for their families.

That’s why local nonprofit, Paratransit, Inc.—known for its blue-and-white mini-buses that give rides to the seniors and people with disabilities—recently started a new division to help people buy wheelchair accessible vans or add special equipment.

“While Paratransit provides rides on our wheelchair-accessible buses, we felt there was a huge need for personal vehicles,” said Linda Deavens, Paratransit, Inc., CEO. “It’s the California dream to have freedom of the road.”

The MV-1 from Detroit-based Vehicle Production Group LLC (VPG) is ADA-compliant. It also can run on compressed natural gas, a greener fuel.

Rhoades now lives in Georgia with her husband and their daughter. A graduate of Brenau University in Gainesville, Ga., she worked in radio before becoming spokesperson and manager of social media for VPG.

The MV-1 can be seen at the Destinations Mobility showroom, located at 2501Florin Road, Sacramento Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, go to http://www.destinationsmobility.com.

Founded in 1978, Paratransit, Inc., provides transportation services to seniors, individuals with disabilities, and related agencies in Sacramento County. The local nonprofit also accepts vehicle—and boat—donations. For more information, go to http://www.paratransit.org.

Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California provides the gift of specialized pediatric care to children with orthopaedic, conditions, spinal cord injuries, burns, cleft lip and scars from any cause. There are no barriers to care as admission is based on age and diagnosis. For further information, go to http://www.shrinershospital.org.

For more information on Rhoades, go to http://kristinarhoades.me. For info on VPG, go to  http://www.vpgautos.com.

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