2021 Not Impossible Awards - International Sign (IS)
[Soft piano music] Just because someone doesn’t have the abilities that we do- Turn on front lights. They still want to use technology and need to use technology. Rebecca was born profoundly deaf.
We got the diagnosis that she had Usher’s Syndrome and that she would eventually- [tears up] She’d eventually lose her vision. I realized rather quickly that there was nothing for a child of my daughters age, something for her to play with on the way to learning braille. I started to tinker with some things and realized that I could actually create a low-cost pre-braille toy. This strikes me as something that can both entertain and educate a child. This is our latest prototype.
It’s connected to the iPhone. The left click is the bite and the right click is the hover. She’s put together this free flowing company where people come in and out and they just keep moving the product forward. So the Puffin allows me to open the garage doors so I can get into my house. It allows me to turn on the computer when I’m in my house. It allows me to then turn on the phone and make a phone call.
It basically allows me to have a normal day. She is changing the disability community. There is no doubt in my mind of how successful she will be. I really believe that it’s the best way people, to kind of learn that differences are ok.
We want it to work with more cities or drive an automated car because we know that will give us a whole new found freedom. You need to be open to the idea that you will fail and failure is not a bad thing. It’s gonna evolve the design.
With the 3D printing and all the other technologies, now the things that I have thought of or the things that my other therapist thought of, now we can actually make it. Just quicker, easier, just more effective. A lot of folks are like, “oh I can’t do that.” Like no, we possess the technology. You take this concept of being able to transition things from impossible to possible and then you pair that with the faces of the people who get to be helped by these types of things. Seeing that is why we do this stuff.
That’s why we are all here. [Upbeat intro music] Every single thing on this planet that is possible today, at one point was impossible first. We as a species have the potential to change everything in front of us. What’s absurd out there? What should we try to tackle? There’s so many problems in the world that need to be fixed.
But the long term goal is to empower people for long term change in their lives. We give people their lives back. It makes me feel like crying.
You’ve got to start with what do the patients and caregivers need? And sometimes that seems impossible, but that’s what makes all the difference. That’s the innovation. People that overcome life changing injuries are unwilling to let those injuries destroy their life. Nothing is impossible. [Uplifting music] [Cheering] What if we used the technology that’s everywhere around us, so that it can actually help human beings. Woah! [Uplifting music grows louder] If it’s something that you truly believe in and have a passion for, then at that point it’s not impossible! [Music fades] Hello, everyone! everyone! Welcome to the Not Impossible Awards.
I’m Mick Ebeling and I’m so happy to be with you guys today. Ok, 2020... nobody could have predicted the year we’ve just had. It has been a year of unimaginable challenges and each of you have persevered and that deserves celebrating. You guys deserve your own award just for making it through 2020.
So when I founded Not Impossible 10 years ago, the company was based on this simple concept of making the impossible not impossible. And trying to change the world through technology and story. And because of that mission we have met some amazing people throughout the years, who are using their brilliance and their tenacity to create revolutionary solutions that make the world just a little bit better of a place. Today, we’re presenting five awards to these amazing inventors and engineers and entrepreneurs and change makers who are this year's Not Impossible award winners and Not Impossible fellows. This program is in celebration of them and could not have been possible without our presenting sponsor Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and with the support of Avnet and the Ultimate Kronos Group. We’re so so grateful for our continued and growing relationship with these companies, and we’re proud of the work that they continue to put in to making these initiatives a reality.
So, last year some of you may have attended the physical, the actual, Not Impossible Awards. Remember when things and concerts were physical and you could actually go to them in real life? Last year's show was in this beautiful Art Deco theater and it was packed! It was a sold out event and the energy in the room was just palpable. Standing ovations after every acceptance speech.
It was just this incredible, incredible night. Well, then 2020 came and things have changed a bit. So this is going to be our first virtual Not Impossible Awards. And in looking in at how we could make this really special, we’ve tried to make the show as inclusive as we possibly can, and so we’ve gone through and done things like captioning and audio descriptions and we’ve made those available, as separate feeds, in our platform.
And here’s the deal, we need to prioritize choices and implement technologies that promote inclusion. Not as nice-to-haves, but as standards that we insist upon. You will be able to find multiple versions of the Not Impossible Awards right here on our hub, and these will be optimized for the experience of different users. And we continue to learn how to make this more inclusive. And we’re learning how to implement and innovate with standards like closed captioning, which include non-speech sounds, and dynamic captioning, American Sign Language interpretation, International Sign Language for our global community, audio description, and finally we’ll be offering a full transcript of the show for those who are DeafBlind.
So thank you for taking a moment to think about and understand how accessibility works, and how it can be built into the future of all storytelling. When we think about inclusivity in this way, this is exactly what we need to build a more inclusive world. This is what the world needs right now is that ability to understand what the other person is saying and to be able to empathize and relate and listen. So now I want you wherever you’re joining us from and however you’re watching us, settle in, open up your hearts, and enjoy the celebration! You’ll laugh.
There’s going to be some singing, some dancing, maybe you’ll even cry a little bit. We hope that inspires you to defy impossible and get out there and change your world and the world. Enjoy the show! Blue Cross Blue Shield is passionate about finding innovators who are developing solutions that will improve the health of America. We are moved by innovators who draw on their own experiences to create the solutions.
This year’s winner of the Healthcare Breakthrough Award does just that. The solution creates connectivity between caregivers and those who they care for, those with dementia or Alzheimer's. It's a story of a woman who’s a journalist and a child of a parent with Alzheimer’s who created a company that builds empathy, one step, one story at a time. This is the story of MemoryWell.
I really loved the idea of story- to me it’s the essence of humanity and being able to bring that humanity into the healthcare system, especially where there’s so little humanity. We live by these checklists and these things that we have to do and these diagnoses and clinical sort of terms and, you know, I saw my dad being treated like that. He was very much a checklist to these caregivers. It never actually- they never looked at him as a human until I wrote his story.
[Somber music] I was born in Kellys Ford in 1924. My sister and I loved to climb all the trees and we would- and this has helped me through life, really. And then go climb up the trees and find a spot to sit. And we’d have to move about. And I learned in tree climbing that sometimes you can just hold onto a leaf and that’ll help you get that balance. And we had to be careful because if we fell, we might fall against three limbs before we hit the ground.
And recently, when I’ve become so extremely ill, I would actually say out loud, “I’m a tree climber. I’m a tree climber.” And it has helped me through life. MemoryWell is a digital platform for life storytelling with the aim of improving healthcare outcomes. It really grew out of my experience caregiving for my father, who had Alzheimer’s. And a few years ago, when I had moved him into a community, they asked me to fill out this enormous twenty-page questionnaire about his life and I was a TIME Magazine correspondent at that point and I challenge anybody to answer some of those questions. And who was ever going to remember twenty pages of handwritten data points for the almost hundred residents in that particular community? Nobody, right? Instead, I handed in the form blank and I was like, “look I think it’s just easier for me and easier for you if I just write down his story since I’m a writer.”
Dementia is something that people have been trying to solve for a really long time. From a cure perspective, but nothing from the care perspective. And that’s what’s lacking in our healthcare system right now. Jay looked at it from the lens and understood because she lived it, that in order to transform care you have to start with the person. When a person goes into assisted living, those people around them have no idea who that person is.
Most of these staff members turnover at an average rate of more than 75% annually, so there’s a huge amount of turn in a lot of these communities. So how is a caregiver, who knows nothing about the person they’re trying to help, really supposed to help them? If you capture their stories, the way MemoryWell does, caregivers start to empathize with that person. My mom died at the age of 59 of a brain aneurysm in 2011, which was stress-induced and it was directly related to her caregiving of my father. It was just too much for her. Dementia is a really tough disease to deal with. You feel like you lose that person everyday, a little bit more.
They call that the continual death. The amount of care it takes, it’s like living with a toddler. Really one of the bigger worries is often worrying about the caregivers. 40% of dementia primary caregivers die before the ones that they’re caring for because the stress is so great. So it really is like a double disease.
It takes two lives. -How are you? Well, I’m fine. Thank you. -It’s a cold one today! Yes it is! A little bit chilly.
I love this park. My husband and I used to walk it everyday. So, I want to go back to your childhood for a minute and ask about the horse and buggy? Yes! I remember seeing it- AARP did a really famous study that found that loneliness in social isolation in seniors was actually more dangerous than smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Life review can be extremely therapeutic. This is, especially during the time of COVID, now we have found that this is a way for people during a really hard time when a lot of people have been socially isolated, when they can look back on happier times.
My brother would yell, “hold on! Hold on!” I mean, I did hold on. I survived! And it can be just a really almost religious experience. We go through different chapters of people's lives and with different questions we try to just trigger different memories. We’re looking for stories. You know, stories that can really evoke the senses.
I mean, bring them back to a different time and place, like Alta climbing the trees. My husband and I used to come here and- I used to take this walk and when we got to that bridge we’d turn and come back. And we’d turn around and give one another a kiss on the bridge. And when my husband died, he was cremated and some of his ashes were spread up there by the kissing bridge.
So... lots of memories. There really are no treatments for Alzheimer’s and dementia, right? There’s almost no drugs that you can use that will effectively treat this. There’s no cure. The vast majority of treatment is actually almost all in behavioral, in psychological, in really understanding those people and bringing out, engaging with them, their histories and their life stories. And the more you engage them, the more you keep their brains active, the better their quality of life is for a longer amount of time.
Hi, Jay. Good to see you. Good to see you. So, I brought you your story. I brought you your story. This is the timeline, which you guys can continue to build on. Oh, we can add to it? we can add to it? Yeah! You can invite all your family and friends to add things if they want and stories of their own.
Oh, that’s neat! Makes me feel like crying. In a story, you’ve caught light in a bottle [voice breaks] and you remember the person you love. And instead of thinking... about your loss, you remember the joy of why you love that person. And you remember the good times, instead of the sad ones. “But you have to be very careful, otherwise you’d fall right out of the tree and probably hit two or three limbs on the way down,” Alta says.
The irony is that this is actually the best treatment for Alzheimer’s and dementia, is just being able to know them and have everybody around them know them and work with them to remember things. You have to follow the trees, you have to cross- You know, I think that people sometimes look at us and go, “oh that’s just a nice-to-have,” but I think especially now people realize that human connection isn’t just a nice-to-have. [Melodious music] The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association has partnered with Not Impossible Labs, since the very first Not Impossible Awards because we believe it is important to recognize the vision, ambition, and hard work that it takes to invent solutions that make a meaningful difference in healthcare. We are thrilled to have found a company focused on caregivers. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans across the country applaud caregivers for the critical and challenging work that they undertake day in and day out. The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is proud to join Not Impossible in presenting this year’s Healthcare Breakthrough Award to MemoryWell and its founder, Jay Newton-Small.
We are inspired by MemoryWell! Hi, my name is Jay Newton-Small and I’m the CEO and founder of MemoryWell. I really want to thank Mick Ebeling and his vision for the Not Impossible Awards and Blue Cross Blue Shield for their belief that nothing is impossible. Being able to hear all these caregivers' stories, for me, has been incredibly profound, but it also really makes me feel like I should encourage caregivers to tell their stories more often because there’s this reticence to talk about family caregiving.
My mother kept my father’s Alzheimer’s a secret. She, like 40% of dementia caregivers, my mother died from the stress of caregiving. We really need to focus on them. Make sure that they’re taking care of themselves. Make sure they have the support they need and it’s only by telling our stories that we can show and demonstrate the needs that we have and get the resources we need. And that’s why we do what we do at MemoryWell.
Thank you so much! This award means the world to us. We are constantly inspired by the spirit and resolve of these genius innovators, and this next story will not disappoint. I’m excited to share a film about a beautiful product called SynPhNe, and it’s developed by Subhasis Banerji.
I will let the film tell the story, but throughout the awards process, I’ve gotten to know Subhasis and his perspective on recovery, neuroplasticity, and the mind-body connection. And his viewpoints and opinions and approaches are truly revolutionary. Thanks to our partners at Avnet for helping us bring this film and story to you. [Soft piano music] I was driving to a nearby city called Pune.
I was traveling with my wife and my daughter, who was just a few months old. There was a truck coming from the opposite direction, which wandered into my lane. The truck hit the driver's side. I do remember blacking out and then becoming conscious again. When seeing they were doing x-rays [camera clicks], it was extremely painful. [Faint voice] all muscles, everything had to be cut out, my hip was in multiple pieces, forgetting where I was, who these people were, they were trying to touch my knees with my hands.
I was 34-years at that time. I was at the peak of my work. I was a new father as well, so on a high. A lot of the discussions were of course whether I would get back to leading a normal life.
So many months, I didn’t really feel it was going anywhere. After about a year of said trial, they pretty much told me this is how it will be from here onwards. I was extremely uncertain because I had to learn to walk again.
I really wanted to get better for her. And I was having these episodes of extremely deep depression where you end up feeling suicidal. I had really strong willpower. I guess I was a bit stubborn. It didn’t help me. It was only when a physical therapist told me, “you will never recover, unless you let your willpower go.”
Once I let that willpower go, doing more relaxation, backing off, trying to fight, trying to push, the pain started to stabilize. And that’s when I started talking about what was happening inside my head. I’m so very excited, I can’t tell you! My name is Subhasis Banerji and I’m the founder and managing director of SynPhNe Singapore. So SynPhNe captures signals from the brain and from the muscle when somebody is doing a task and allows the patient to self-correct how he uses his brain and how he uses his body.
The patient can actually see, right then and there, how the two are behaving. Whether they are able to activate the right muscle and whether they are able to shut down the muscle which needs to shut down. If you’re suffering that disability, say for a month, the brain has already rewired. You need to not just physically recover the movement, but you need to also retrain the mind. The brain relearns how it used to move.
In the last two years, we’ve made great progress with those patients who are longterm disabled. Both with stroke, as well as with traumatic brain injury. So Ketan's hands were completely unusable.
Prior to coming in touch with SynPhNe, he had very little recovery. Try, try, try hard! Try hard! Aw, good! Good. Very good! The body only uses the muscles which it is able to activate. We call it compensation.
You have to manage compensation very closely so that the part of the brain that is affected is actually beginning to refire. Very good! And relax. [Chuckling] Good. At SynPhNe we try to give back three things to our patients: dignity, livelihood, and thirdly, passion.
With these three elements we give people their lives back. With the help of his wife and his family, he’s been making such good progress in such a short period of time. We are constantly inspired by the patients. In the last few weeks, he is back to work. He’s able to open his hands.
He’s able to hold a pen. He’s able to execute all the things that we do and take for granted. There’ve been a lot of resistances, a lot of hurdles that the team has overcome. But they said, “oh 10 years, 15 years after stroke, don’t waste your time."
But you stuck to their task. Why me? I think there is a reason I went through my personal experience. Somehow, the way to make a full recovery was opened out to me and just to see how brilliantly the human system has been designed. We’ve always tried to do things which people said was not possible. [Chuckling] That’s enough to get us up in the morning. Namaste.
Wow, isn’t it amazing that in that year 2020, that crazy year, I should have the pleasure of meeting Mick and have addressed us with this award. A great man once said that the world’s greatest superstition is fear. I guess impossible comes a close second. A lot of people will tell you that what you’re trying to do is impossible, but as my favorite proverb goes, “the person who says it can’t be done, should not interrupt the person doing it.” Not Impossible Labs, we are awed by what you guys do and deeply, deeply honored by this award. All you unsung heroes at SynPhNe, all those who trusted us, blessed us, you know who you are, this award is for you.
Mom, dad, and Sumona, thank you for keeping me going all these years. Thank you everyone and God bless everyone. 19 years. Think about how long 19 years is. Now think about seven years. Think about how long seven years is.
I want you to imagine being in prison for 19 years and then inside of those 19 years, think about being in solitary confinement for seven of them! The person I’m about to introduce you to is someone who has lived through that. His name is Shaka Senghor. Shaka is one of the world’s leading speakers, advocates, and champions of reforming mass incarceration because he understands what it means to be in the system.
Shaka’s list of accomplishments would take up probably the rest of the show. But suffice it to say, his memoir debuted on the New York Times and Washington Post Best Seller List. He’s a former MIT Lab Director Fellow. Oprah Winfrey named him a soul ignitor. And in the process of this award show, I began to have conversations with Shaka about the path of redemption.
And every conversation I had I felt like I was truly exposed to one of the most thoughtful, compassionate, inspirational men I’ve ever had the honor to meet. On behalf of Not Impossible, we would like to award this year’s Not Impossible Commitment Award to Uptrust for their dedication to evolving tools for a more just society. Uptrust is committed to keeping people out of jail that shouldn’t be there and are truly deserving of this award. This is an amazing technology and we are proud to have them as part of the Not Impossible family.
Uptrust, the Not Impossible Commitment Award winner, made possible by the Ultimate Kronos Group. I am not the sum total of all of my mistakes. It was just a different life that I started getting involved with.
I did something stupid which was take something that didn’t belong to myself. It was a problem with my drinking. I was driving on a suspended license.
I had my first couple of tickets and then they started to snowball. With it came a lot of consequences. Every detail of our lives is scrutinized by a system that isn’t positioned to help you succeed. Being a single mother, I mean this job, that job. I’m dyslexic and so stuff is swirling around in my head all the time anyway.
They've got other things to worry about. Their families, keeping a roof over their heads. In addition to lack of resources, sometimes they don’t have a way to communicate directly with their public defender.
Their attorney is representing them. I did try to call my attorney a few times, but trying to get a hold of them... it's pointless. Because when you call it’s like a whole bunch of numbers, you don’t really get a hold of anybody. So when people miss court it’s called a failure to appear, an FTA, and these FTAs have massive consequences. Warrant came out: failure to appear. The fine was doubled and the amount of time was tripled.
And it comes at a pretty bad spiral. I had my six-year-old son with me- Once you’re in the system, it really is hard to get out of. To go and see the probation officer a day after I was scheduled to do it. He said, “no problem. Go ahead and come in.” The penalty for forgetting should not be prison. And then he arrested me with my son and he put shackles [voice breaks] on my hands and feet, in front of my son.
Like, how...horrible. You know, ‘cause I’m thinking about like what is he thinking about his mom? In shackles because of a no license ticket. [Melancholy music] That same system does not give you permission to actually be a human and make mistakes that aren’t crimes, but basic human mistakes.
Like forgetting an appointment- [Crying] They made me spread my cheeks and cough! Like, for traffic tickets! We really focused on this really small problem that had these massive ramifications for real people, which was, how do we help people make it to court? [Voice breaks] I’ve been feeling really shitty about myself, like I’m some low common criminal. You're just a horrible person. We give people access to the resources that they need to stay out of trouble. And right now that key resource is their public defender. We handle up to 25 to 30,000 cases in any given year.
So what Uptrust was able to do was to kind of do what someone had if they had infinite amount of time that could provide the right reminders, the right social supports, at the right time, for hundreds of clients at a time. The first time we engaged Uptrust it was with the idea of sending messages to our clients letting them know, "you got a court date, you need to make sure-" and we do it periodically. Then the cost of incarcerating that person, holding that person because they were five minutes late to a court date.
It costs taxpayers money to keep them incarcerated, and it costs the family all kind of hardships. With our technology, we go into places that we usually see at least a 50% reduction in failures to appear. One of the push backs we were seeing was often saying that, if you don’t set money bail, people won’t show up to court. This idea of flight risk was a myth. It really comes down to this attendance risk where somebody’s missing court for fully preventable reasons.
And just in a bad place for a while, mentally, and trying to cope with everything. Not only physically, but going on within my home, you know, with my family and things like that. A warrant was issued.
And then COVID happened and there was just no way I could deal with any of the demands of the court. There’s a lot more to do in the space of demystifying the justice system. It’s emotionally draining, physically draining, and financially exhau- it kills you financially. It’s one thing to help people through the maze, it’s another to help dismantle the maze itself and try to make things just make a little bit more sense. Uptrust is not a silver bullet. You know, we’re not gonna overhaul the criminal legal system and erase centuries of racist practices.
But, there’s a real problem out there that we’re able to help solve and by doing so, we can keep people out of jail that shouldn’t be there. With life's little problems, when there’s so many of them. You know, I look to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, I have to take care of the base: food, water, shelter, the kids, and try and chip away at the hierarchy one day at a time.
A little bit a time. The resiliency of the human spirit is there and people honestly want second chances. We can think about, you know, what it means to pour into people the things that they need to write their wrong, so to speak, and to really turn things around.
We have an opportunity to stop throwing people away. Hi, I’m Jacob Sills, the co-founder of Uptrust. Thank you to the Not Impossible family for this honor.
I humbly accept this award on behalf of our team. Without them, this vision never would have translated into a product. I’d especially like to thank our own Leo Scott for quarterbacking this initiative and introducing us to the Not Impossible crew.
I’d also like to thank Ultimate Kronos Group for allowing us to highlight how a very simple technological intervention can have massive real world impact and keep tons of people out of jail. While it’s a privilege to receive this award, I’d be remiss if I didn't say that in a more perfect world, Uptrust shouldn’t even exist. There are over 2 million human beings incarcerated in the U.S. tonight. Support statewide initiatives to limit the length of probation, like California just did, and let’s all help people reenter society and live better lives. It’s a large and challenging task ahead of all of us, but I’m confident we’ll be successful together. That’s because I’m Jacob Sills and I defy impossible.
Communication is everything. Communication is something that we do consciously and unconsciously all day, every day, without a rest. And for those of us that don’t have any problems with communication, that’s something that just goes by and we don’t even really appreciate it as thing in its own right a lot of the time. But, as soon as there’s something that creates a barrier to that communication, something that impedes it or a disability that prevents you from communicating is effectively with everyone that you want to.
At any barrier to that communication is suddenly incredibly isolating compared to the abundance of interaction that the rest of us experience every day. [Pleasant music] Hello! - Hello! BrightSign translates my signs into speech. We are not signers, but we are lucky to serve this community. One day, we will give a voice to everyone, everywhere.
Let’s say you’re in a cafe. Can I have coffee, please? Or on holiday in France. All you have to do is change the language to French from the list on the app. [French] Can I have coffee, please? Hello. Can I have chocolate ice cream, please?
Thank you. Hello. Where is the bathroom to wash my hands? What you want to do is go straight along that way and take a second right.
Thank you. Hello! My name is CJ Jones. I’m the executive producer of Sign World Studios.
Now more than ever, we are in need of technological innovations that dissolve barriers and allow us to connect with one another. To do this, we need to challenge the status quo. Set a vision for the future and in the words of this year’s award winner, give a voice to those who cannot speak.
On behalf of Not Impossible, I would like to award this year’s Not Impossible Limitless Award to BrightSign. For empowering others to reach beyond what is possible. BrightSign, the Not Impossible Limitless Award winner. We are so excited to be receiving this award today that made it all the way from the other side of the globe, across the ocean to our offices here in London. We can relate because BrightSign, as well, took us on a journey around the world. We saw different people interact with it, use it, and it completely changed their lives.
And we are very very happy to be able to contribute to the quality of life and give people the independence they need to achieve that. We're so grateful and humbled to be honored in this way by Not Impossible for the contribution that we're trying to make. And we can't wait to join the community of innovators and people breaking barriers and being an inspiration for everyone, everywhere in the world for the work that they've done. Thank you. - Thank you.
One of our most treasured friends and collaborators, who also happens to be deaf, is the ridiculously incredibly talented singer and songwriter, Mandy Harvey. Mandy's origin story is a Not Impossible story in itself and you can go on our website and see that in its entirety, but I want you for a minute to imagine that music is your life, and then in a cruel twist your sense of hearing fades and eventually goes away completely. You have to leave the University Music Program that you've worked your whole life to make it into and your dream of a career in music, seems to disappear.
The story of Mandy's journey from that moment defines the Not Impossible spirit. Hey Mandy, how are you? Hey, I’m doing good. It's lovely to see you and it's so amazing. Now, there's a feature on Zoom that you can actually see the closed captions so I actually know what's going on in this conversation.
So listen everyone, obviously who knows you and meets you or hears about your story, is just baffled and dumbfounded and they do what I do which is, and I've known you for a while, just wait a second... How does this work? How does this happen? So can you explain the the act of what you went through to actually once you lost your hearing, how you got to be able to continue to sing with your beautiful voice. Initially the biggest barrier of all of it was being willing to try and to push myself because the whole world told me that it would be impossible for me to be able to do music again, and I believed it. And so I just kind of left it at that, but my dad asked me to play guitar with him and so I picked up a guitar and we were just strumming chords together and I noticed for the first time, that I could feel the vibrations of the instrument through my fingertips. And as I'm holding this instrument, it's rumbling on my skin and I'm like, wait a minute... everyone feels music first.
That's the way sound works. So how can I feel my way into understanding how to perform again? And it started this whole journey through feeling my voice instead of relying on listening to it. Incredible.
I actually grabbed a visual tuner, I’m going to show you one. But basically what I use this for is I would pick a note, ♪ Ooo... ♪ and then watch it align and make sure that my note is actually in the green, ♪ Ooo... ♪ That should be a ‘C,’ I can't see it from this angle, but I'm sure you can see it. And then from there I would actually place my hand on my throat to try to isolate where that vibration is the strongest. So if you bear with me for just a second, gently place your hand on your throat, and we're just going to make a note.
♪ Ooo... ♪ ♪ Ooo... ♪ Now feel where the vibration is the strongest and try to pinpoint it with your pointer finger.
♪ Ooo... ♪ - ♪ Ooo... ♪ For me, it's here. it's here. It's actually lower. Now as you're holding on you're going to jump to a different note. Something really high, [high pitch] ♪ ooo. ♪ [High pitch] ♪ ooo. ♪
So gorgeous! You look good! But do you feel that the vibration shifted? Yeah. Yeah. - It completely moved. So I would sit in front of the mirror and I'd grab a marker. Initially Sharpies because I didn't think this through, who knows, ♪ ooo... ♪ and for me the vibration is
the strongest here, so I'd make a line and then I'd put a ‘C’ right on my skin. And then I went and did my scales. So while watching myself do scales: ♪ ooo... ♪ and then go along and find different notes and then feel where they are the strongest. And then I would look at myself in a mirror with these markings like a crazy person, and I would say to myself, “ok, I found ‘em once, now let's find them again." And so doing this again and again and again, I actually built up trust because your voice is a muscle and if you can train your muscle to do something, it will continue to do it.
So if you- because you can see in the captioning when I say something you can see it. So if you could- You’re going to put me through the ringer and I don't want- Yeah, yeah! Put your phone up to the camera, either to the computer or the GoPro whatever you want and then you sing and then just show the camera. ♪ Ooo... ♪ Alright.
♪ Ooo... ♪ ♪ Do re me fa so la ti do, ti la so fa me re do. ♪ ♪ Am I still at ‘C’? ♪ ♪ I hope sooo... ♪ ♪ I'm a little glad, that's okay. ♪ Ok, that was ridiculous! That was so amazing. And then with my songs, I actually put little secret notes to myself to remind myself that I'm right.
And if it's okay, I'd like to play a part of a song for you and to show you where I hid them. Oh, yeah, please. By the way, I'm still just like shaking my head watching this. This is amazing. [Mandy laughs] It's a fun time! I'm gonna go with a song that I wrote called “Try” and I put it in this key because the core goes back into that ‘C’ and I love finding ‘C’.
[Ukulele strums] Ok. So the first note that we're going to play is actually the chord of ‘G,’ ♪ ahh, ♪ which is a ‘B’ so I'm just going up one little nugget from ‘C’. ‘C’ is my safe space.
So I want to be as close to ‘C’ as possible. So that's why I chose this first note. ♪ I don't feel the way I used to ♪ ♪ The sky is grey much more than it is blue ♪ ♪ But I know one day I’ll get through, ♪ ♪ And I’ll take my place again ♪ ♪ If I would try... ♪ Sometimes the most amazing things in your life happen on accident, and an incredible accident that happened to Not Impossible Labs and to me was meeting the street artist Tony “Tempt” Quan, who was paralyzed with ALS and in meeting him and his family and his friends, it led us to create the EyeWriter, which essentially was the origin of Not Impossible Labs. And over the years getting to know Tony and becoming friends, I got a chance to see what it means to live life tethered to a ventilator. To live life tethered to something that's literally plugged into the wall behind you, and recognize the fragility and the dependency that you have to have on this thing that breathes for you, that keeps you alive so that you can wake up the next day.
Tony is a real-life superhero. He has the bravery and the tenacity and the commitment to forge forward with his life and live life on a ventilator, a machine that keeps him alive every single day. There's another friend of ours who truly understands what that means and his name is Will Reeve.
And Will saw his father live a super human life after an equestrian accident took his mobility. And as you will see, Will is just as excited as we are to be honoring VOCSN as a Not Impossible Award winner. Will's excitability and passion around this subject are contagious.
On behalf of Not Impossible, we would like to award this year's Impact Award to Ventec for VOCSN, the first and only multifunction ventilator. It reduces the need for five separate medical devices into one piece of integrated equipment. It is a game changer.
This gives people the freedom and independence to live their lives in a way that they never have before while on a ventilator. This technology is amazing and we are so proud to have Ventec and their VOCSN technology as part of the Not Impossible family. Nobody wants to be in their bedroom all day long. People want to be out and about.
They want to be living their life. They don't want to feel constrained by a medical device and its limitations. [Instrumental cello music] The people that overcome life-changing injuries are those that are unwilling to let those injuries destroy their life. Loa had a lot of obstacles to overcome to live life to her fullest potential. I'm going to tell a little story that is a little hard. In the car, you know, Loa was driving, but I was in the car and I had a lot of guilt about not being able to help her.
I just remember the last thought that I had was that I just killed the car full of people and that car was full of my family, and... fortunately I was the one that was injured the worst. Do I get another one? Oh, thank you! thank you! To be connected to a ventilator, to be connected to something you depend on literally to live every day, it's tremendously emotional and tremendously personal. My father was diagnosed with ALS. The patients most often die from respiratory failure. And all of a sudden this career that I had became very personal because my father had to make a decision whether or not to go on a ventilator.
And his father chose not to go on a ventilator. And in the day, the ventilators were huge. And once you got put on a ventilator, you basically weren't mobile.
I think you could probably imagine what that must have felt like to innovate so many designs and then have someone that you love not go on a ventilator. So that's what drove us, essentially, is this continual overriding when we'd have these discussions and then at the end we'd say, but what does the patient need? This is your standard ventilator device. Oxygen concentrator, off assist, suction pump, and nebulizer.
All these devices come with power cords, cables. You couldn't possibly put them all on one hand. You've got 70, 80 pounds of equipment. So what the VOCSN does is it unifies all of those and brings them together in a common place that can move with the patient. You're constantly being told what you're going to do isn't going to happen, isn't going to be possible.
You've got to start with what do the patients and caregivers need and what's going to change somebody's life? And sometimes that seems impossible but that's what makes all the difference. That's the innovation. I’ve missed you! The fact that they do have those five therapies and you don't have to carry an oxygen tank and suction equipment. It’s enormous. It's just a better way to do care.
And then the other benefit is you get to be mobile and you go out and live your life. [Happy music] Suddenly you have VOCSN that makes it so easy to live an active life and you're not restricted by what happened to you. But you're given an opportunity to continue to live a full and fulfilling life. Loa's a really incredible person and she's a force of nature.
She had a slew of feedback for us. I think every day Loa proves that Loa can do whatever she wants. And we invited her into our world, and she invited us into hers, and together we've just had this incredible partnership.
Doug has dedicated his life to the technology of ventilation. This man and the people and the companies that he built have been keeping alive... since my injury. My quality of life is wrapped up in this.
And this man and his vision- I think Thomas Edison said it best. He said the only difference between him and the common man, was what he called elbow grease. Meaning when he developed the electric light bulb, he tried 10,000 different materials before he ended up with tungsten. And so a big part of it is just intuitiveness and sticking with it and not compromising. I remember we were in the trauma center and my nurse brought her in to see me. And I asked her to fight.
I asked her to fight. To live, for me. Which is maybe a little selfish. And she said, “ok, I will fight.” And she's just never forgotten that promise and she's always fought. [Uplifting music] On behalf of all of us at Ventec Life Systems, I'd like to say thank you to Not Impossible Labs for this honor.
The Impact Award is particularly meaningful for us because that's what we set out to do with VOCSN multifunction ventilator. Impact the lives of patients and caregivers. Our entire team is focused on this most important goal to define integrated respiratory care and ultimately to help people.
Most importantly we are grateful for the respiratory therapists, doctors and other medical professionals who use VOCSN each and every day. As we've seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, they are on the front lines of patient care and we are truly grateful for their service. We are honored to accept this award, and once again from all of us at Ventec Life Systems, thank you. We have one final surprise in store for you and I think you're going to like this one. The next three musical geniuses that I'm about to introduce are truly incredible.
They have a combined 44 Grammy wins and nominations between them. They came together to collaborate on a song whose message of being brave truly encapsulates what we at Not Impossible feel is necessary for us to overcome what 50 million people in the United States, and over 815 million people in the world struggle with every single day, and that's food insecurity and hunger. In response to the dramatic increase of families who are experiencing food insecurity, last year Not Impossible launched a hunger initiative called Hunger: Not Impossible.
And if you want to find out more about this or find out how you can contribute one meal per month to help some of these families who are on the brink, go to notimpossible.com/hunger. So, giving a sneak peek on their recent collaboration on the song "Brave" by Sara Bareilles, please give a warm Not Impossible welcome to Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, and Sara Bareilles. Hi, this is Dionne Warwick.
And I'd like to say congratulations to all those who are receiving the Not Impossible Award today, and for those who have worked so hard to make this all possible. Hey, here’s one other thing I’d like all of you to do. Be brave.
Donate a dinner, a meal of any sort, to those who have not had the ability to feed themselves. We thank you so very much, and again, be brave. ["Brave" by Sarah Bareilles] ♪ You can be amazing ♪ ♪ You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug ♪ ♪ You can be the outcast ♪ ♪ Or be the backlash of somebody's lack of love ♪ ♪ Or you can start speaking up ♪ ♪ Everybody's been there, everybody's been stared down ♪ ♪ By the enemy ♪ ♪ Fallen for the fear and done some disappearing ♪ Imagine how many people you can feed if you would just donate one meal a month. Do that. ♪ Say what you wanna say ♪ ♪ And let the words fall out ♪ ♪ Honestly I wanna see you be brave ♪ ♪ With what you want to say ♪ ♪ And let the words fall out ♪ Hey, I'm Sara Bareilles and tonight we watched videos of people who took risks to change the world.
And that is what Brave is all about. Congrats to every Not Impossible award winner! ♪ I wanna see you, I wanna see you be brave ♪ ♪ I wanna see you, I just wanna see you ♪ ♪ Just wanna see you ♪ ♪ I wanna see you be brave ♪ I'm CJ Jones and I defy impossible. I am Kelli Lee and I defy impossible. I am Shaka Senghor. I am Loa Grieshback.
I'm Maureen Sullivan. My name is William. I'm Emily.
I'm Mark SooHoo. I am Hadeel Ayoub. I'm Ed Hill. I am Sydney. Dr. David Agus. Dan Mancina.
Justin Bishop. Jay Newton-Small. I'm Will Reeve. Everyone: And I defy impossible.
Thank you so much for joining us for the Not Impossible Awards. Be safe. Be brave, go forth, change the world, and live a Not Impossible life.