The Difference Amigo Can Make

Friendly Wheels, Issue 119

April 2018

In this edition of Friendly Wheels, we get to meet Becky Jackett and learn a little bit about her story and how her Amigo helped her get home a week early from the hospital.


Getting Home Sooner with Amigo

Becky Jackett from Millington, Michigan is strong and determined, and with help from an Amigo accessory she was able to head home after foot surgery a week early!

Becky has an inspiring story. She worked as an educational sign language interpreter in Tuscola County for nearly two decades before retiring in 2010. Currently, she volunteers in two nearby school districts where she teaches sign language to fourth graders and the importance of sign language and service dogs to preschoolers.

She and her husband, Mike, will be celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary in October. They have two sons, Andrew (age 22) and Lucas (age 15). In August 2017, they welcomed April to their family. April, a yellow Labrador retriever, is Becky’s service dog. Becky has Muscular Dystrophy, and April has become a wonderful canine companion. April assists with picking up dropped items, opening doors and pushing access buttons.

April got her name because her birthday is April 5. She and her litter mates were given spring-themed names, April, Spring, Petunia—all are currently service dogs; and Izzo completes the bunch with a March Madness-themed name. Izzo is now a well-loved family dog. Becky highly recommends Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence (ADAI) based in Ohio, the organization that matched April with Becky and her family.

Becky’s other helpful companion is her Amigo. She got her first Amigo in 2005. Presently, she has a ‘True Blue’ Amigo RT Express Junior (the RTX Junior features a shorter platform). Becky’s sister, a University of Michigan Wolverines fan, says the blue is in support of her favorite team; Becky counters to say it matches the blue in the blue and yellow ribbons in support of Down Syndrome Awareness.

Lucas, her youngest son, has Down syndrome. Lucas was three when Becky got her first Amigo, and he did not like that he couldn’t ride with mom on it!

Bringing Becky’s story back to present day, you may be wondering how she got to go home from the hospital a week early. She had surgery earlier this month on her left foot to strengthen the bone structure and lengthen the Achilles tendon so she can push off the foot.

Rehabilitation specialists set her release date for March 21, which was three weeks after the surgery date. That seemed like a lengthy time to be away from her home and family. The staff at the hospital wanted to be sure her foot had a chance to heal and could be kept in a stable, elevated position.

Some of the reasons for the lengthy rehab time were that Becky wasn’t able to easily get around in a manual wheelchair, and adjusting the swing away footrests and locking the wheels for every transfer was not smooth. Also, options to rent a power wheelchair for a short period of time were not available.

That’s when Becky and Mike reached out to Amigo Mobility to see if there was a solution. Jake Priest, Amigo Mobility Center consultant, recommended a durable medical equipment footrest to attach to the platform of her Amigo. The footrest was brought to the hospital and attached to her Amigo, and the rehabilitation staff cleared her for release that day!

This solution safely supported her healing foot so Becky could head home sooner.

If you have a story about your Amigo you'd like to share, please email Sarah at We enjoy learning about your experiences!

Amigo Owner Helpful Tips

Why Proper Posture Is Beneficial

Al Thieme, founder of Amigo Mobility International, has always cared about health and well-being. He’s passionate about finding the right solutions for people to be healthy and independent. Ask any employee at Amigo, and that person will tell you, Al does more than research a product – he tests, uses and perfects.

Amigos do not come standard with armrests because Al wants that to be an option. Leaning on armrests is not beneficial for a person’s shoulders and spine. Going further, he will personally tell you that regularly replacing seating cushions on your Amigo is crucial for comfort and to help reduce the risk of skin breakdown.

Following up on Al’s advice, here are a few reasons why using proper posture is good for your health:

  • It helps maintain muscle health. If your core muscles can support you sitting up, using those muscles helps keep you stronger, longer.
  • Sitting up helps to alleviate a multitude of health woes, especially lower back pain (along with proper seating cushions, angles, etc.)
  • Altering your posture can boost circulation and digestion. Good posture helps to keep your internal organs, particularly those within your abdomen, in their natural position without undue compression.
  • It can enhance your breathing. Regularly slouching causes frontal muscles and tendons to become shortened, which decreases your body’s ability to take deep breaths.
  • Upright posture increases energy levels.

For additional Amigo seating information, please see here.

Amigo Celebrates 50 Years!

Looking back over the last 50 years, Amigo has seen some remarkable users. From Itzhak Perlman, a world-renowned violinist, to Colonel Sanders, founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Amigo owners prove that walking limitations do not define a person. Character, ambition, mindset and more leave a far longer-lasting impression than a mobility aid ever could. As Shelley Peterman Schwarz, Amigo owner since 1983, said, "Disability may have a hold on us but we must NEVER let it take over who we are."

Continue the look back at Amigo’s history on our Facebook page.

News Flash

Supporting Families in Many Helpful Ways

Supporting Families in Many Helpful Ways

Friendly Wheels, Issue 123

August 2018


Amigo owners often share inspiring stories. From overcoming a mobility challenge to figuring out innovative ways to go to new places to helping people in their communities, the experiences they share never cease to amaze us.

In this edition of Friendly Wheels, we get to meet Shannon DeWall, JD, an attorney, wife, mother and community volunteer in metro Detroit. Learn more about her story below.

A Family's Story of Reclaiming Hope

A Family's Story of Reclaiming Hope

Friendly Wheels, Issue 122

July 2018

In a time of crisis, it may be reassuring to know that there is another family that's experienced a similar situation: the Shepherds. James Shepherd and his mother founded the Shepherd Center, a not-for-profit hospital located in Atlanta, Georgia specializing spinal cord injury rehabilitation, in 1975 in response to an accident James endured as a young man. Learn more about his family's inspiring story.

This Amigo Owner Adds a Little Magic

This Amigo Owner Adds a Little Magic

Friendly Wheels, Issue 121

June 2018

Carrie Rostollan, a longtime member of the Amigo family, recently visited our Bridgeport facility for the Amigo Mobility Center open house. She shared with us some of her upcoming summer plans and entertained us with her magic tricks! Discover more about Carrie's 'magical' adventures.

Amigo Mobility Blog