While some St. Ambrose departments work hard to raise money for various causes, the physical therapy department will be looking to collect money along something that won’t fit in anyone’s wallet. On April 29 and 30, the PT department will be accepting donations of non-electric wheelchairs, jogging strollers, and metal walkers, crutches and canes. Dr. John Barr is a professor of physical therapy at St. Ambrose and is active in the Student Physical Therapy Organization. SPTO has been involved with the cause Wheels for the World since 2004.
“Each year we have hosted a mobility device donation drop-off site and raised money for both the restoration of the equipment and for a scholarship to help support PT student participation in a mission outreach trip,” Barr said.
The wheelchairs and strollers do not need to be in working order. The equipment that needs fixing will be sent to regional federal prisons where they will be restored to like-new condition.
Wheels for the World is a non-profit organization that strives to bring hope and mobility to persons with disabilities. Since 1994, over 57,000 wheelchairs have been distributed to over 105 countries. In 2011, 14 countries will be visited by Wheels of the World. Some of those countries include, Thailand, Guatemala, Cuba, Ghana, Poland, Brazil, Romania, and China. Donations will be given to needy children and adults with disabilities.
Dr. Barr explained how participation in such a cause could benefit the St. Ambrose community.
“Ambrosians will have the opportunity to participate in a community-based contribution to an international effort that seeks to provide locomotor mobility assistance to individuals who lack the ability to easily move from place to place within their homes and communities in poor or underdeveloped countries,” Barr said.
For anyone interested in donating equipment, the drop-off location will be at the Center for Health Sciences Education Building on April 29 and 30.
For monetary donations, make checks payable to “Joni and Friends” with “Wheels for the World” on the memo line.
“Monies donated to the ‘Iowa Scholarship Outreach Fund’ will be used to help partially fund physical therapy students in the state of Iowa to join in the select one and two week outreach visits to under-developed countries. Students will be selected based on competitive application,” Patsy Lawton, All Iowa Wheels for the World Drive Coordinator said.
Mail-in donations can be sent to Wheels for the World, MidWestOne Bank – Attn: J Gingerich, 1906 Keokuk St. Iowa City, IA 52240.