More Thankful Than Words Can Say

Alejandro has not spoken for more than 20 years. He has not been able to walk for his entire life. He is now 50 years old and lives with his mother, Fortunata, in a remote Peruvian village.

Alejandro’s father died when he was just a little boy. He never went to school. His mother remembers, with tears, that she did not want to carry Alejandro to school because she was afraid of being mocked.

Still, Fortunata says that she was never ashamed of her son and has always loved him deeply. She says that Alejandro is her perfect gift in spite of his disability! He does his best to help Fortunata in the fields, cultivating the land and caring for animals. Sometimes Alejandro stays at home to do the cooking. But in order to go anywhere or do anything, he has had to crawl on the ground.


Alejandro’s mother is a strong woman, and she has done her best to see that Alejandro could live a happy life. It is extremely difficult for her to communicate with him because he does not speak, but she continues to love him and patiently care for him.

When Alejandro received his wheelchair, the smile on his face communicated more than words ever could. He had never had a wheelchair before, but he immediately knew he would no longer have to crawl in the dirt thanks to this wonderful gift. Fortunata cried tears of joy, and expressed her heartfelt thanks for this long-awaited gift of mobility.


Thank you for providing this great gift to Alejandro. After 50 years of immobility, you have transformed his life!


Don Schoendorfer


A Shy Smile From Swaziland

Whether you enjoy shopping on the day after Thanksgiving or not, I want you to know that you have already given the gift of a new life to one very special woman in Swaziland.

Chamkile is 27 years old, and she was born with a disability that deformed her legs, making it impossible for her to walk. For most of her life, she has crawled on her hands and knees, using sandals on her hands to protect them from the rough and dirty ground in her neighborhood. Because of her disability and her lack of mobility, Chamkile was never able to go to school.

About 10 years ago, both of Chamkile’s parents passed away. For the last decade, she has lived with her elderly grandmother. Chamkile has six siblings, but most of them live far away. Her life has been painful, lonely, and extremely difficult. She has even endured abuse and assault of the worst kind from a local gang.

When Chamile’s sister-in-law heard that a mobile hospital would be distributing free wheelchairs in their community, she said, “I knew I must get Chamkile here to get one.”

When Chamkile’s wheelchair was assembled, her brother and his wife helped her into it. With a shy smile, Chamkile said, “Thank you. I am happy to see this chair.”

Thanks to your generosity, Chamkile can now enjoy the freedom to move around her neighborhood, making daily life much easier for her and her grandmother. That local gang no longer torments her, and she is truly living a new life. What an incredible gift!


Don  Schoendorfer

P.S. You have certainly heard of “Black Friday,” and you may also be familiar with “Cyber Monday” – but have you celebrated “Giving Tuesday?” I’ll tell you how you can get involved next week.

Like Living In A New World

Life in Zambia has not been easy for Joseph. Although he is just 16 years old, he said, “There used to be times when I felt like giving up on life.”

s160647-1: A donated wheelchair rejuvenates Joseph’s hopes to complete school
When Joseph started school, his friends had to carry him on their backs. When his friends were not available, Joseph used to crawl so he wouldn’t miss a lesson.
Remembering those days, Joseph said, “I could not take it anymore. Seeing my friends playing, going to school and doing things on their own used to make me sad because I couldn’t walk or do things on my own.”

Two years ago, in 2014, Joseph was excited to receive a used wheelchair from a nearby church. While it helped him get around, the wheelchair was not in good shape. As time passed, the condition of the wheelchair continued to deteriorate and Joseph was eventually unable to use it.

“The moment I thought my help had come through was the moment it went away because the wheelchair started giving me problems,” he explained.

With no reliable way to get to school, Joseph started missing lessons and began losing interest in school. But his life was transformed when he received a new wheelchair through Free Wheelchair Mission’s partnership with World Vision.

s160647-1: A donated wheelchair rejuvenates Joseph’s hopes to complete school
Thanks to that new wheelchair, Joseph said, “I now feel like I am in a new world. Everything has changed and all the challenges I used to go through are now a thing of a past. This wheelchair is now my new pair of legs which can take me anywhere I want to go.”

When he completes his education, Joseph wants to become a doctor so he can bring hope to other vulnerable children in his community. “I am very grateful,” he said with a smile. “I shall forever be grateful.”

What a transformation! Thank you for your generosity and your commitment to providing the gift of mobility to people like Joseph.


Don Schoendorfer

P.S. Don’t forget, you can share the message of hope and transformation with your friends and loved ones this Christmas by ordering holiday greeting cards from Free Wheelchair Mission.

Freedom From Isolation and Danger

For many years, Svetlana worked on a collective farm in a small village in the Chernigov region of Ukraine. This was very challenging because she was often in poor health but didn’t have time to take care of herself. For 15 years, the only thing that kept her going was her dream of retirement. She longed to spend time with her grandchildren and have a small farm of her own. In Svetlana’s words, “Life is so unpredictable.”

When she was finally able to retire, Svetlana’s health worsened and she needed help with even the simplest household tasks. Her husband lovingly cared for her, but sadly, he died not long after Svetlana’s retirement. His death was too much for Svetlana to handle, and she suffered a stroke, which left her bedridden.

Since her children were working and unable to stay with her during the day, Svetlana just laid in bed all day, desperate to get outside of her house. Her children would sometimes take her outside, but she still never felt free. After the war broke out in eastern Ukraine, things only got worse for Svetlana. Not only was she trapped in bed, but she was also in danger.svetlana_crop

Everything changed for Svetlana the day she received a GEN_1 wheelchair. She was finally able to move around the house, go outside, and enjoy her newfound independence! At first, she was nervous about using the wheelchair, but when the wheelchair distribution team returned to check on her just one week later, she greeted them joyfully and said, “I think I’m ready to pass my driving test.”

Today, Svetlana is like a completely different person. Her newly regained freedom has inspired her to take better care of herself and improve her health! She is so thankful for her wheelchair, which she calls a wonderful gift.

Thank you for making this transformation possible. Remember, you can share how the gift of mobility is transforming lives like Svetlana’s by purchasing holiday greeting cards from Free Wheelchair Mission this Christmas. They are a great way to introduce your friends and family to this important work. You can order yours today!


Don Schoendorfer

Keyler Goes To Kindergarten

Keyler is six years old and lives in Nicaragua’s capital city of Managua.
Keyler’s life has been filled with tragedy and hardship, even before birth. He had a twin brother who died in utero, and Keyler was born with Cerebral Palsy. His parents cannot afford quality medical care, and they understand very little about his condition. Keyler’s mother sadly said, “The only thing I’ve known and have been told is that he will never walk.”
For most of his life, Keyler has been unable to leave the house where he lives with his mother, his father, and his grandmother. He could not go to church or to school – even though the nearest school is just a quarter-mile from his home. Until recently, the only way for Keyler to go anywhere was to be pushed in a baby stroller. Just imagine what that must have felt like for a six-year-old boy.
Earlier this year, Keyler’s mother heard of a local pastor who was distributing wheelchairs to people in need. She was hesitant but decided to ask for a wheelchair. She said, “At first, I was embarrassed to ask for help, but my son’s need is bigger than my embarrassment.”

Now, Keyler has a wheelchair, and it has given him hope for the future. With his new wheelchair, Keyler is able to attend kindergarten. The gift of mobility has provided him with the gift of an education.
Keyler’s mother expressed her heartfelt gratitude on behalf of her son and their entire family: “I’d like to thank God and everyone for giving my son a wheelchair. It is a gift from heaven.”
This Christmas, will you help share how the gift of mobility is transforming lives like Keyler’s? Our 2016 Christmas greeting cards are a great way to introduce your friends and family to the important work of Free Wheelchair Mission. Please order your cards today.


Don Schoendorfer

Correcting Chuc’s Clubfoot

Every Friday, I share stories of individuals who have received the transforming gift of mobility thanks to your generous support of Free Wheelchair Mission. Most of those people receive a wheelchair, allowing them to leave their homes, visit friends and family members, and re-connect with their neighbors.
But what happens when we meet someone who does not need a wheelchair, but instead needs help to be able to walk? What can we do for them?
Because our mission is “to provide the transforming gift of mobility to people with disabilities in developing nations as motivated by Jesus Christ,” we give people more than free wheelchairs. In some cases, we offer crutches or walkers to people who do not need wheelchairs but still require assistance for mobility. In some extreme cases, we also provide aid that will prevent, or reduce the severity of, a disability through surgery or rehabilitation.

A small but significant portion of our work at Free Wheelchair Mission falls into one of those categories, allowing us to assist people like one-year-old Chuc.

Chuc lives in Vietnam. She was born with clubfoot, a common disability in developing nations that causes one or both of the feet to twist out of position. Chuc’s family is one of the poorest in their village, and they could not afford surgery to correct her disability. In fact, Chuc’s parents had no plans to treat her clubfoot until they learned that the condition would not correct itself.
Thanks to your generosity, Chuc underwent two corrective surgeries at no cost! For the next three months, she will wear special boots to prevent her feet from returning to their previous position. Soon she will remove those boots, and one day she could walk – even run – normally like her five older siblings.


Chuc is already more joyful, and her parents are extremely happy that their daughter’s feet are in the correct position. Thank you for providing the transforming gift of mobility to people like Chuc, without a wheelchair!


Don Schoendorfer

Mobility Transforming Generations

Issac is 82 years old. His granddaughter, Gabby, is 29 years old. They live two blocks apart from each other in Mexico City, Mexico.isaacandgabby2

Isaac worked as a cab driver for 50 years. Now, because of severe hip and back pain, he cannot walk. Gabby suffers from diabetes and kidney failure. Before our team arrived, Gabby told representatives from the National System for Integral Family Development that she did not want medical treatment. She just wanted to die.

Earlier this month, Isaac received a GEN_2 wheelchair. He was delighted to receive the wheelchair, but it did not fit him properly. The frame was too small. Being a thoughtful and caring man – and a father of 14 children – Isaac asked the distribution team if they would give the wheelchair to his granddaughter instead.

When Gabby received the wheelchair, her outlook was immediately transformed. She said, “Maybe there is a reason for my pain.” The wheelchair has allowed Gabby to help her father in the family store. It has also given her new hope to live. She has promised to start receiving treatment for her diabetes.

Thankfully, the story does not end there. The very next day, our team delivered a larger wheelchair to Isaac – and it fit him perfectly.

Isaac, his wife, Adelberta, and Gabby want you to know how grateful they are for your kindness and generosity. All of their lives have been transformed because of your gift.

We have 10 days left of our “Times Two” Gift Challenge. From now through October 31st, every dollar that you give will be multiplied by two. Will you consider making a donation today to help others like Isaac and Gabby?


Don Schoendorfer