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Guatemala Wheelchair Trip 2018

Alexa Michna & Augie Byllott of Creating Wealth USA started fundraising last October and raised enough money to deliver an entire container, 280 wheelchairs to Guatemala. Their group of 25 individuals that included teens and adults, made the trek and personally delivered the wheelchairs along with a number of gifts for the local communities. Thank you to all of those involved with this distribution. 

If your organization would like information on how you can begin fundraising for wheelchairs, you can find our contact information HERE.

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Doing Good in the World

20160212_235629In February of this year, Rotarians from Western North Carolina, District 7670, traveled to the Philippines to deliver wheelchairs and other aid to the disabled and less fortunate Filipino citizens with Districts 3820 and 3810. District 3810 consists of clubs from Manila, Pasay, Cavite and Occidental Mindoro and District 3820 consists of clubs from the Southeastern Quezon, Mindoro Oriental and Camarines.

The five Rotarians from District 7670 (Bill Biddle, Isaac Owolabi, Elbie Stiles, Charles “Chuck” Killian and his wife Sharon) all travelled together, each paying his or her own expenses, to participate in this life-changing experience. One hundred ten wheelchairs were distributed in six cities within the two hosting districts.

Philippines Wheelchair Team in Daet, Camerines Sur, Philippines Feb 2016

Philippines Wheelchair Team in Daet, Camerines Sur, Philippines Feb 2016

The team also participated in a medical mission for indigent senior citizens, visited a High School in Pasay City to see desks that were donated to the senior class, visited Blessed Ville Angels Special Education Learning Center and a Music Therapy Program in Tondo in District 3810.

“We are grateful to have had the opportunity to represent our district and to serve others in need. As a team, we were able to have a positive impact on the lives of individuals who are now better off. Thank you for the opportunity to serve others.”

Hector Manley Goes Home with Wheelchairs

Hector Manley

Hector Manley standing with his kayak that he paddled the Mississippi River with.

Last summer, Hector Manley spent months kayaking the length of the Mississippi River. He went from Minnesota to Louisiana, all by water, 2,500 miles in total. When he got to Louisiana, he was diverted to a side branch of the river by a hurricane. Just the same, he completed his run down the river while raising donations for the Wheelchair Foundation and the Wounded Warrior Project.

What makes this all the more remarkable is that Hector lost both legs as a child. He grew up in El Salvador, and while playing in a landfill, had his legs buried beneath burning trash when an earthquake occurred. Eventually, a U.S. couple from Florida adopted him, effectively giving him two families, one by birth and one by adoption. Hector went on to complete his schooling in the U.S., graduating from the University of Tampa last year before starting his trip.

Next month, Hector, his U.S. family and a group of Wheelchair Foundation supporters are going back to El Salvador to distribute the wheelchairs his kayaking trip paid for. While he uses prosthetic legs, he’s well aware that others are better served with a wheelchair, and he has long wanted to give back to the country of his birth. We’ll have more on this story as it happens, so keep watching our blog for more stories and photos.

Rotary Clubs Bring Mobility to Mazatlan, Mexico

Bob Slayback, president of the Lodi Rotary Club, helps prepare wheelchairs for distribution in Mazatlan.

Every year for the past 11 years, the Rotary Club of Foster City has been going to Mazatlan, Mexico to help the less fortunate. The original project was distributing wheelchairs to those without mobility and without the means to obtain it on their own. Since its inception, the project has grown to include building schools and playgrounds.

In October of this year, nearly 70 Rotarians and local Interact Club students, who were led by Linda and Jon Grant, set off to continue the mission of helping those in need. With them was President of the Lodi Rotary Club, Bob Slayback, who accompanied the group to help plan future trips for his fellow club members. Dr. Grant combines contributions received from District Coordinators, such as those forwarded by Tom Harmon of District 5810, and then applies for matching grants from The Rotary Foundation.

Wheelchairs were delivered in person to recipients who were unable to leave their homes, and those who were able to drive or get rides into town received their wheelchair in front of hundreds of family, friends and Rotarians. In total, over 500 wheelchairs were given to individuals, young and old, who had never experienced mobility.

Rick Pietrykowski, of the Rockwall Breakfast Rotary Club, described his experience, saying, “As delightful as it was to see hundreds of smiling children’s faces, it tugged at our hearts to see the tears of many flavors on the faces of the wheelchair recipients: tears of joy mixed with tears of pain during the physical act of moving a torn body into the wheelchair, tears of gratitude intermixed with tears of regret for being in need of the gift, and tears of excitement for their new-found freedom, washing over the tears of being at a disadvantage in a disadvantaged land.”

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