The Laura and Wagner Foundation (LWF) is a non-profit NGO registered in Curaçao, and certified by the Belastingdienst  in the ANBI Registry in the Netherlands, that serves to raise awareness about, and advocate for, the rights of persons of all ages living with sensory, physical, or learning disabilities, as well as those 'socially disabled' because of poverty, domestic abuse or inaccessible education opportunities.

Founded in February of 2008 by Laura de Haseth Meddens, herself, visually impaired, the LWF is working to 'DisAble The Dis' by changing attitudes about disability. Laura, and her guide dog Wagner from The Seeing Eye, have been 'opening eyes and opening doors' raising awareness about disability rights and issues, and obtaining access for persons with guide dogs to all the places normally sighted people go.

The Foundation is now developing new options for learning, training, employment and improved daily living for persons with special needs through our ABLED® software application for the iPad, iPhone and other devices,and through the global network of websites we are building.

Introducing Nugget

2014 marks the opening of new chapters on many fronts. After training with her new Seeing Eye® guide dog Nugget (as in Golden Nugget), a beautiful Chocolate Labrador, in Morristown, New Jersey, Laura and the development team are working to build out our global portal of networks that will help everyone to live a more Abled® life by making better informed choices, and by providing accessible and inclusive Communities | Content | Products | Services | Technology.

We look forward to being of service and to your continued support throughout 2014.


DECEMBER 31, 2004 - MAY 21, 2013

With broken hearts, all of us at The Laura And Wagner Foundation and announce the passing of Laura's beloved guide dog Wagner.

But everyone who loved him knew him simply as 'Waggie'.

It is a sad irony that Waggie's passing comes on the same day Texas A&M University published the story seen in our previous post about his role in a great research program being conducted by the university in partnership with the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.

His T-Cell infusions at Texas A&M dramatically reduced his tumor load, putting him, essentially, into remission. However, Waggie was recently diagnosed with erlichia (tick disease), likely picked up in Texas despite wearing a tick collar and being up to date on his frontline injections.

That overloaded his immune system which had already been weakened by a double dose of chemotherapy prior to the T-Cell infusions.

Waggie's condition rapidly deteriorated over the past week, and Laura had to feed and water him by hand. He started to have very labored breathing, and difficulty walking.

After fighting the bravest fight possible against the lymphoma for two years and 7 months, it was for the heartbreaking decision to end his suffering.

With the help of Dr. Carreen Loriaux from the Dierenkliniek Ijburglaan in Amsterdam, Waggie was put to sleep earlier today.

It's a devastating loss for Laura, and an absence that will always be felt. But she takes comfort in hoping that the knowledge gained from Waggie's T-Cell treatment's will soon help to save other dogs and human cancer patients as the T-Cell therapies are refined.

We'll be writing more in the days ahead about Waggie's treatments and the generous people who helped to make them possible.

For now, we are all just simply hurting, and mourning the loss of a dear, sweet dog who was the best ambassador a Foundation could ask for.

Rest in Peace Dear Waggie.


My dear Waggie,

You were my first wonderful guide dog. You were a real character, sometimes full of mischief, but you were always a trustworthy and loyal gentleman.

You helped me in very hard times, and saved my life on two occasions. 

I tried to help you as best as I could in fighting the cancer from 2010 onwards. But because you contracted tick fever in Texas, it became too much for your immune system over the past few weeks.

It is so very hard to say goodbye, but it was even harder to feel you getting so weak, despite what a brave, brave fight you were putting up.

Your legacy will live on in all the lives of everyone you've touched in Curaçao, the Netherlands, the United States and around the world and through the research knowledge that will be gained from your T-Cell treatments.

I want to thank everyone who contributed to our indiegogo campaign to be able to take Waggie to Texas, because your contribution continues to help build towards finding non-toxic cancer treatments for dogs and people with lymphoma and other cancers, especially children, because canine blood is so similar to children's blood composition.

The best I can close with for now, because the tears won't stop, is a favourite quote of mine from Linden: "Those with the brightest spirits are sometimes handed the darkest challenges to light the way for the rest of us".

I love you Waggie. I know your spirit will continue to guide me from heaven and you will live in my heart forever.





The Ongoing Saga of Two Survivors

The Fight To Save Laura's Vision and The Fight To Save Wagner

Since late 2010, Laura's faithful guide dog, Wagner, has been battling Stage 3 canine lymphoma form of cancer.

His diagnosis came as Laura faced the worst possible news:
the impaired vision in her remaining eye that she fought so hard to have restored was finally lost because of the physical consequences of domestic violence.

After being hit and kicked in the face in several assaults by her, now, ex-husband, as documented by the Police, the physical trauma caused an immediate and ongoing loss of eye pressure, requiring painful injections of an artificial substance every six weeks to try to save her eye, which also suffered a detached retina because of the blunt-force trauma and the scar tissue it created.

Continued bullying and financial abuse during the divorce process made it impossible for Laura to pay for Waggie's ongoing chemotherapy, let alone have enough food in the house for her and her children on numerous occasions. She was forced to borrow money from family and friends as she does not draw a salary from The Laura And Wagner Foundation, and social service agencies wouldn't help because they said it was her husband's responsibility.

Laura didn't make this public before because of the shame and embarrassment that most victims of domestic abuse experience, and because of further cowardly threats of violence if she did. Laura never wanted to be portrayed as a "poor me", or to draw attention away from the work of her Foundation, but she felt it was important to finally take a stand to tell other women & men in abusive relationships to come forward to stop the violence and intimidation, because abusers lose their power when exposed.

It was time to turn the shame in the other direction.

Persons with disabilities face a much higher risk of abuse  as detailed in our Special Report on Abuse of the Disabled.

Laura also wants social service agencies to improve their responses to families in crisis when faced with this abuse.

Despite all this, Laura persevered and put her focus on her children and Wagner, helping her devoted guide through his treatment regimens. Thanks to the initial efforts of Dr. Erik Teske & his team at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and the team at the Medisch Centrum voor Dieren in Amsterdam, Wagner went into remission.

As predicted, however, a year later, the tumors eventually returned and the chemotherapy treatments were taking a very heavy toll on his bone marrow.

At that point, the veterinarians recommended putting him to sleep, because further chemotherapy treatments would be out of the question. Waggie again rallied after immediately being put on a raw food diet and eventually became strong enough for more chemotherapy and Asparaginase enzyme treatments.

Then, he was been accepted into a clinical trial at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas and Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine in College Station, Texas
which would re-infuse Waggie's expanded T-cells into his own blood to fight the cancer. Because canine blood is very close in composition to human blood, particularly in children, it's hoped new treatment protocols will be developed for persons battling Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.
You can read more about the world-wide effort to help at our Abled website.

In the meantime, Laura was on a standby list for a cornea transplant, and in late November 2012 during an almost 3 hour operation, Prof. Dr. Peter Walter at the Augenklink at the Universitatsklinikum in Aachen, Germany, attached the donor cornea after performing other reparative procedures in an effort to stabilize her eye pressure.

Laura wishes to thank the anonymous donor, as well as Prof. Dr. Walter, his assistant Sotiria Manetta and all the interns and nursing staff at the
Universitatsklinikum in Aachen for this new chance at possibly getting some vision restored, as well as thanking Dr. J.D. Ferwerda, her eye specialist in Curaçao and Dr. Mauk Tilanus at St. Radboud in Nijmegen for their efforts to sustain the pressure in her eye to help keep it "alive" for the eventual transplant procedure.

Then, Laura and her eye just needed time to heal, which would usually take 3 to 6 months, and she thanks everyone for their kind words of support. Unfortunately, the damage from the domestic abuse was too great, and Laura now faces a future without her sight.

Then, in May 2013, the toll from the cancer and tick disease contracted in Texas despite preventative medication proved to be too much for Wagner's immune system and he was put to rest at home.

Despite the personal challenges that have faced our namesakes, The Laura And Wagner Foundation continues the development of our Abled® software application for the iPhone and iPad and eventually, Android devices, that will create new learning, training and job opportunities for persons with disabilities who will then provide Abled® content, products and services for disabled and non-disabled users alike across our network of websites which will build-out throughout 2014.

Our thanks this year to iCars, Europcar Aruba, Europcar Curaçao, Carensol, and The Genuine Curaçao of Curaçao Liqueur for their financial support, and Mr. Niels Verheij of Damasco Resort for the donation of Internet access. A
s a non-profit NGO , we rely on donations such as these, as well as from individuals like you to make this happen.

Please help us take the 'Dis' out of 'Disabled' by clicking on the banner below to help us build an Abled® future.

Thank you and our very best wishes to you for a healthy and happy 2014!

Mr. Lachu Boolchand of Boolchand's presents Laura Meddens, Founder and Chairman of The Laura And Wagner Foundation with the donation of an Apple® iPad as a contribution toward the Foundation's Abled application for disabled users that is being developed for the iPad, iPhone and desktop computers.

Acupuncture specialist Shik-Tong Chan presents Laura Meddens, Founder and Chairman of The Laura And Wagner Foundation with the donation of a Blue-THX Digital microphone as a contribution toward the Foundation's Abled application and suite of assistive software for the disabled. Shik-Tong also donated treatment to help raise Laura's eye pressure as part of the battle to try and save her remaining sight, and for this, he is one of our heroes.


  New Assistive Technology
  Our system of software and digital
  devices to help take the 'Dis' out of
  Disabled via more independence

  New learning/training opportunities

  An easier system for using the 'Net'

  A new form of independent mobility


  Massive Salmonella Alert
  Contaminated flavor enhancer starts
  a flood of voluntary recalls of many
  food products - We have the list

  Baby carrier recall in N.A. & Europe

  Tylenol products recall is expanded

  Soda fountains squirt fecal bacteria


 The Seeing Eye & Beyond
 A series of articles providing insight
 into living with a disability - starting
 with our Founder - Laura Meddens

  Mobility training with a metal 'dog'

  Echolocation: Seeing without eyes

  Hearing restored -the challenges


  Vegetative Patients 'Speak'
  Brain scans show response when
  questions are asked-Ethics impact

  Paralysis Healed? Dr. Rewires Nerves

  Retinal implant trial successful

  New treatment for brain injury


  Opening Eyes & Doors
  Laura & Wagner raise awareness
  about disabilities and guide dogs

  ISC students learn about disabilities

  Opening eyes at the Marnix School

  Teaching executives about access


 ABLED Fundraising Event
 Our sincere thanks to all participants
 attendees, sponsors or contributors

  1Domains Online Benefit Auction

  Autism Awareness month

  international day of the guide dog


  Melody Gardot's Survival
  Music therapy helps launch a major 
  career after being hit by a car

  Mike May: Adapting to seeing again

  Adapting to hearing for the 1st time

  Quotes of inspiration for motivation


  Poverty & The Disabled
  An average 75% jobless rate leaves
  many disabled persons behind         

  Shelters Illegally Bar Service Dogs

  Making culture accessible for all

  Autism Comfort Dogs vs Schools


 Finding His Voice Again
 Technology gives Roger Ebert back
 the voice that cancer stole from him

  Oprah's 'No Phone Zone' campaign

  Oscar provides hope for Prudence

  Avatar's hero inspires paraplegics


  Our selection of Blogs, Foundations, 
  Links and Retailers of interest

  Media Dis-n-dat Blog Link

  Independent Living Aids Store

  UN eNable Promotes Disabled Rights


  The Heart Loves Chocolate
  New long-term study shows dark
  chocolate is good for your heart

  Blind driver sets world speed record

  Stem cells may reverse deafness

  When a sore throat turns deadly


 Prostate Cancer Reduced
 Drug for BPH effecting in reducing
 the development of prostate cancer

  Chemical link to breast cancer

  Overactive thyroid stroke risk

  How to be part of a clinical trial


  Abuse Of The Disabled
  Pope under fire for ignoring abuse at
  Catholic institutions for the disabled

  Disabled Attitudes: Speaking Up

  Haiti/Chile Quakes impact disabled

  Health Care Reform for the disabled


  Not Defined By Disability
  Our series on Disabled Attitudes and
  other videos help disable the 'dis'     

  'Opening Eyes & Opening Doors'

  'The Specials'-online video series

  The Voices of Autism @


 Live Well Despite Disability
 Conditions, treatments, recipes &
 more for better wellbeing choices

  Fitness is key for the disabled

  Comparing natural painkillers

  Mike May on regaining vision

A Section For Your Wellbeing

Studies have shown that it's very important for persons with disabilities or chronic health conditions to try to maintain a good diet, exercise, if possible in ways that are relevant to their condition, and to maintain a positive spirit. We've developed a new resource section of our website to help everyone, whether disabled or not, to learn more about recipes, natural supplements, exercise regimens from various sources to help you make informed choices about your health and wellbeing.

This content is for information purposes only and is not meant to replace proper diagnosis and treatment by your health professionals. We hope you find the information useful and if you have any comments or questions, please write to us at

In our Spirit video section, you'll find Laura's interview with Mike May, an assistive technology pioneer who also participated in the 'Disabled Attitudes' discussion in our Special Reports section. Mike talks about some of the challenges in having partial vision restored after 43 years via stem cell surgery. It's not quite as easy as you think. Since the interview was done via Skype, the video connection quality wasn't as good as we'd like it to be, but we feel what Mike had to say was very important and should supercede any technical concerns. You can watch the video below & read more about Mike here.


Press the play button and then click on the arrow beside 360p to choose 720HD for High Definition
Then click on the arrows to watch the video in full screen size

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 Autism Dogs: Service Animals or Pets?     Two families fight for access to schools for their autistic children and
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 Shelters Illegally Bar Disabled Homeless
 Some shelters for the homeless are violating the Americans With

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  No Ash Cloud Health Risks
  Iceland's erupting volcano is not
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  'Tanorexia' An Addiction
  Despite being told about the cancer
  risks, some people are addicted

 Salmonella In Chickens
 Consumer Reports finds the bacteria
 in 2/3rds of store-bought chickens

Introducing videos from our new Wellness Section


 Reduce/Prevent Neck Pain
 Leslie Nesbitt has tips for those who
 experience neck pain from sitting


  Earlier ICU Exercise Helps
  Johns Hopkins study finds it helps
  to boost recovery for ICU patients

 Play Wheelchair Basketball
 Paralympic champ Mike Schlappi
 explains the general aspects of it

Exercises For Person With Spinal Cord Injuries: Tetraplegia

This is a great at-home workout program for people with tetraplegia. This video can also be used as a seated exercise option for people with disabilities or chronic health conditions.


Help Us To End The Social Isolation of The Disabled

Welcome to our website which we hope will make it easier for you to explore the world of Laura and Wagner as this dynamic duo campaigns to end the social isolation of disabled and disadvantaged people of all ages in Curaçao, the Netherlands Antilles, and newly expanded into the Netherlands (Holland), by helping them obtain guide/assistance dogs and other resources that can help them achieve more freedom of mobility and self-reliance.

Through The Laura And Wagner Foundation (LWF), they are also campaigning to achieve access legislation for guide/assistance dogs to allow people who rely on these service animals for their mobility to be able to go everywhere non-disabled people go without discrimination.

You can help by signing the online petition here .

Through it's ABLED Initiative, the LWF will be launching several projects to create new learning, training and employment opportunities for disabled and disadvantaged persons of all ages through a customized suite of software and devices that close the digital divide for those who don't see as well, hear as well, walk as well, or learn as easily as the rest of us, including those who can't afford the basic tools of communication and learning that many of us take for granted.

These projects are also designed to create new economic opportunities in in the sectors of Education, Communications and Tourism.

Please visit our website often to follow the progress of this ambitious multi-year initiative. And because we are a non-profit NGO (non-governmental organization), we rely on financial support from individual and corporate supporters like you.
You can learn more about the Foundation and how you can help or get involved to make a difference here.

Please take your time exploring our site and let us know if you have any questions or suggestions. by sending us an eMail to We hope you'll visit often and help spread the word about Laura and Wagner's efforts to 'Open Eyes & Open Doors'!


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