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Advocacy for Inclusive Disability Laws

MusicCityWheels was founded on the principle of advocating for more inclusive disability laws in Tennessee. Our journey began in August 2023 when we reached out to The Director of the Tennessee disability coalition, Carol Westlake, to discuss a vision for Tennessee—a vision that became the cornerstone of legislative changes. Here's a brief timeline capturing our key milestones:

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Legislative Impact:

The legislative efforts culminated in the establishment of a buy-in program by the bureau of TennCare, set to launch by January 1, 2025. This program is designed to provide accessible health insurance for working individuals with disabilities, without restrictions based on income, resources, or age.

Key Contributions

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For more details on our advocacy efforts and the people who made it happen, visit Tennessee Disability Coalition Staff and C5 Strategies.

Engaging Through Adaptive Sports

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Having played football at Vanderbilt from 2010 to 2013, sports have always been a vital part of my life. This passion has translated into active engagement in adaptive sports through MusicCityWheels:

2023

Participation in the Numotion golf tournament and hosting of our inaugural MusicCityWheels golf clinic.

2024

Continuation of adaptive sports clinics, leading up to our signature event, “Music City Wheels On The Green,” on October 25, 2024, at GreyStone Golf Club.

Watch my journey and advocacy in sports and visit our Charity Golf Page for more information on how to get involved.

Fostering Generosity and Support

MusicCityWheels is not just about sports and advocacy; we're deeply committed to community giving. Here's how we've made an impact:

  • Late 2023: Initiated our first campaign to raise donations for adaptive sports equipment.

  • 2024: Plans to expand our outreach and support, ensuring that more individuals have the opportunity to engage in sports and recreational activities.

  • Partnering with rehab without walls organization donating towards adaptive golf activities. Include link to that organization.

Look forward to more initiatives aimed at enriching the lives of our community members through generous contributions and support.

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Message From Me

In February 2022, a car accident in the rain left me with a C4/C5 incomplete spinal cord injury, paralyzing me from the shoulders down. Confronted with the realities of high costs and caregiving needs, I realized the systemic challenges faced by those with significant disabilities in Tennessee. Currently, we're forced to choose between Medicaid and the right to work and marry. 

Through MusicCityWheels, I'm advocating for change, particularly for initiatives like the Medicaid Buy-In Program. Our goal is a Tennessee where disability doesn't limit one's ability to contribute and thrive. Join us in this crucial advocacy for a more inclusive future.

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About Me

Before my injury, I was working within the healthcare industry and enjoying hobbies such as golf, guitar, sports and other outdoor activities with my wife and our big golden-doodle, Rory. Today, I am on a path of recovery and rehabilitation, doing physical and occupational therapy sessions four times a week at Vanderbilt and at a private center, doing water therapy, FES cycling and doing whatever it takes to restore motor function. I am also a big advocate of adaptive golf and plan to launch a MusicCityWheels adaptive golf tournament next spring.

I am blessed with a supportive family and have been living in Nashville since I graduated from Vanderbilt in 2013. While at Vanderbilt, I majored in Economics while also playing football. I’ve grown to love this community and its spirit and my journey has also introduced me to incredible mentors who have been a guiding light in my advocacy efforts. Although this was an unexpected twist in my journey and changed many aspects of my life, it hasn't dampened my spirit or drive. This experience has underscored the significance of self-advocacy and determination.

My mission now extends beyond personal recovery. I am mentoring others with similar injuries, aiming to develop a platform to inspire and spark change. One of my primary goals is to advocate for the implementation of a Medicaid Buy-In Program for Tennessee, which would greatly benefit individuals with disabilities like mine.

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About

Music City Wheels is dedicated to enriching the lives of individuals with disabilities across Tennessee. We advocate for policy reform through our involvement in the TennCare for Working Individuals with Disabilities Act, and empower the community with our adaptive golf clinics initiative that offers specialized golfing experiences tailored for individuals with disabilities. Our Harmonic Movements program provides hands-free adaptive music opportunities for individuals with high-level cervical spinal cord injuries using specially designed instruments and software. Our annual charity golf tournament and silent auction raise crucial funds to support our mission, while a dedicated social media campaign promotes awareness of disability benefits and inclusion. We envision a Tennessee where every individual with disabilities is acknowledged, celebrated, and nurtured, leading to a more inclusive, equitable society. Join us in creating a stronger collective voice that drives meaningful change, on and off the green.

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