As many of you know, Thursday was our annual Miracle of Mobility event. As Founder and President of Free Wheelchair Mission, I have had the pleasure of watching this event grow over the last 12 years. This year, thanks to you, I am humbled and honored to share that we far exceeded our original goal of 14,702 wheelchairs. Through your generosity, we raised $1,623,030.80 which equates to 20,832 lives transformed. What an incredible accomplishment!
There were many memorable moments from our evening from the Harvest Praise Ensemble to the Beach Pointe Singers duet. But the one that stands out to me is the inspiring message from Nick Vujicic who brought the house to tears with his personal story of meeting people with disabilities in the developing world.
I was so pleased with the acknowledgement of our ambassadors; specifically Kevin Ely, whose goal is to run a marathon in all 50 states. So far he’s completed 38 states to raise money to fund a full container for 550 people who need wheelchairs. In less than a year, he’s raised over $31,000! Amazing! Kevin is not alone, there are many of you out there right now who are raising awareness about FWM and are providing mobility around the world with your efforts – THANK YOU!
I want to acknowledge our incredible event strategy team and volunteers, our motivational speaker Nick Vujicic, our dear friend Janice Munemitsu for the invocation and the FWM staff for organizing such a wonderful and purposeful evening.
On behalf of more than 860,000 wheelchair recipients worldwide, as well as 20,832 soon-to-be recipients as a result of last night’s event, I want to extend my most sincere appreciation to all of you, our attendees, sponsors and supporters who made each and every one of these newly transformed lives possible.
Happy Thursday! 2,750 wheelchairs arrived this week! 1,100 in Haiti, 550 in China, 550 in Nicaragua and 550 in Honduras.
Disability Stats for Haiti:
- 10% of the population lives with disability
- Out of the disabled population, an estimated 400,000 are under the age of 18
- Since 2005, we have sent 11,550 wheelchairs to Haiti
- This is the first container we have shipped to Haiti since 2012
Greetings , and Happy Friday!
I want to share with you a story of two sisters from Cameroon. Their lives and the lives of their family who supported them changed dramatically when they each received their very own wheelchair. But more than that, their understanding of God and their love for Him changed because of the simple gift of mobility.
Both born paraplegic, sisters Nelly and Elsy had to be carried everywhere they went. Their family valued education so much, that despite the challenges, their mother and one of their older brothers would carry them to school each day. Elsy said that in the past, she would cry when she saw her friends walking because she wanted to be able to play with them.
They only dreamed of having a wheelchair—they never thought they would receive one of their very own, but they did. Each of them were given a GEN_2 wheelchair! Now they attend school and spend time with friends, but when asked where they wanted to go first – they said “church”! “Having this chair has changed my idea of God. Now I know that He is great and provides always.”
Thank you for providing the gift of mobility to individuals just like Nelly and Elsy! I love that the simple gift of a wheelchair provided them with the beautiful and clear understanding of God’s provision and love!
550 wheelchairs arrived in Uganda this week!
Disability Stats in Uaganda
- An estimated 16% of individuals are living with a disability
- This is the first container to arrive in Uganda for 2015
- Since our first container shipped to Uganda in 2004, we have shipped 14,860 wheelchairs
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.
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.
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.