2024 Game Changers Disability Pride_Showcase-FRANKLIN_2568x1444_v1

DETROIT -- Lisa Franklin was asleep in the backseat of her family’s van in 1996 when a drunk driver slammed into them, ejecting her from the moving vehicle. Franklin woke up one week later in the intensive care unit and learned the crash left her partially paralyzed.

As Franklin began navigating life in a wheelchair, the Detroit native said she quickly learned the challenges people with disabilities face.

“Going through backdoors, entering restaurants and all that stuff can be really difficult for wheelchair users,” Franklin said. “Then I heard an ad for Miss Wheelchair Michigan, and in 2006, I ran and finished as the runner-up. That’s when I decided to start an organization to try to combat the issues people with disabilities face.”


Established in 2008, Warriors on Wheels of Metropolitan Detroit (W.O.W.) is a non-profit organization that advocates for the rights of people with disabilities by creating systematic change in the sectors of transportation, housing, education and civic access.

“The biggest impact of W.O.W. is the community and families we’ve created,” Franklin said. “We have events during the year when we bring in families and friends, but you’d be surprised how many disabled people are just locked in their homes who don’t have a family. We give them meals and friendships. The fellowship is the best part to me.”

The Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Tigers and Comerica Bank kick off the Disability Pride Month Game Changers series throughout July by recognizing Franklin, the non-profit organization’s founder and CEO.

W.O.W’s vision is helping create an inclusive community that supports the livelihood of people with disabilities by empowering them with resources and tools for equity in areas of self-sufficiency.

“Transportation and affordable housing, where you can maneuver on your own, are huge barriers,” Franklin said. “That’s just mobility. I know hard-of-hearing or deaf people who have managers that promised to get them certain alarms that would shake the bed or light up so they know if there’s an emergency in the building.”


Franklin is proud that W.O.W. works so hard to help members of the disabled community realize there are people who will advocate for them.

“It’s important that people who don’t have anyone can have someone to call,” Franklin said.

Being named a Game Changers honoree means a lot to Franklin, who said she is honored to be part of such an inspiring group of community leaders.

“This caught me by surprise because I wasn’t expecting it, but I was overwhelmed and overjoyed,” Franklin said. “I called all my family members. It’s just amazing because I never thought I would be named something so notable.”

For more information about W.O.W., visit this link.