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Free Wheelchair Mission to Distribute 4,400 Wheelchairs to China Earthquake Victims
Date:5/30/2008

IRVINE, Calif., May 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The world was stunned by the news of the 7.9 earthquake in China which left nearly 70,000 dead and thousands more injured and homeless. In response to this enormous tragedy, the Irvine, CA-based Free Wheelchair Mission (FWM), a non-profit organization dedicated to transforming lives by sharing the gift of mobility, is partnering with Holistic Integrated Service Foundation (HIS), a nonprofit in Fullerton, CA. Together with the Chinese Christian Herald Crusade and other donors from FWM and HIS, enough funds are now available to provide 4,400 wheelchairs. HIS will distribute these wheelchairs with the help of the Red Cross in the earthquake-ravaged Sichuan Province in China.

While conventional wheelchairs cost anywhere from $500 to $30,000, FWM developed a wheelchair with a white resin chair and mountain bike tires that costs just $48.35 to manufacture and deliver. More than 100 million disabled people around the world have no access to wheelchairs due to poverty and economic isolation. Denied the most basic means of mobility, some crawl on the ground, enduring dangerous and unsanitary conditions. Others spend their lives confined to a single room and depend on family members to meet their most basic needs.

FWM has distributed more than 330,000 of these durable, waterproof wheelchairs to people with disabilities in more than 75 poor and developing countries, free of charge. The goal of FWM is to provide 20 million wheelchairs worldwide. For more info visit http://www.freewheelchairmission.org.

FWM has taken their message on the road this spring with the FWM Mobility in Motion Tour. A brightly decorated truck, fully loaded with wheelchairs, has been traveling across America over the last few months to raise awareness and funds for the plight of people with disabilities. This weekend the Mobility in Motion Tour has events scheduled in Las Cruces, NM and will stop in Boise, ID on June 18-22. For more information on the Tour, and how to get involved, visit http://www.freewheelchairmission.org/mim.

"The need for wheelchairs in developing countries is still largely unrecognized in the U.S.," said Don Schoendorfer, FWM founder and recipient of the 2008 Congressional Medal of Honor Society's Above and Beyond Award. "You don't see people crawling on the ground here. But once we overcome their doubt, people want to help, especially when they realize that a $50 contribution can change someone's life forever."


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SOURCE Free Wheelchair Mission
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