ADA silver anniversary event features six-time gold medalist

Lance Greathouse, who refurbishes and repairs power wheelchairs for free; Rose Daly-Rooney, an attorney whose 20-year career has been dedicated to advancing civil rights for persons with disabilities; ASU doctoral student Bhoomika Bhagchandani and the City of Phoenix received 25th Anniversary Americans with Disabilities Act awards at the ADA Gala held July 18 at the Tempe Mission Palms.

Phil Pangrazio and former six-time Olympic gold medalist Amy Van Dyken at a recent event commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Phil Pangrazio and former six-time Olympic gold medalist Amy Van Dyken at a recent event commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Six-time Olympic gold medalist Amy Van Dyken, who sustained a spinal cord injury in 2014 leaving her paralyzed from the waist down, was the keynote speaker at the event that attracted nearly 350 individuals including Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, former Arizona Cardinal Andre Wadsworth and Tom Rouen, a two-time Super Bowl champion punter with the Denver Broncos and Van Dyken’s husband.

CBS 5 anchor Nicole Crites was the emcee.

ADA awardees were:

  • Trailblazer Award (Individual), Lance Greathouse, is a dental field service engineer by day, who co-founded Wheelchair Labs, a nonprofit organization that fixes power wheelchairs to allow individuals to move freely within their communities, gain better access to jobs, resources, education and basic needs.
  • Legacy Award, Rose Daly-Rooney, currently litigation director at the Arizona Center for Disability Law and former Tucson Unit Chief for the Civil Rights Division of the Office of the Arizona Attorney General.  Among her notable accomplishments: obtaining a settlement agreement requiring open captioning for Arizona Cardinals games and other sporting events at the University of Phoenix stadium, and settlement agreements requiring audio description and assistive listening devices at Cinemark Theaters; a consent decree with the City of Avondale to revise discriminatory zoning ordinance to eliminate unnecessary burdens placed on group homes serving residents with intellectual disabilities; and a lawsuit against Harkins Theatres that resulted in closed captioning and audio description at all of its theaters.
  • Emerging Leader Award, Bhoomika Bhagchandani, who received the 2014 National Federation of the Blind State Scholarship for Arizona, and a 2015 City of Tempe Mayor’s Disability Award.  A doctoral student in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at ASU, her research focuses on communication issues facing the disability community and developing practical programs and policies to address and improve those issues.
  • Trailblazer Award (Organization), City of Phoenix, for its long-standing history of policies and actions that support people with disabilities.  A long line of mayors and city leaders have worked on issues of social justice and inclusion that have had a direct impact on people with disabilities.

Gala sponsors were: Diamond: Arizona Bridge to Independent Living (ABIL) and Outfront Media; Platinum: Valley Metro; Gold: Cigna, Healthsouth East Valley Rehabilitation Hospital, Healthsouth Scottsdale Rehabilitation Hospital, Henkel Of America, Lovitt & Touché, Unitedhealthcare Community Plan, Total Transit; Bronze: Ability Center.

Ms. Van Dyken, the first American woman to win four gold medals at a single Olympics (1996) was named Swimming World’s American Swimmer of the Year in 1995 and 1996.  She retired from swimming after the 2000 Olympics and has served as a radio disc jockey (the Peak 98.7 FM), as the sideline reporter for the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos and co-hosted Fox Sports Radio’s Fox Sports Tonight with Rob Dibble.

She was inducted into the Olympic Hall of Fame in July 2008 and was the only American swimmer inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame’s Class of 2007.

For more information about Arizona Bridge to Independent Living, visit


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