Friday Story: Josiah’s Gift

Greetings, and Happy Friday!

This week I want to share with you a story that is a bit different than usual. I’d like you to meet Josiah, one of our youngest supporters. He dedicates his time and resources every year to raising enough funds for one wheelchair. His heart for those in need touched my heart and I hope it touches yours too:

Josiah has a passion for those who struggle with disability and for the past two years, he has taken his allowance from performing chores and jobs around the house and any loose change that he could find to purchase a Free Wheelchair Mission wheelchair for someone in need. He is faithully committed to emptying his piggy bank to help people in the developing world.

When Dave, a pastor at Josiah’s church, went to Vietnam to distribute wheelchairs, he made sure to label one with Josiah’s name on it so Josiah could see the personal impact he was making with all his hard work.


The gentleman who received Josiah’s chair is a North Vietnamese soldier who was injured in the line of duty. It made Josiah extremely proud when he saw the picture of the gentleman who received the chair that he had paid for with his own money. Josiah’s mother, Elisa, sent us a note in an email, “It makes it real to him and encourages him to want to do more. He is so sweet.”


Josiah’s passion for those in need is incredible and I love the dedication he is showing to empty out his piggy bank every year to help others. $77.91 may not seem like much to you or me, but to Josiah, it is all he has and he is giving it all so someone else can have a better life. What an inspiration.


Don Schoendorfer

Friday Story: The Gift of a Smile

Greetings , and Happy Friday!

Sometimes, a smile says it all. That was definitely the case for Sebastiana from Peru. Here is her story from our partner, Camino de Vida:

At 85 years of age, Sebastiana lost her eyesight and completely lost her ability to walk due to severe osteoporosis. Learning how to interact with the world in a new way because of one issue is hard enough, but Sebastiana was battling two. “It is very hard to meet all of her physical needs,” her daughter told us, and even though she was often stuck inside all day, Sebastina never let that get her down.

Not too long ago, Camino de Vida provided Sebastiana with her very own wheelchair. She received the gift of mobility and in return, gave us the gift of her sweet smile. Now she can go to the doctor, ride in the park and enjoy being social again – she has a better life and shares that same sweet smile with everyone she meets.


Because of generous supporters like you, Sebastiana doesn’t have to be stuck inside all day. Thank you for providing the simple gift of a wheelchair to people like her all over the world.


Don Schoendorfer

Friday Story: Song of a Wheelchair

Greetings , and Happy Friday!

Last week we received a poem from our partner in China, titled “Song of a Wheelchair.” It was written by a young woman, who received her very own GEN_1 wheelchair this past March. We were all so touched by her story and the beautiful poem, I had to share it with all of you. Here is what she wrote:


Song Of A Wheelchair

Disease as unfortunate as jail
Locked me out from inside
Eagles with broken wings
Expecting to soar into the sky

Wheelchair, the desire of my dreams
Longing to be carried to sunshine
Nowadays, dreams come true

On this rough path of life
My wheelchair takes me, singing
Looking up at the sky, my wheelchair is my flying wings

Gazing down at earth, my wheelchair takes me through the gardens
On my wheelchair, as life impulses rush
Moving my wheelchair through houses in the grassland

Looking at wheelchair, as friends oversee
With sincerity, love, coming to me
New wheelchair, let me touch you softly
My sweet love, let me embrace you tightly
Let me lean in your arms forever

I love her sweet story and beautiful poem; written with love, happiness and excitement. Thank you for providing recipients the gift of mobility and making their dreams come true with the simple gift of a wheelchair.


Don Schoendorfer

Special Delivery Report: 1,100 Wheelchairs Arrived

Mendoza Cesar Fabian

Happy Thursday! 1,100 wheelchairs arrived this week: 550 in Argentina and 550 in Vietnam.

Disability Stats for Argentina:

  • Approximately 7-8% of the population are living with some type of disability
  • The unemployment rate of those with a disability are at 91%
  • Since 2001 we have shipped 4.950 wheelchairs to Argentina
  • This is the first container (550 wheelchairs) we have shipped to Argentina in this calendar year

Friday Story: Ethel’s World

Greetings and Happy Friday!

I love getting stories from the field about recipients who no longer have to live their lives from a back room in their home. This week I wanted to introduce you to Ethel whose world became larger the moment she received her very own wheelchair:

Two years ago as Ethel tried to get out of bed, she realized her legs no longer worked. “It was just too painful to walk,” she said, “and I haven’t walked since.” Because she is bedridden, she moved in with her son so he can help take care of her.

Ethel was so excited to receive her very own GEN_1 wheelchair from our partner in Swaziland, The Luke Commission. She couldn’t believe that she would no longer have to spend every day and night cooped up in her room. “Thanks to God for this chair” she exclaimed!

Ethel world

Thank you for helping to provide recipients like Ethel with the gift of mobility every week. I love that $77.91 can transform someone’s life so quickly and I’m grateful to each one of you for helping this vision continue to grow, one wheelchair at a time.


Don Schoendorfer

Friday Story: Something New for Jazmin

Greetings , and Happy Friday!

There are so many life-changing aspects that come with the gift of a wheelchair; being able to help with daily chores, going to school and getting to be a part of the community are just a few. One aspect often overlooked is the unique experience of the recipient receiving something brand new that belongs only to them. This week, I want to share Jazmin’s story and how she felt special not only to receive a wheelchair, but especially because it was brand new:

Jazmin was born nearly 11 years ago in Peru with a congenital abnormality that will keep her from ever being able to walk. Because of this, she has faced many struggles but has tried to live as normal a life as possible, despite her setbacks. Her mom helps her get ready in the morning and her two brothers, ages seven and thirteen, help her get to school.

A few years ago she was given an old, worn wheelchair, but she was never properly fitted for it. Grateful for the opportunity for mobility, her family accepted the kind gift, but she never felt truly comfortable, and the wheelchair became less and less functional as she grew out of it.

All that changed when Jazmin received her very own, brand new, GEN_2 wheelchair! Now that her wheelchair fits her properly, she can sit comfortably for long periods of time and her brothers can get her to and from school more easily. She feels so blessed by God to have been given this gift of a BRAND NEW wheelchair.


Because of your generosity, Jazmin was given a wonderful gift – not only of mobility, but a great sense of excitement to have something brand new of her very own. Thank you for helping recipients just like Jazmin by providing them with the gift of mobility every day.


Don Schoendorfer

Friday Story: Living in the Dust

Greetings , and Happy Friday!

Many of our recipients live life on the ground, and only dream of the day that they might receive a wheelchair of their own. Gaetan’s story was very similar:

As a young child, Gaetan was diagnosed with epilepsy which caused him to fall down a lot. Over time, his injuries from falling prevented him from walking and his only mobility was limited to crawling on the ground. At 61 years old, he lived most of his life from the ground, covered in dirt. Despite a desire to work and help his family, Gaetan spent most days confined at home.

When our partner, World Vision Rwanda, gave him his very own GEN_2 wheelchair, Gaetan was overjoyed! Now he is able to move around his house, easily doing his daily chores and can even go out into the community to be with family and friends. Gaetan no longer has to live his life in the dust!


Thank you for helping people in need and for lifting Gaetan off the ground and into his very own wheelchair. If you haven’t yet, make sure to check out Spring Training at Free Wheelchair Mission—we would love for you to join the team and help us change more lives, just like Gaetan’s.


Don Schoendorfer