International Wheelchair Foundation distributes wheelchairs in San Pedro Town
Saturday, December 10th, 2016
22 residents of San Pedro Town were the recipients of a humanitarian donation by the International Wheelchair Foundation. On Tuesday, December 6th members of the Foundation and the Belize Red Cross, along with members of the local authorities, handed over 22 wheelchairs in an emotional and inspiring ceremony held at the San Pedro Lions Den.
This is the third time the US-based Wheelchair Foundation has made such an important donation to Belizeans in need. This year, they brought a total of 260 wheelchairs to distribute countrywide. 25 of those were destined to San Pedro Town and Caye Caulker Village. The highest demand for wheelchairs came from San Pedro (22), while Caye Caulker was the recipient of three wheelchairs delivered on Monday, December 5th.
During the ceremony at the Lions Den, Glenn Perry, volunteer at the Wheelchair Foundation spoke to a grateful audience about the Foundation’s mission to helping people around the world. He shared with them his first experience when he came to Belize. He met a lady on the mainland who had been praying for a wheelchair, he decided to task himself with doing just that. “It is very important not to lose hope,” he said. “These chairs will once again provide that needed mobility. Remember that you are not alone; we are here to help you, and when you need us we will be there.”
Speaking on behalf of all the residents was Mayor Daniel Guerrero, who thanked the Foundation for their generosity and the local Red Cross Branch for identifying the deserving recipients. He emphasized on the importance of the donation, which will benefit residents with disabilities. “We know how important is to be independent , especially when we talk about moving from point A to B. Thanks to this generous donation, those in need will now have a more reliable way of moving around and continue enjoying a normal life.” Guerrero added that the Town Council has started planning a community program which will reach out to residents on the island that are in great need. Guerrero also presented a few tokens of appreciation to members of the Wheelchair Foundation on behalf of the Town.
Before the ceremony wrapped up, Frank Panton, a well-known and active resident on the island shared a few words with the attendees. Panton has been battling cancer, and is now confined to a wheelchair. In a moving speech, he shared how he never imagined himself ending up in a wheelchair. However, he encouraged those who think it is the end to stay positive. “Being dependent on a wheelchair may isolate you, sometimes from everyone and everything,” he said. “However, we should not give up. These wheelchairs are now our means of movement, independence, we can function again, and we can lighten the burden on our relatives, so let’s stay focused and give thanks for what we have.”
At the end of the ceremony, the few persons that were able to attend the event received their wheelchairs. The families were happy for the assistance, and on their behalf the Belize Red Cross Local Branch thanked the Foundation for their priceless contribution to the local community. Those who were unable to attend will have their wheelchairs delivered by members of the Belize Red Cross Local Branch.
The Wheelchair Foundation raises money and distributes free wheelchairs around the world.
Up to date, the Foundation has distributed over 1 million wheelchairs throughout the world. The non-profit organization leads an international effort, creating awareness of the needs and abilities of people with physical disabilities. Through their work, they hope to promote the joy of giving, create global friendships, and most importantly to deliver a wheelchair to every person who is in need and cannot afford it.
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