Definition: CUSH is a wheelchair cushion specifically designed to aid wheelchair users and the elderly in the prevention and healing of pressure ulcers, also known as bedsores.
Opportunity: Recent research suggests there are 2.5 million new cases of pressure ulcers each year and 60,000 deaths per year are attributed to them. There are over 1.5 million wheelchair users in the United States alone.
Our Story: Calvin Peterson thought of the initial concept during his senior capstone class in the VCU Entrepreneurship Program. Calvin has suffered from paraplegia for nine years and has to battle pressure ulcers on a daily basis. Wallace and Kaitlin joined the team soon after Calvin thought of the idea and have been passionate and devoted team members ever since. We hope to see our product not only on Calvin’s wheelchair but also on hundreds of thousands of wheelchairs across the country.
What We Have Accomplished: We have won 1st place in the VCU Venture Creation Competition, Viewer’s Choice Award in the i.e. Richmond Competition, and 1st place in the ACG Business Plan competition with CUSH. We have assembled a well-accredited panel of advisors. Eric Edwards, also mentor to the team, has already successfully built a company and launched a medical device. The remaining members of our panel of advisors consist of: Melissa Oliver, a specialist in Occupational Therapy, who has worked at the VA hospital for over 10 years; Alicia Sullivan specializes in wheelchair’s seating/positioning as well as wound care. Both have contributed knowledge and expertise along with expressed interest and excitement surrounding CUSH. Lance Goetz, MD is a physiatrist who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation and spinal cord injury, he also works at the VA hospital in Richmond, VA and is a CUSH advisor. We have recently conducted our first focus group and have gathered valuable information that will be used in the product development stage of CUSH.
What We Are Trying To Accomplish: The money raised will be used to develop our prototype and cover expenses associated with obtaining a patent and furthering our research, both primary and secondary. We have recently contacted a local product and development company and they have expressed interest building our prototype for a fee of $20,000, this will cover the first two phases of prototyping.
- Sharon Smith-Ramsey
- Ashley Alvarez
- Laurelyn Collins
- Deborah Barden