LOS ANGELES,CA Sept. 23,2008 - NSHP -- Like most race car drivers, individuals with disabilities will have a pit crew made of 10 Seniors, 10 Bikers and 10 Fire Fighters during the 5th Annual Familia Unida Wheelchair Wash scheduled on Saturday, October 4, 2008, from 10-6 p.m. at Familia Unidas' office, 4716 E. Cesar E. Chavez Avenue, in East Los Angeles. These "Pit Crew members" are responsible for washing hundreds of wheelchairs, tightening up any loose screws, hauling dozens of water buckets, basically, rolling out the red carpet along with Honorary Chair Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis and other elected officials to welcome people with disabilities with a well-deserved day of pampering and beauty.
With the theme "Community Takes Action," the all day event will bring new hope and opportunities to thousands of people who live with disabilities. Such as in the case of Larry, who suffers from physical disabilities and is confined to a wheelchair. His medical condition makes it hard to find a job. After working with Familial Unida counselors, he was able to find a job with a prominent retail company in the area.
For ten years, Familia Unida has had a proven track record of providing unconditional love, hope and support for the disabled and highlighting the abilities of those living with disabilities. Just in Los Angeles County, there are over one million people living with disabilities and over 590,000 of them are currently looking for employment. "Despite the Americans with Disabilities Act and other Federal initiatives, high unemployment among people with disabilities remains a huge problem," said Irma Resendez, FULWMS founder and president. "In the past ten years, Familia Unida has continued to bring awareness to this unfortunate disparity and is committed to opening doors, searching for employment possibilities for people with disabilities who want to work, are qualified and are not being hired."
Familia Unida began during one summer in the home of the Resendez's Family. 10 Spanish speaking families came together to learn about the lack of resources and share hugs while trying to cope with MS. Some said Multiple Sclerosis (MS) was not a Latino disease. But in 1990, FULWMS founder Irma Resendez was 28-years-old and diagnosed with MS, an illness which paralyzed her from her waist down for almost a year.
Ten years later, (1998) FULWMS is finally in a position to fulfill its initial destiny. Back then there were no resources or support services available or accessible in Spanish. Today Familia Unida has earned the respect as the first MS organization in the country to reach out to the Spanish speaking community and has evolved to represent various cultures, various disabilities, and in multiple languages promoting inclusiveness
Organizers of the Wheelchair Wash (which is free and open to the public) will offer free washing of the wheelchairs; and also free haircuts, manicures, makeovers and massages. Other festivities include live music and entertainment, staring Comedian/Artist Shayla Rivera, featuring Octavio Castro a 13 year old singer who inspires us all from his wheelchair, La Risa - Laugh Yoga healing the hearts with laughter, in addition to arts and crafts and face painting and many more surprises! Free Parking will be available at the Brooklyn Elementary School located across the street. Those living with a disability must call (323) 261-5565 or (877) 298-3267 as soon as possible to register for the event, or visit http://www.msfamiliaunida.org to register online or donate.
Joining volunteers will be the sponsors, including PDG Promotional Design-Creative Inflatables, The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, ABC-7, The California Wellness Foundation, Bayer, Pharma, AARP, CVS-Pharmacy, Union Bank of California, Univision-34 Los Angeles, Ballet de Flor, Montebello Beauty College, The Black Family Foundation, JT Auto Style, OneVoiceInsurance.com, Univision Radio, Sing Tao Temple, Tien Tio Cho Fe Temple, Rancho Los Amigos Medical Center, LACtUSC, Teresitas Family Restaurant, White Memorial Medical Center, HealthNet, Young Heroes City Year-Americorp, Our Lady of Lourdes, Girl Scouts of America, St. Alfonso Church and other special friends.
About Familia Unida Living with Multiple Sclerosis
FULWMS was founded in 1991 and later incorporated as a 50l-c3 in 1998 by Irma Resendez as the first bilingual English-Spanish multiple sclerosis (MS) not for profit organization in the U.S. There are over 500,000 people living with MS in the U.S. and over 200 individuals are newly diagnosed every week. FULWMS has evolved to also provide selected services and programs that are inclusive of various types of disabilities, serving over 15,000 people a year. The Annual Wheelchair wash is its signature event. To learn more about Familia Unida's services, to donate or to volunteer, please contact the organization at: (323) 261-5565 or (877) 298-3267 and www.msfamiliaunida.org