Tag Archives: Galveston

British swimmer adds record to Deaf swimming history

A man who completed the swim across the English Channel became the first person who is Deaf to accomplish the feat.

Deaflympics Tapei 2009 sign
Deaflympics are held every four years in host countries worldwide. photo credit: IMG_0029_34 “POWER IN ME !” HDR via photopin (license)

Andrew Rees completed the 21-mile swim from England to France to raise $6,000 via crowdfunding on Just Giving for Great Britain’s UK Deaf Sport’s travel to the next Deaflympics, which will be held in Samsun, Turkey on July 18, 2017.

Giant white cliffs over the English Channel.
Swimmer Andrew Rees began his historic swim across the English Channel in England and swam to France. The waters are cold and the conditions were rough. photo credit: The White Cliffs of Dover (NT) 19-04-2012 via photopin (license)

Rees represented Great Britain and won gold and bronze medals at swimming and water polo in the 1985 and 1989 Deaflympics.

According to his Just Giving page, “The English Channel is the Everest of swimming; in fact more people have successfully climbed Everest than swim the channel.”

Snow atop the peak of Mount Everest.
Fewer people have completed the English Channel swim than have climbed the 29,000 foot Mount
Everest photo credit: Mount Everest from base camp one via photopin (license)

While Rees has met his goal to support the swim team, the campaign is still accepting donations here.

According to the Channel Swimming Association, Rees, who is profoundly Deaf, swam against a strong tide and completed the swim in 15 hours and 14 minutes.

Of the 11 boats accompanying swimmers attempting to cross the channel that day, only two swimmers completed the swim, according to Rees’ Facebook page.

Woman wearing wetsuit assists child in ocean kayak in front of English Channel white cliffs.
Wet suits offer protection from cold Atlantic waters, but channel swimmers aren’t permitted to use them, though they may use grease as a cold barrier. photo credit: Cap’n Nancy via photopin (license)

According to strict standards for swimming the channel, Rees couldn’t wear a wet suit to protect him from cold waters, and he was stung by a jellyfish. The water was rough, causing him to swim three more hours than he expected. When he completed the swim, he could barely walk, according to a Brighton & Hove News article.

“For the last eight hours it was mad. There was a 23-knot wind. I was bobbing up and down. It took me a long time to get there,” Rees said, according to the article.

Galveston's Pleasure Pier has a Ferris Wheel and rides on a pier over the Gulf of Mexico waters.
Galvestonian Leroy Columbo set swimming records, saved lives, and helped start the sport of surfing in Texas. photo credit: Moonrise Over the Pleasure Pier via photopin (license)

Rees is one of many great swimmers who are Deaf, including Galveston, Texas’ swimmer and Guinness World Record holder Leroy Columbo (December 23, 1905—July 12, 1974), who swam 15 miles in the Gulf of Mexico in 11 hours, and saved more than 907 lives as a life guard, according to this blog.

Sign of Tarzan and King Kong with father and son walking in front of it.
Texan Leroy Columbo, a famous swimmer who was Deaf, beat Olympian and Tarzan star Johnny Weissmuller racing down the Mississippi. photo credit: Be care via photopin (license)

Unfortunately, Galveston was unable to raise funds for Columbo to compete in the Olympics, though Columbo beat Olympic medalist Johnny Weissmuller in a 10-mile swim race down the Mississippi River—though Columbo had a dislocated shoulder and finished the last two miles of the race one handed, according to articles in this blog
and in the East Texas Historical Journal.

Rees is giving his teammates the Olympic opportunity swimmers who were Deaf had little hope of receiving in generations past.

“The money he has raised will help our Deaflympic swimmers immensely, and his swim will also serve as an inspiration to them all,” said Great Britain’s Deaf Swimming’s chair, Brian Baxter, according to a a BBC Sport article.

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Business Provides Medical Access Cards to Celebrate Health Care Law Revisions

Sign Shares boat logo with blue handsIn honor of new Section 1557 revisions that place first preference on the person with a disability’s choice of accommodations with their health care providers, Sign Shares, Inc. will provide free wallet cards for individuals who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or Deaf-Blind.

Sign Shares is an interpreting agency for all languages, and is Deaf and Hard of Hearing friendly, providing services 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.

Through Galveston and Houston focus groups in partnership with The Capsule Group, or Capsule, as well as advocacy calls, the company has discovered that many health care providers don’t ask individuals which accommodation they need, causing problems for members of the Deaf Community.

One recent example is when providers offer Video Remote Interpreting, or VRI, without consent of the individual needing services. Some individuals don’t know what it is, while others insist on face-to-face interaction for important events concerning their health. Other problems result from the denial of interpreters, or pressure for individuals to use unqualified friends or family members to interpret for them.

According to the company’s website, “Patients who are Deaf & Hard of Hearing, now must be given an option for their choice of proper language communication access. They make the choice, since they know their language. It is their human right to choose. A Deaf person’s language is 3D – a flat screen device does not do justice towards their voice.”

Wallet cards will give those with hearing loss or deafness the ability to “Keep your rights, right by your side!” according to the website.

The Galveston Daily News article says At Galveston rally, a call for live sign language interpreters
Galveston resident Janie Morales demonstrates how she can use the cards to point out her rights.

Orders your free cards here. Scroll down to enter your contact information.

The Sign Shares’ website has also provided a countdown for when Section 1557 goes into effect, which you can see here by scrolling to the bottom of the screen. As of today’s writing, it’s 20 days away, but complaints may be filed now.

Complaints may already be filed because the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, who drafted the revisions, determined that existing laws that impact Section 1557 already required that health care providers attempt to use the patient’s choice of accommodation as a first choice.

Want to keep up more with Deaf Community news? Like Sign Shares on Facebook.

 

Deaf Advocates Stand for Live Interpreters at Galveston Event

CGLogo_Confetti_ROUNDEDThe Capsule Group and Sign Shares Inc./International held an event in Galveston, Texas on Friday, June 3, to address Deaf community concerns regarding the use of Video Remote Interpreting, or VRI, in health care settings.

The event was held at the Galveston City Hall.

The Galveston Daily News covered the event.
Woman holds up sign that says I'm Deaf, No VRI
Galveston resident Janie Morales prefers a live interpreter.

According to the report, Galveston resident Janie Morales, who is Deaf, wants a live interpreter.

When Janie Morales goes to the hospital, she doesn’t want to speak to a computer screen,” according to the report.

One of Morales’ chief complaints was that VRI was on a small screen and it was difficult to see.

Attendees requested more information about how to request live interpreters and shared their experiences with healthcare interpreting in general.

The group also discussed revisions to healthcare law Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which will now hold the higher standard of giving preference to the individual with a disability’s choice of accommodation. While revisions to Section 1557 go into effect in July, complaints are active now, since preference for consumer choice was already in effect under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

If you’re concerned about not having a choice about the use of Video Remote Interpreting with your healthcare professional, you can call Video Phone: Deaf / Hard-of-Hearing: VP1: 832-431-3854 or VP2: 832-431-4889 to discuss it with Sign Shares advocates.

Galveston Rally about the Hardships of VRI

CGLogo_Confetti_ROUNDEDThe Capsule Group and Sign Shares Inc./International are holding a rally in Galveston, Texas on Friday, June 3, 2016 to address Deaf community concerns regarding the use of Video Remote Interpreting, or VRI, in health care settings.

From focus groups, we discovered some individuals are not receiving a choice regarding the way they need to communicate with their health care providers and are being provided with VRI.

Many people who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or DeafBlind don’t know they have the choice to request a form of communication that doesn’t provide a barrier to understanding what their health care providers say.

If you prefer or feel a Certified, Live Interpreter matches your accommodations that the American With Disabilities Act requires, come join the Galveston rally to empower your voice and your communities!

The rally will be held from 1p.m.-4 p.m. at Galveston City Hall, Room 100, 823 25th St, Galveston, TX 77550.

The meeting promptly starts at 1 p.m. in the meeting room and finishes on the steps of Galveston City Hall.

Light refreshments will be provided.

If you plan to attend, send an email to: info@signshares.com and meet us in Room 100 at the Galveston City Hall.

To learn more, see the attached flyer or call Video Phone: Deaf / Hard-of-Hearing: VP1: 832-431-3854 or
VP2: 832-431-4889.

Rally flyer: UPDATED on TIMES amp LOCATION JUNE 3RD-Galveston TX – Rally