As you may already know, the iBot, this life-changing mobility device, is no longer being manufactured. Why? It’s because of a complex set of circumstances generally having to do with too much government red tape and a pervasive attitude that disabled people do not deserve to live highly engaged lives – getting us from bedroom to bathroom to kitchen should be enough.
But we are not taking this sitting down. There are several efforts underway to save the iBot.
I help out with a nonprofit called America’s Huey 091 Foundation, which has so far purchased 23 iBots and provided them to disabled veterans. The Foundation feels so strongly about the life-changing effect that the iBot has on disabled veterans and civilians alike, that they have made it their mission to revive the iBot Program. They are working with the inventor, Dean Kamen, and a variety of other influential advocates, in an all-out blitz to get this done.
The Hallmark Channel has produced a new movie, called Cancel Christmas, which features a young, disabled boy who is given an iBot for Christmas. In fact, the Foundation helped the Hallmark Channel gain access to the iBot used in the movie. Of course, the cruel irony here is that nobody in the real world will find an iBot under their Christmas tree this year. Nevertheless, this is a touching story, and America’s Huey 091 Foundation is working with the Hallmark Channel to capitalize on the buzz that the movie will create for the iBot.
Click here to view the outstanding, six minute documentary that America’s Huey 091 Foundation has produced. Although Cancel Christmas is a made-for-TV movie, the Foundation, with permission from Hallmark, is presenting Cancel Christmas in a number of theaters. The above referenced documentary will be shown in those theaters as well. Check the Foundation's homepage for local theater viewing times.
Click here for more information about Cancel Christmas, including viewing times on the Hallmark Channel.
To visit the iBot page at America’s Huey 091 Foundation click on the word “iBot” in the top menu of their homepage, or click here.
If you are so inclined, please donate generously to the Foundation, not only to help disabled veterans, but to help save the iBot for veterans and civilians alike.
Another organization, which is working hand-in-hand with America's Huey 091 Foundation, is SavetheiBot.org. My friend Max Burt is a tireless advocate, and an iBot user himself. Please visit this website or the associated Facebook group to learn more about our efforts to save the iBot, and to sign our petition.
Click here to visit my YouTube channel too enjoy some videos of me and my iBot in action.
And finally, click here to peruse my previous blog posts about the iBot.
Game-changing technological advances which significantly improve the lives of disabled people should not simply fade away because of correctable bureaucratic flaws. For those of us benefiting from this wonderful device, allowing the iBot to become extinct would be like over-regulating and under-supporting insulin pumps or prosthetic hips until they were simply no longer available. Would we let that happen? I don’t think so.