Mobility Opens Doors

Odett is from Santa Cruz, Costa Rica. She was born with Cerebral Palsy, making it very difficult for her to move on her own. Unlike many people with disabilities in the developing world, Odett did have access to a borrowed wheelchair, but that wheelchair was very old and not very useful.

FS_090216_Odett.3jpgOdett recently received a new wheelchair from Free Wheelchair Mission, and the impact on her life has been dramatic. She has been taking classes at a local school. She is involved with the community. Her new wheelchair is allowing her to enjoy an active lifestyle!

Odett said that she would like to take a course in human relationships next, because she likes to help other people. She wants to get a job in customer service for people with disabilities so she can help more people with disabilities. In fact, Odett said she’s going to work hard to do “whatever it takes” to help people. What a powerful statement!

Your generosity and your commitment to provide Odett with the gift of mobility will have far-reaching effects. She has a husband, two daughters, two grandsons, and a father – all of whom live in the same home. They are already blessed by this gift. And as Odett continues her studies and begins to work with others, that blessing will be multiplied.

Thank you for transforming lives like Odett’s and so many others in Costa Rica with the priceless gift of mobility. Have a wonderful holiday weekend!


Don Schoendorfer

“Share This Brew” Mobilizes Thousands

This summer, a most unusual partnership provided the gift of mobility to more than 600 people in the Philippines.

The Bruery, a local business based here in Orange County, California, donated a portion of the proceeds from the first of its special “Share This™” brews to Free Wheelchair Mission’s efforts in the Philippines. “Share This: Coffee” is an imperial stout (beer) specially treated with coffee beans sourced from the Philippines.

FridayStory_082516 (002)The “Share This” brews are a special series featuring exotic ingredients from around the world. Patrick Rue, CEO and founder of The Bruery, explained the rationale for donating the proceeds from this particular special brew to Free Wheelchair Mission. He said, “When we looked into the amazing ingredients we’d want to use…it became apparent they generally came from impoverished areas of the world.”

As a result, Rue and The Bruery wanted to ensure “that we share with those who could use our help.”

Remarkably, the sales of “Share This: Coffee” raised $50,000 for Free Wheelchair Mission in less than eight weeks this summer – enough to provide the gift of mobility to more than 600 people in the Philippines!

FWM Development Officer Georgia Price said, “Our partnership for The Bruery is truly one of the best we could ask for. When FWM gives a wheelchair, our recipients’ dignity, independence and hope are restored. This is a transforming gift — not only do their caretakers and family get to go back out into their communities, but our recipients also get a chance to go out and work again, they are able and free to socialize out in the marketplace again, and in some societies they are seen again as a functional member.”

We are immensely grateful to Patrick Rue and The Bruery for their compassion and creativity. Their “Share This” brew is transforming lives with the gift of mobility.


Don Schoendorfer


Freedom from Depression

Inocente is 60 years old and has dedicated his whole life to working in agriculture. Sadly, he has not been able to work for the past year. Swollen feet, hypertension, and two tumors in his abdomen have left him unable to move.

Inocente’s children have taken turns caring for him; for the last year they shared the cost of his food, medicines, and other expenses because Inocente had no income of his own. The pain, the swelling, and his inability to move caused him to become depressed. Recently, Inocente has spent most of his day lying down.

FridayStory_081916Neither Inocente nor his family could afford a wheelchair, but he received the gift of mobility and a GEN_2 wheelchair thanks to your generosity. Immediately after receiving his wheelchair, Inocente was taken around the outside of his home so he could see for himself that everything was ok. He was productive and responsible once again!

Inocente’s illness has not changed, but the wheelchair has completely changed his quality of life. His depression has been relieved, and he is motivated him to keep on living.

Inocente sent these words to you, the donor: “Many thanks for the donation of a wheelchair. It’s been a year since my feet got so swollen due to the stomach tumors; I couldn’t walk anymore and spent the day lying down. Thanks to you, I now have a wheelchair that allows me to move around and enables my family to take me to the Health Center for the treatment indicated by my doctor.”

My thanks to you as well, for transforming Inocente’s life with the gift of mobility!


Don Schoendorfer

Hope and Transformation

Mrs. Tria has known great tragedy and major adversity in her 88 years. She lives with her son and his family in central Vietnam, because her husband died in the war in 1968 and she never remarried. Three years ago, at the age of 85, her feet became curved and her joints became stuck, making it impossible for her to stand or walk.

Her son built a “skateboard” – basically a wooden board with four small wheels – so that Mrs. Tria could slide herself around the house. For the last three years, this simple board was the only way that she could move about her house because her son and his family go to work every day.

Despite her disability and old age, Mrs. Tria has a sound mind. But she felt hopeless and needed help. Everything changed when Tria received her first wheelchair, a GEN_2 wheelchair from Free Wheelchair Mission delivered by our distribution partner, Giving It Back to Kids.

FridayStory_090516Her family and neighbors were very happy for her, but Tria initially struggled to propel herself in the wheelchair. When she first sat in the wheelchair, Mrs. Tria tried to move on her own but she hit the wall several times because one of her arms is weaker than the other.

A lifetime of challenges has taught Mrs. Tria to persevere, and she refused to give up. She learned how to propel the wheelchair by herself, and now she is able to use it visit her neighbors and relatives. As you can see, she loves moving!

Mrs. Tria said, “I can’t say in words, but I’m very grateful for your giving me the wheelchair. I spent three years on the skateboard and now everything is easier.”

Thank you for your generosity! Your donation is providing the transforming gift of mobility to Mrs. Tria and other people like her all around the world.


Don Schoendorfer

P.S. In case you haven’t heard, last week’s Miracle of Mobility event raised more than $1.5 million – enough to transform the lives of more than 19,000 people!

Regaining Mobility

As an orphan, Francine never really had anyone to care for her properly. An illness in the 6th grade resulted in her losing strength in both her legs. After a six-month stay in the hospital, Francine moved to a center for people with disabilities. There she received a brace for her left leg, but both her legs were so weak she still couldn’t stand.Francine2

In 2012, Francine moved in with a host family, where she still lives. At 28 years old, Francine received her own GEN_2 wheelchair from our distribution partner, Food for the Hungry, and she regained her mobility!

In her words, “The wheelchair is very useful to me because it allows me to move myself around without demanding support from my hosting family. I will visit places around this home, talk to neighbors to break my isolation and loneliness. I will be able to take myself to the health center. As I did not have a wheelchair, I used to borrow from someone who lives one kilometer away from here whenever I had an urgent place to go. Please tell the donor that I am very grateful.”

Free Wheelchair Mission echoes the same gratitude to you, our supporters. Thank you for bringing dignity back to Francine and so many others, as you give the gift of mobility!


Don Schoendorfer

P.S. We have less than a week until Miracle of Mobility, we look forward to seeing you there!

Mobility in Many Ways

At Free Wheelchair Mission, our mission is to provide the transforming gift of mobility to people with disabilities in developing nations as motivated by Jesus Christ. As our name suggests, the transforming gift most often comes in the shape of a wheelchair, but did you know we also provide mobility through other means?

Every year FWM ships a few containers filled with medical supplies. This is a critical part of our mission because some people need mobility assistance other than a wheelchair. For some, a surgery can prevent or reduce the severity of a disability and sometimes prevent the need for a wheelchair entirely. Our distribution partners are often involved in a variety of efforts to tackle disability issues in their countries, and our assistance with medical supplies can help them forge key partnerships to better serve a wider population of people with disabilities.

FridayStory_071516In Vietnam, Nhung was a single mom raising twins in a one-room home in Gia Lai province. Then she broke her leg in an accident and it healed incorrectly. Every movement caused pain, and as she compensated for the pain by adjusting the way she walked, the injury became worse. Our distribution partner, Giving It Back To Kids (GIBTK), helped arrange for Nhung to have surgery at Da Nang Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Hospital, and surgeons performed the operation using the supplies we sent.

After the surgery and a week of therapy relearning how to walk correctly, Nhung was discharged from the hospital at the end of March. Her mobility has been restored, and she is now home caring for her children.

Nhung was overjoyed as she said, “I am so blessed to get my surgery done successfully. I would like to send my sincerest thankfulness to the doctors, FWM and GIBTK for changing my life!”

Thank you for your support that transforms the lives of people with disabilities through the gift of mobility both through wheelchairs and medical supplies!

Don Schoendorfer

P.S. Miracle of Mobility is less than two weeks away—we hope you’ll join us!

A Mother and Son’s Joy

With all the turmoil and distress in the world, it can be easy to miss the stories of lives being changed for the better. These reports don’t make the international news, but they are happening every day as our distribution partners work around the globe providing the gift of mobility.

In Peru, our partner Camino de Vida (CDV) met Christian. For nine years, his mother carried him on her back, and she was exhausted. She had lost hope that she would be able to continue providing for him as he got older. When she heard a church was going to be distributing wheelchairs in her small community, she filled out an application. She explained her son was a lively young boy with a zeal for life, but since birth he been unable to move on his own. She could manage when he was baby, but the stronger and more energetic he became, the bigger the challenge it had become to take him out of the house. FridayStory_070816

CDV let Christian’s mother know they had a wheelchair specifically for him. When the distribution day arrived, Christian and his mom were the first two to arrive. Finally, Christian was going to be able to move around and explore the world on his own!

Christian’s eyes lit up when he sat in his wheelchair for the first time. The level of attention and detail the CDV staff provided ensured Christian’s wheelchair was the best possible fit and was adjusted for his specific needs. His mom watched as the church took time to work with and care for Christian and his needs. The church showed the love of Christ to her and to Christian by meeting a physical need. Then they prayed over Christian and his mom and showed them that God cares so deeply for them both and that this wheelchair is a representation of his love and provision.

And Christian’s story is one of thousands made possible by your generous support—thank you for being part of life transformations!


Don Schoendorfer

P.S. Miracle of Mobility is almost here! There is still time to join us.