Whirlwind RoughRider Fund - I was just informed about their soon to come project in Indonesia! I will blog more about it as I get more information :) This company helps people in developing countries SO much, and I'm proud to be able to share the news! Anyway, I wrote a lot about a wheelchair model that I found online the other day after taking my faulty standard manual chair to the park; I was feeling A LOT of frustration about its limitations. I was looking for an off-road wheelchair with mountain bike type tires, and I happened upon a website talking about an AMAZING wheelchair called the Whirlwind 'RoughRider.' After watching one of the videos about where this chair can take someone who needs wheels, I was completely amazed and wrote to the company's representatives that very night. Their site said something about looking for U.S. residents to be used in a U.S. trial for this wonderfully designed wheelchair. I didn't quite know what they meant, but I knew that I'd love to have a RoughRider, so I inquired. I received an almost immediate responses to my inquiries, and was asked if I would be willing to speak to a representative on the phone the next evening. I agreed, and the very next evening I got a call from the nicest representative, a new intern with the company. Before I continue, you need to see the RoughRider in action. If you've ever used a wheelchair, you'll appreciate how incredible this is!
and HERE is another video (sorry, I couldn't figure out how to embed this one) that compares the RoughRider to a standard manual. Boy, can I relate to poor guy in the standard chair :(
I can see how those wide, semi-flexible front casters make a major difference, as I have gotten stuck at the tiniest little curb. I would love to be able to roll just about anywhere like these people are doing - it would give me so much of my life back! I learned from the phone call that this organization is non-profit, and that they are just now beginning to offer their thoughtfully designed wheelchair in the U.S. for the price of $800. This $800 (which is an amazing price even for just one of these chairs) would actually buy two chairs - one for the U.S. customer and one to be donated to someone in need in a developing country. They are very much in need in countries where concrete is scarce, and rolling across dirt, potholes, and tree roots would be an everyday occurrence. Many people in developing countries that have mobility issues are bedridden almost all of the time, and have to drag themselves across the dirt or be carried in order to go anywhere. Just imagine how much a chair like this could change a person's life for the better! It's mind boggling! For wheelchair users in the U.S., these chairs offer so much more freedom than standard chairs, allowing users to go where no wheelchair has ever been able to go before. It makes hiking off road possible again, as well as beach trekking, just all kinds of new possibilities are opened up.
I like it because it could allow me to do more rugged outdoor activities again - these are the kinds of activities the Walters household so enjoys, and I've been held back from being able to participate. Even my new chair, while it will allow me a lot more independence (I can take it in a vehicle alone because it is so lightweight) can't come close to offering me all of this. So, I told the representative that I would definitely be willing to post about their organization and product. I do not have the money needed to purchase one, but she said that they would be willing to help me get the word out regarding any fundraising efforts I might start.
I would SO benefit from having a RoughRider of my own - I don't want to miss out on trekking the local corn maze this year, and I hate being sidelined from family style outings that go off road. I also love the fact that my purchasing one would allow someone who is in great need to receive one free, as a life changing gift that would give freedom that s/he may have never known, or has been missing for a long time. I want to help in making that happen! I will want to donate to this organization even if I never receive a RoughRider myself (but I can't help but hope that I do *smile). I've created a paypal donation link - I thank anyone who donates in advance millions of times over, and so does the Whirlwind organization I am sure! They aren't out there for profit, as they must only break even. They just want to help people to enjoy their lives more fully.