WILL - Focus - October 17, 2013

Tatyana McFadden and IntelliWheels Marissa Siebel and Josh George on engineering a better wheelchair

This hour, we hear from University of Illinois wheelchair athlete Tatyana McFadden about her Chicago Marathon win this past weekend. Jim Meadows also talks with IntelliWheels’ Marissa Siebel and Josh George, who took third place in the men’s wheelchair division of the Chicago Marathon, about their Champaign based company that makes geared wheelchair wheels.


(Duration: 47:45)

Tatyana McFadden as she wins the Chicago Marathon

Sunday, Tatyana McFadden won the Chicago Marathon breaking a course record and becoming the first wheelchair athlete to win three major marathons in a year. In less than three weeks, McFadden will compete for a fourth title at the ING New York City Marathon. During this hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Tatyana about why she’s fond of marathons, how she’s preparing for her upcoming race in New York and where she keeps her race medals. McFadden was born in Russia and spent the first 6 years of her life walking on her hands in an orphanage. During this interview, we also hear from her about how that has contributed to the upper-body strength vital to her racing success.

Then in the second half of the program, Meadows talks with IntelliWheels’ Marissa Siebel and Josh George about mobility and innovation. Currently, the company makes geared wheelchair wheels that make it easier for people with less upper body strength to get around, but recently they have been working on prototypes for more active users. George, who took third place this past weekend in the men’s wheelchair division of the Chicago Marathon, is an athlete in residence for IntelliWheels and will test them when they’re ready.

Categories: Disabilities, Sports

WILL - Focus - May 23, 2013

Ryan Chalmers: Push Across America

Ryan Chalmers is attempting to push himself across the country from Los Angeles to New York in 71 days…in a wheelchair. This hour on Focus, we talk with Chalmers about why he’s doing it and how it’s going.


(Duration: 50:42)

Ryan and his team pushing into Champaign

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign grad, PADI divemaster and US Paralympian Ryan Chalmers has pushed himself more than 2,000 miles in the last few weeks, journeying the length of three to four full length marathons every day. He’s trying to cross the US in his racing wheelchair in 71 days, a distance of nearly 3,000 miles. He arrived in Champaign around 3:00 on Wednesday, and this hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Ryan about his trek and what inspired him to do it. We'll also talk with Ryan about his career as a wheelchair athlete - at the UIUC, in marathons around the country and the 2012 Paralympic games in London.

Read more to see a video about why Ryan's pushing himself across the country.

WILL - Focus - December 18, 2012

A Disability History of the United States


(Duration: 51:22)

An estimated one out of every five Americans has been diagnosed with one or more psychological or physical disabilities. That makes disabled Americans one of our largest minorities. And yet, most of our history books pay little notice to the role the disabled have played in our nation’s past. We’ll discuss the contributions of the disabled to our laws, policies, economics, popular culture, and collective identity, with Kim Nielsen, author of A Disability History of the United States.

WILL - Focus - January 31, 2011

The University of Illinois Model Serving Students with Disabilities”; and, “The Ghana Project

With Jean Driscoll, M.S. (Associate Director of Development, College of Applied Health Sciences, University of Illinois), and , and Brad Hedrick, Ph.D. (Director, Division of Disability Resources and Educational Services, University of Illinois)

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Categories: Disabilities, Education, Health

WILL - Focus - March 02, 2009

How Community Organizations Result in Community Savings

With Lyn Jones (President and CEO, United Way of Champaign County), and , and Brenda Davis Koester (Coordinator of Programs at the Family Resiliency Center, University of Illinois), and , and Dale Morrissey (CEO of Developmental Services Center, Champaign)

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