For the past ten years, NuView IRA, along with immense help from our friends, has been raising funds for Chair the Love – a Florida based 501(c)3 whose mission is to provide wheelchairs and mobility related items and services to those in need locally and abroad. Through discharge nurses at local hospitals, supporting paralyzed vets, and utilizing Non-Governmental Organizations in Central and South America, our employees and clients have made a tremendous difference in thousands of lives.
Most recently, we traveled to Guayaquil, Ecuador, and distributed an entire container of 280 chairs to those in need. Over one hundred shiny red wheelchairs were lined up in a small building on the outskirts of the town. Outside, there was a tent with row upon row of folding chairs, with a large speaker system set up playing music not familiar to most Western ears. Rotarians from the local club scurried about, welcoming a busload of visitors, led by Brad and Jen Sumrok from Dallas, Texas.
The Sumroks have been Chair the Love supporters from the first time they were introduced to the charity, just a few short years ago. They became so enthralled by the idea of serving, that they even introduced Chair the Love to Brad’s Apartment Investor Mastery students – many of whom jumped at the chance to be part of such a rewarding venture. Through the generosity of Brad and Jen’s matching funds, they raised the $42,000 needed to custom order a full container load of chairs from the factory. With the logistical assistance of the Wheelchair Foundation, it was determined that a great need existed in the second largest city of Ecuador.
As we stood in the tent, we watched as bus after bus started to arrive, carrying our soon-to-be wheelchair recipients. One by one, children were carried off by a relative and placed on the folding chairs under the tent. Then followed the elderly, along with a few young men and women with various types of leg or foot disabilities. It was remarkable – they were all smiling and dressed in their finest clothes. Following a few welcoming words from the Rotarians and local officials, the distribution began.
One after another, each recipient’s name was called along with the assigned size of the wheelchair needed. Brad’s team sprung into action, wheeling the chair to its new owner, often carrying the disabled and placing them into their first ever real wheelchair. Then the tears started, as the Ecuadorian families could not believe that someone cared enough for them to change their lives by giving them the gift of mobility. While there were many interpreters available, all of the hugs and kisses bridged all language barriers. The wheelchairs now represented freedom – not only for the individual user, but also for their families as well. Trips to the store, church, school and even work were now possible, without the indignity of having to be carried.
It’s amazing to think that so many lives have been changed for only $150 – the exact price of providing a single wheelchair to someone in need. Each year we do more and more, as our friends, coworkers and family get to experience the joy of giving the gift of mobility through Chair the Love. This year alone, we have three foreign destinations for distributions along with our local wheelchair deliveries. To learn how you can be part of this amazing mission, visit us at www.chairthelove.org. I hope you can join us on our next adventure!