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Eleven Year-Old Staten Island Resident to Receive Free Accessible Van at Abilities Expo

Eleven-year-old John Hudson Dilgen of Staten Island, New York is one of the thousands from the community of people with disabilities expected to attend Abilities Expo on Friday, May 4-6, 2012 at the New Jersey Convention & Expo Center in Edison, New Jersey. While attendees with disabilities, their families, caregivers, seniors, wounded veterans and healthcare professionals will all enjoy free admission and an impressive line-up of exhibits, workshops, celebrities, events and activities, John and his family will also receive the gift of independence. Thanks to the joint efforts of Ride-Away, the Cub Scouts of America and Man vs. Food host Adam Richman, the Dilgen family will be presented with an accessible van on Saturday, May 5th at 10:00 am outside the convention center.

John was born with Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), a rare disorder that affects 1 in 50,000 people and causes the skin to blister and tear at even the slightest touch, bump or fall. In particular, John has a collagen 7 deficiency in which the layers of skin actually slide off. When he wakes up each day, his family and caregivers assess the damage that he did to his fragile skin during the night, and clean and bandage the wounds which cover 50% of his body. John uses a wheelchair and blisters also affect is internal organs, hands, feet, mouth, and on difficult days, his eyes.

“We are thrilled to play a part in helping to change John’s life, as well as the lives of everyone who attends Abilities Expo,” said David Korse, president and CEO of Abilities Expo. “The Expo provides people of all ages and disabilities–whether it’s physical, learning, developmental or sensory–access to life-enhancing technologies, education, resources and fun. Most of all, it’s a celebration of what you can do, not what you can’t.”

Attendees at Abilities Expo will experience cutting-edge products and services for people with a wide range of disabilities. They will find mobility products, devices for people with developmental disabilities, medical equipment, home accessories, essential services, low-cost daily living aids, products for people with sensory impairments and much more. The Assistive Technology Pavilion, anchored by the New Jersey Assistive Technology Center AT Showcase, will feature the latest AT products for people of all abilities to experience hands-on.

A series of compelling, informative workshops which address pressing disability issues will be offered free-of-charge to all attendees on Friday, May 4th and Saturday, May 5th. Our popular travel and home modification sessions will take place on both days. Other workshops will focus on employment, PT for kids, social interactions, seating, finding the correct mobility device and that is just for starters.

Abilities Expo does not merely inform, it engages and it entertains. Attendees can learn some hip-hop and ballroom wheelchair dancing moves and play a host of different adaptive sports. And the kids will love the face painting.

On May 4th, be a part of the first annual Voices From The Net event, a free gathering of worldwide disability rights advocates, bloggers, supporters and Expo attendees sharing their experiences and fostering community. This event is brought to you by the founders of, where attendees can pre-register.

Abilities Expo participants can bring their old cell phones, iPhones, iPods or iPads to donate to the Gift a Voice Project, a program that refurbishes or recycles this equipment so that they can be used by people with communication disabilities.

Admission is free and show hours will be Friday 11 am to 5 pm, Saturday 11 am to 5 pm and Sunday 11 am to 4 pm. Complimentary loaner scooters and wheelchair repair will also be available onsite during show hours.

For more information, visit . Attendees may pre-register online, or register onsite when they arrive.

For this entire article: Eleven Year-Old Staten Island Child to Receive Free Accessible Van


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