by Anne Donofrio-Holter
The Arcadia Rotary Club, along with the Tijuana Rotary Club, donated 19 wheelchairs to provide mobility to individuals that have been confined to their bed or a stationary chair due to illness or accident.
“This joint project between the two clubs was the perfect display of what Rotary is all about,” said Arcadia Rotarian Dick Martinez. “The Tijuana club did an outstanding job organizing the event and selecting the recipients.”
Rotary District 5300 donated 14 of the chairs with the Arcadia club contributing five.
“When I became president of the Arcadia club, I made our mantra “We Can Make a Difference,” said Eric Barter. “I am so proud that our wheelchair contribution has found such needy recipients and can make a difference in each of their lives.”
According to Martinez, 11 chairs went to individuals who had lost both legs, had partial amputations or restricted movement due to arthritis or personal injury. Four chairs were donated to individuals who had suffered spinal injuries, three chairs were given to women who were seriously injured in an automobile accident and one chair was given to an 11-year-old boy unable to walk since birth.
“One of the chairs was given to a man named Jorge, who spoke five languages, was an attorney and business owner but lost it all when he lost his legs to diabetes,” said Martinez. “Another was given to a 16-year-old man who was recently paralyzed from an automobile accident. He received a chair ahead of time and a charity group in San Diego arranged for customized cushioning that will allow him to maneuver around. He has also started a foundation to help others with spinal injuries.”
“The gratitude expressed by the recipients, their caregivers and families was overwhelming,” said Arcadia Rotarian Tom Crosby, who attended the wheelchair distribution. “It was very emotional with many tears shed.”
“To see the response, makes our drive to help those in need even greater,” said Barter. “Arcadia Rotary has at least 20 more wheelchairs to deliver this year and help change more lives.”
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