Archive for Thursday, February 18, 2010

Something good to know

February 18, 2010

The older we get the more we realize how much helpful items like a wheelchair are needed and used in public areas such as grocery stores and churches.

I had a personal experience myself several years ago on vacation when I almost passed out in church, and immediately the ushers had a wheelchair by my side and I was taken to my car. I couldn’t help but notice on the way out that there was more than one wheelchair lined up by the entrance, probably because we were vacationing in a retirement community. Since then we had a chance to purchase one for our own church here in Lansing, just in case of such an emergency.

I decided to do a little checking on the wheelchairs. The first record of wheelchairs dates to the 6th century in China. There have been many developments and changes since then. In 1933 Harry Jennings developed the first lightweight, steel, collapsible wheelchair. Together with his disabled friend and fellow engineer, Herbert Everest, who had broken his back in a mining accident, they went into business becoming the first mass manufacturers of wheelchairs. It was called Everest and Jennings and was based on the X-brace design that is still is use today.

Now there are service clubs that go together and donate wheelchairs, not only in the United States but over 100 foreign countries. The Global Wheelchair Mission purchases wheelchairs and delivers them by sea containers around the world. They are distributed with the help of numerous nongovernmental organizations, Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis Clubs and Knights of Columbus. Their goal is to deliver free wheelchairs around the world to disabled children, teens, and adults, as well as veterans and their families.

For every donation of $150 received by the Global Wheelchair Mission, it can deliver a brand new wheelchair, which would cost over $500 in a medical supply store. They are shipped by 100 to 280 wheelchair containers directly from the factory to the destination at no cost to the recipient.

It is good for all of us to know that there are organizations out there that help people with disabilities.

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