Imagine you're a growing child with a physical disability that prevents you from walking. Your wheelchair is too small. And there is no money to buy a new one.
It's that harsh reality that motivated Madeline Robinson to create Wheelchairs 4 Kids
, a nonprofit entity dedicated to providing low-income families with disabled children with equipment such as wheelchairs, ramps, expanded doors and other vital accommodations.
"We've come across kids who couldn't join their friends on outings or parents who struggled to transfer their growing children into their beds or a bathtub," says Robinson. "We've had a little girl who could not get upstairs in her home, another that could not get her wheelchair through the bathroom door. Once I started delving into it, the myriad of challenges that came to my attention were astonishing. These families deserve more."
Robinson says Wheelchairs 4 Kids depends heavily on donations to achieve its goals. "Some of it is gently used and refurbished," says Robinson. "Most is new because most of the children have special requirements. The fit is most important. We try to get chairs that 'grow' with the children. Manufacturers and distributors give us discounts, but we try to get organizations and businesses to sponsor specific children in their area. We also do special events to raise funds."
Children who qualify for help through Wheelchairs 4 Kids are referred by health professionals and have been declined by insurance providers and/or Medicaid.
Robinson says requests for help continue to flow into her office. "Right now, we're all volunteers working out of our homes. We need an office, which would enable us to do so much more. I'd like to expand our programs. We'd love to be able to install roll-in showers, to build a few accessible playgrounds and have fun outings for our kids with activities geared for kids with physical disabilities."
Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Madeline Robinson, Wheelchairs 4 Kids