Judy Heumann Receives Permobil’s Hero Award

Celebrated disability activist Judy Heumann received Permobil Foundation’s Hero Award at the organization’s fourth annual Roll the Dice fundraising event.

Ashley Davis (left) and Judy Heumann at the Permobil Foundation fundraiser.

Ashley Davis (left) and Judy Heumann at the Permobil Foundation fundraiser.

The event took place Oct. 6 in Nashville, Tenn., and Heumann was the evening’s keynote speaker. She addressed a crowd of approximately 250 Permobil employees, sponsors and wheelchair users, according to an Oct. 10 news announcement from Permobil.

Ashley Davis, Executive Director of the Permobil Foundation, said of the award, “For more than 30 years, Judy has been involved on the international front, working with disabled people’s organizations and governments around the world to advance the human rights of disabled people. The impact she has had, and the lives she has improved, make her a true hero in our eyes!”

Heumann has advocated for people with disabilities for more than 30 years. She talked about her advocacy work in her memoir, Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist, published in 2020. A young adult version of the book, Rolling Warrior, was published in 2021.

Heumann experienced discrimination due to disability early in life. At age 5, Heumann says via her Web site, she wasn’t allowed to attend school because — as a child using a wheelchair due to polio — she was considered a “fire hazard.” But Heumann graduated from Long Island University in Brooklyn in 1969, and earned her master’s degree in public health from the University of California, Berkeley in 1975. She was a founding member of the Berkeley Center for Independent Living, and worked in the Clinton (Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education) and Obama (Special Advisor for International Disability Rights, State Department) administrations.

Of the Permobil Foundation’s award, Heumann said, “Permobil enables individuals to be active, contributing members of society thanks to their many products. That is very important because it’s helping to break society’s image of what they think of disabled people.”

The event raised more than $101,000 for the Permobil Foundation, which since its founding in 2017 has “assisted over 3,400 individuals with the gift of mobility,” according to the news announcement.

Photo credit: Blu Sanders Photography via Permobil

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at lwatanabe@1105media.com.

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