Thank you! As Founder and President of Free Wheelchair Mission, I have had the pleasure of watching our Magic of Mobility event continue to grow over the last decade—but more importantly, I have had the privilege of partnering with each and every attendee and supporter to help provide mobility to people in need. This year, thanks to you, I am humbled and honored to let you know that 16,680 people are going to receive the wheelchair that many have waited their whole life for–870 more wheelchairs than last year. Truly, it was an incredible evening.
There were many memorable moments from our evening. We are grateful that wheelchair recipient Linh Nguyen and distribution partner Thao Thi Tran came all the way from Vietnam to share their story. It was heartening to meet Linh and hear about the impact a wheelchair had on her life. Especially touching was Linh speaking about her dream of turning her business into a place where other people with disabilities can come, learn a craft, and earn a living. As we return to our daily lives, it is my hope that you will share her story with others and know that thanks to your generosity new stories like Linh’s can soon be written.
I am also moved by your stories. You are raising awareness and wheelchairs for those waiting around the world. We watched the inspiring video featuring the children at Christ Lutheran Pre-school and how they did chores and opened their piggy banks to raise 34 chairs. And what an honor it was to recognize decorated veteran Col. Ben Pollard (Ret.) and his wife Joan, for their deep commitment to sharing the word about the need. His poignant reminder to us all that, “for the cost of a nice meal, you can provide mobility to someone in the developing world” is still fresh on my mind.
I was particularly pleased to share an update from our wheelchair analysts in the field who are striving to learn more about the impact of a wheelchair and how we can better serve recipients. When we say we provide the “transforming gift of mobility” we want to know every nuance of what transformation looks like in the lives of recipients.
I want to acknowledge our amazing event committee and volunteers, performance artist Stephen Fishwick, and the FWM staff for organizing a wonderful evening with a purpose.
On behalf of the more than 700,000 wheelchair recipients in 87 countries worldwide, as well as the 16,680 soon-to-be recipients, I want to extend my most sincere gratitude to all of you, our attendees, sponsors, and supporters, who made each and every one of those wheelchairs possible. Thank you.