Wheels of Happiness to the Rescue! – Erik Kondo

Wheels of Happiness logo

We partnered with Wheels of Happiness to deliver three urgently needed wheelchairs to deserving recepients.

We all know how important a wheelchair is to the mobility of its user. But in developing countries, a functioning wheelchair literally means the difference between life and death.

If my wheelchair breaks, it would be a huge disruption to my life and independence. But I have plenty of food, warm shelter, and people to take care of me. It would only be a matter of time before my wheelchair was replaced. In fact, it would only be a few minutes since I have a 2nd wheelchair at my house. I am wheelchair “advantaged”.

On the other hand, I will relay the story of John who incurred a spinal cord injury as a young boy. John’s barely functioning wheelchair completely broke down while he was far from home. At the time, he was begging for survival money on the street. Unable to move, he spent four days and night stranded. His only shelter came from lying under his wheelchair frame. He had no food, no water, no bathroom. He only survived because he was finally able to get transported back to his apartment on a loaned wheelchair.

Next is the story of Goodluck, who had polio as a child, and is a full-time wheelchair user. He lives on the street and has only had barely functional hospital style wheelchairs for his mobility. These wheelchairs typically come with rusted bearings and casters, ruined tires, sagging and ripped upholstery, and commonly lack hand rims.

Goodluck’s wheelchair completely broken down, also leaving him sitting in the street for days. He had to depend on his street friends to survive. Fortunately, they were able to borrow a wheelchair and help him to meet up with Emmanuel.

Due to the funds provided by Wheels of Happiness, Emmanuel was able to bring a new wheelchair to John, who had been crawling around his apartment for the past week. John’s aunt, whose wheelchair’s rear wheel was falling off, also received a new wheelchair. As luck would have it, an inexpensive used Tilite wheelchair was found for Goodluck. Best of all, the Tilite actually fits Goodluck’s small body size. All three were provided with cushions with custom sewn leather covers.

Each wheelchair with cushion only cost a few hundred dollars to obtain. There were no doctors, therapists, or seating clinics involved. But the results are dramatic. When someone has no wheelchair or a barely functioning wheelchair, it takes a minimal amount of resources to drastically change a person’s life for the better.

Thank you, Wheels of Happiness, for helping us make the change!