Welcoming Ms. Wheelchair Rhode Island

Posted by on Apr 16, 2018 in Community, Fundraisers | 2 Comments | Permalink
Welcoming Ms. Wheelchair Rhode Island

As part of our campaign to help keep WaterFire’s Access Program Afloat we were honored to have 2018 Ms. Wheelchair Rhode Island, Tina Pedersen, visit us at the WaterFire Arts Center last week to talk about accessibility and the WaterFire Access Program.

The last time Tina visited WaterFire, she was a torch-bearer at our Flames of Hope event back in 2013. That was before she began to rely on a wheelchair for mobility after a stroke during surgery left her paralyzed from the waist down.

“The thing to remember in all this is, it can happen to anyone at any time,” says Tina. “I walked into surgery and I made lunch plans for after that surgery. But I didn’t get to walk out…”

Tina is focused on bringing accessibility issues to the forefront in the state of Rhode Island. “When I saw the post on Facebook about the Access Program, I said, ‘Yes! I want to do THAT!’ And here I am. Providence is for everyone, WaterFire is for everyone.”

We’re thrilled to be working with Tina to help share the message of inclusivity and accessibility. Thank you, Tina! We hope to have you as one of our first guests when our Access Program Kickstarter Campaign is complete!

Successful funding of this Kickstarter will allow us to resume the Access Program with an upgraded vessel to allow for more passengers and in turn more unique experiences for everyone who visits WaterFire.

Your support today will help ensure the Access program will continue to provide free rides for individuals of all ages with mobility issues for many years to come.

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Tim Blankenship

Interactive Media Manager at WaterFire Providence
I've worked at WaterFire since 2003. For the first 9 years of my career here I worked in the Production Shop learning all of the details that go into the physical production of the event. I have recently transitioned to role of managing WaterFire's social media and web presence. I find it very rewarding working to increase engagement with our supporters both locally and globally.


  1. Mariah Martin
    May 13, 2018

    Thank you Waterfire’s staff for starting this Access Program! I volunteered for a couple of years. One of the best experiences of my life was being on a boat lighting the fires on Halloween night. Wow, surrounded by fire, everyone dressed in black and people in Providence in costumes was the best Halloween possible.
    Now, because of mobility issues, it would not be possible for me to have such an experience. Creating access will allow many more of us to enjoy the event.
    Thank you again, Mariah

    • Tim Blankenship
      May 14, 2018

      Hi Mariah, thank you for your support and for sharing your experience.


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