Changing lives… four wheels at a time.
Unlike many other wheelchair donation programs and related charities, the Darrell Gwynn Foundation specializes in high-tech, customized wheelchairs. While standard manual wheelchairs are valued at approximately $350, the wheelchairs we provide are valued anywhere from $6,000 to $40,000 depending on the medical needs of the recipient. There is no other wheelchair donation program in the country that provides these highly customized wheelchairs at no cost to permanently disabled individuals. The higher-valued wheelchairs are equipped with tilt and recline systems, seat elevators, drive trains, high-tech seating systems, rugged tires and suspension systems, all designed to dramatically improve each recipient’s quality of life.
While the price tag on these wheelchairs may be high, the value they provide to our recipients is priceless. There is an extreme amount of complexity involved in the building and customizing of these chairs. There are specific, medical reasons as to why they are so important.
The Darrell Gwynn Foundation donates approximately 35-50 wheelchairs every year to deserving individuals. In order to apply for our program, recipients and their families must demonstrate a medical and financial need for the new wheelchair. The application process is free and our pre-application form can be found below.
For many of our recipients, the Darrell Gwynn Foundation is their last resort. They have tried nearly everything to obtain a desperately needed wheelchair for themselves or their child, but without success. They were denied by insurance companies or Medicare and simply do not have the resources available to provide for what their child needs without assistance. The individual is living in a broken or ill-fitting wheelchair and in some cases, they have no wheelchair at all.
It is critical that people with disabilities receive an appropriate wheelchair specified to their size and disability. A wheelchair that is not specific to an individual can actually cause more medical problems including pressure sores and reduced circulation, two of the leading killers of individuals living in wheelchairs.
For our young recipients, our wheelchairs enable a child to do things many of us take for granted such as going to school without an aide, keeping up with friends when they start to run, playing in a park with grass, or just being able to move around without having to ask for help. For our older recipients, our chairs enable them to become fully engaged with their community, be it going back to work, seeing their families more often, shopping on their own, or taking their dog for a walk. Not only are our wheelchair recipients impacted by the program, but the recipients’ families and friends often find themselves enjoying a much less stressful and more enjoyable life with the knowledge that their loved one is able to enjoy more independence in their lives.
Our Wheelchair Donation Program is exclusively for those individuals who do not have the resources to purchase a wheelchair and who have had their claims for a wheelchair denied by a health insurance provider. To read about some of the stories of our wheelchair recipients, please click here (Meet Past Recipients – 5). The majority of our requests for wheelchairs come from children, teenagers, and adults who are living in constant pain – every day of their life. The costs of wheelchairs covered by insurance companies often do not cover options such as motors, wheel-assist features, chair tilting, high-tech cushioning, etc. Many times, insurance will not cover the costs of even a basic chair replacement. Our program applicants are often in chairs that are over 10 years old, broken, not sized correctly, and in bad condition. As a result, the individuals who spend over 12 hours a day in their chairs develop scoliosis, pressure sores, torn rotator cuffs, and muscle spasms.
One of our recipients in 2011 was Christopher, a 12 year old boy diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome. Angelman Syndrome is a neuro-genetic disorder that occurs in 1 in 15,000 births and characteristics of AS include; developmental delay, lack of speech, seizures, and walking and balance disorders. Individuals with Angelman Syndrome require life-long care. Christopher’s father was unable to qualify for insurance assistance with his son.
Christopher needed a wheelchair to be able to function daily. Out of love and desperation, his father built a wheelchair for his son made out of a kitchen chair.
No one in America should be forced to live this way.
The Darrell Gwynn Foundation stepped up to the challenge and on April 8, 2011, Christopher was given a brand-new, customized wheelchair that was specifically designed to better his life with Angelman Syndrome, as well as his family’s life, who will be caring for him.
What makes our program so unique is the customization process provided to our wheelchair recipients. The wheelchairs we provide to our recipients are custom-designed for each individual, both physically and aesthetically. Our partners at DMR Corporation work closely with us and the individual to connect their specific health-related needs to customized features of the chair such as posture support systems, tilt features, or control options.
We receive several letters every month from our recipients who have told us about their great accomplishments that have come from having their new wheelchair in their life. The individuals impacted by our Wheelchair Donation Program have taken up sports they were not able to before, visited theme parks for the first time, enjoyed dinners with their families, pursued new careers, lost weight, gone to college, and made contributions in their societies that go above and beyond what they were able to do before.
The Darrell Gwynn Foundation’s Wheelchair Donation Program presents a wheelchair to a deserving individual on average of one to two times a month. However, the need is much greater and we are not able to help every needy person that reaches out to us. We have set a goal to expand our Wheelchair Donation Program to a national scale and provide at least 100 wheelchairs every year by the year 2013.
To learn more about ways you can help, please click here (How You Can Help – 3).
Together, we can change lives… four wheels at a time.