Kandi An Inspiration to Rifton

January 15, 2013 by Clare Stober

Kandi Elmore likes her independence. And a good challenge. At the age of 43, Kandi has a long history of creating change.

Diagnosed as having cerebral palsy with spastic quadriplegia before the age of two, Kandi faced an uncertain future. But with a positive attitude and her mother’s unwavering support, Kandi grew up a determined young girl who challenged boundaries and unwittingly became one of Rifton’s most influential patients.

A young girl with glasses in a corner floor sitter smiles as she tests the product for improvementsRifton first met Kandi in the late 1970s while developing our Corner Floor Sitter. A dynamic young girl with an infectious smile, she perfectly illustrated the benefits and potential long-term effects of this new piece of equipment. We had no idea how far she would help us grow in improving our products.

Joyce Checksfield, Kandi’s friend and physical therapist since 1975, quickly recognized Kandi’s foresight. “For her, it was all about the participation piece; it was about having friends, being part of activities and connecting with the environment. She always brought
me back to ‘There has to be a way to do this.’ The people at Rifton were very open to that.”

A muse and advocate, Kandi helped inspire both the Rifton Mobile Stander and Rifton adaptive tricycle.

A young girl rides Rifton Tricycle as she tests the various features of the product“Rifton really talked to Kandi about what she wanted to do. When she would say things about wanting to ride a bike, or swing in a swing, they would say, ‘Let’s see what we can do,’” says Checksfield. “Once they realized Kandi could be sitting and then standing, they set out to get her on a bike.”

Rifton featured Kandi and her trike in our 1983 catalog.

“Kandi’s early experiences and movement through space provided a foundation that would lead to her powered mobility as an adult,” beams Checksfield. “Even now, she has trialed Rifton’s new TRAM.”

A resident of The Center for Discovery in Harris, NY, Kandi leads a full life working for the Center’s co-op store and enjoying friends, music, poetry and art. With continued enthusiasm and drive she continues to inspire.Joyce Checksfield leans over Kandi Elmore’s shoulder as she sits in a Rifton Tram and they both smile for the camera

“Even as an adult, she’s been able to keep that momentum for moving things forward.” Adds Checksfield, “She really helps you to think beyond what is in the moment because she’s always thinking that things can improve and be better.”

Thirty-four years since her catalog debut, we are proud to feature Kandi with Joyce Checksfield on our cover. Kandi, and others like her, continue to inspire Rifton in finding new ways to support a patient from early childhood through adulthood.

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Reply by Ken Pitcher on January 15, 2013 at 2:49 PM

Thanks for sharing this! So glad I know the background to the photo on the cover of the catalogue, and inspired by Kandi’s story.

Ken Pitcher
Rochester, New York

Reply by Lynn Kisseloff on March 13, 2013 at 4:34 PM

What a blast from the past- I knew both Joyce and Kandi from those first days when the Rifton company was developing their equipment using various centers . I moved from the Catskills in early 80s to Pittsburgh Pa but continue to work as a pediatric PT there in early intervention. A big hello to both Joyce and Kandi!!!

Reply by Elena Noble, MPT on March 19, 2013 at 3:35 PM

Hi Lynn,
Thank you for the comment. I will pass your message on to Kandi and Joyce.