Each time our children find “buried treasure”, we will place it up for auction. From each auction our children will take an amount of money and use it to buy a wheelchair for someone they do not know. As they grow older, they will come to know that “to whom much is given, much is expected” and will realize that the gifts they have been given are meant to be distributed to those who have little. This might seem simplistic, but this knowledge will be a seed which will grow with them. We invite you to bid on their treasure as a way to help them provide wheelchairs to the needy.
The Story Behind the Chair (from their website)
Years ago, Don and Laurie Schoendorfer were vacationing in Morocco when they witnessed the plight of a disabled woman struggling to drag herself across a dirt road. Ignored by the crowds and barely evading traffic, the woman’s hardship was a scene the couple would be unable to forget upon their return to life in southern California.
A mechanical engineer and inventor by trade, Don was a Columbia University graduate with a Ph.D. from MIT, working in the biomedical field and responsible for a string of over 50 U.S. patents. After his experience in Morocco, Don began researching the global dilemma of disability in developing countries; soon thereafter, he started tinkering in the basement, developed a durable, safe, inexpensive wheelchair, and eventually walked away from a successful career to found the nonprofit organization Free Wheelchair Mission.
In developing the wheelchair, Don’s goal was to come up with a basic design at an extremely low cost so as to reach the highest number of disabled impoverished people in the shortest possible amount of time. Rather than starting with custom-made components, Don put together a wheelchair using elements already in existence, ingredients currently in manufacture, and parts already being produced, all preferably in high volume – by using this approach, he was able to generate an extraordinarily low cost in gathering wheelchair components.
Especially designed for use in the rugged terrain of rural and under-resourced areas, the FWM wheelchair combines the durability of a resin lawn chair with the strength of a custom steel frame, all tucked into a sturdy pair of mountain bike tires. A recent academic study has shown the wheelchair to be safe and beneficial to users, providing not just mobility, but improved health and quality of life. Click here for more information on study results.
Each FWM wheelchair costs just $59.20 to manufacture and deliver to some of the most remote corners of the globe, and is provided at absolutely no cost to the recipient. The FWM wheelchair is manufactured in China for maximum economy, packed in bulk in 40’ ocean-going containers, and shipped directly to the designated receiving country for highest efficiency.
Click HERE for more information.