The The Wheelchair Foundation, a division of Global Health and Education Foundation,
a 501(c)3 charitable foundation, has a goal to provide a free wheelchair to every child,
teen and adult worldwide who needs one but has no means to acquire one.

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Turning The Wheels

Typhoon Haiyan

Valley View fifth-grader Nicole Brownen, sitting in her class’s demo wheelchair, cuts out a shape using her non-dominant left hand, part of an ability-awareness lesson highlighting fine motor skills. (Photo by Jeremy Walsh)

Students in the San Ramon Valley and other parts of the Bay Area are learning valuable lessons about physical and mental disabilities through a burgeoning awareness program.

By placing wheelchairs on local campuses and providing educational information to school leaders, the Wheelchair Foundation’s From the Heart schools project aims to raise awareness about disabilities in the world, inform local students about issues faced by people with disabilities and generate funds for people in need of wheelchairs.

“We want it to be a lot more than a fundraiser,” said Don Routh, one of the volunteers spearheading the foundation’s effort. “I’m just as excited about raising awareness about mobility,” Routh said, adding that he enjoys helping students realize, “It’s OK to be in a wheelchair, (and) you shouldn’t be afraid of people in wheelchairs.”

Awareness campaigns like From the Heart have held special meaning for Routh for more than three decades.

“I’ve been an advocate for people with disabilities ever since my son was diagnosed (with cerebral palsy) at 1 year old, which would be 34 years ago,” said Routh, a retired business executive from San Ramon. “He’s my inspiration.”

With the help of his adult son Josh — who uses a wheelchair — and friend and Pleasanton business owner Bill Wheeler, Routh coordinates with the foundation and education leaders to present the From the Heart program at 48 Bay Area schools, primarily in the San Ramon Valley and Pleasanton school districts.

Click here to read the rest of this article.

Raising Awareness

Typhoon Haiyan

Fourth-grader Eddie Park, 9, navigates through his classroomin a wheelchair Feb. 7 at Vintage Hills Elementary School in Pleasanton. Students at the school had the use of 10 wheelchairs to experience what it is like to navigate the campus in one. Photo by Anda Chu / Bay Area News Group

This article is borrowed from the Contra Costa Times and is shared in it's entirety. To read the original article written by Robert Jordan click here.

SAN RAMON -- Don Routh's lips still tremble and his eyes fight back tears as he recalls the day 34 years ago when doctors told him that his then 1-year-old son, Josh, would never speak or have use of his limbs.

Doctors diagnosed Josh with cerebral palsy, a developmental disability that is caused by brain damage -- usually sustained in the womb or at birth -- that affects body movement, according to United Celebral Palsy.

"I was terrified," said Routh, who adopted Josh when he was two days old. "That was my son and to hear that he would be a quadriplegic was tough. ... But you can either bury your head in the sand or you can embrace it."

Routh has done more than embrace it. He has spent his money and time advocating for people with disabilities. The doctors were wrong about Josh. Josh, 35, lives by himself in San Ramon and works as a clerk at Nob Hill Foods.

Together Routh, Josh and Bill Wheeler, the owner of Black Tie Transportation in Pleasanton... Click here to read the rest of this inspiration story.

Providing Mobility to Hermosillo, Mexico

Hermosillo Recipient

Dignity and Strength shown on the face of this greatful recipient. Photo Credit: Rebecca Wilks, Skyline Images.

In late January Rotary District 5490 visited Hermosillo, Mexico and distributed 110 wheelchairs. Rebecca Wilks, MD, a Past President of Peoria North Rotary Club, attended the distribution and wrote the below story.

“I have some history with the Wheelchair Foundation. I’d read Ken Behring’s Book, Road to Purpose. Our club honors High School Students of the Month with wheelchairs donated in their names. I’d even had (thwarted) plans to join another wheelchair distribution trip to Mexico several years ago.”

“There were 49 of us, Rotarians from Arizona and friends on a bus. We were lavishly entertained in Hermosillo by our partners in this endeavor, the Hermosillo Pitic Rotary Club. Like many International Rotary trips, it was as much a cultural exchange as a service trip.”

“Rotary District 5490 has been delivering Wheelchair Foundation chairs to various parts of Mexico for at least a decade.”

“There were 8 Rotarians and spouses from our club, Peoria North Rotary. We helped to deliver 110 wheelchairs that Saturday. A dozen went to Guaymas to be used short-term on a rotating basis. We were honored to hear some personal stories from the recipients and to see the power of connection of people across cultures.”
“I’ll let the images tell the stories.”

View additional photos from Rebecca here.


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