Nonprofit Delivers Wheelchairs to Those in Need - NBC Southern California
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Nonprofit Delivers Wheelchairs to Those in Need

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Nonprofit Provides Wheelchairs to Disabled

    A nonprofit is providing free wheelchairs for those in need in 72 developing countries. Angie Crouch has the Life Connected report for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015. (Published Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015)

    United Cerebral Palsy Wheels for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that has provided more than 350,000 free wheelchairs to people in 72 developing countries.

    Families and corporations donate used wheelchairs and Wheels for Humanity volunteers refurbish them at a warehouse in North Hollywood.

    Rocio Villalobos is one of those who received help. She was shot during a crime in El Salvador at age 8 and was left paralyzed from the waist down.

    "Countries like El Salvador, it's really hard to get a wheelchair," Villalobos said.

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    For seven long years Rocio got around in an adult-sized wheelchair that her brother found for her. The chair was too big for her small frame and caused her to develop scoliosis and painful spasms.

    "Having a big chair, I always had to sit in the wrong position," she said.

    When she was 15 Wheels for Humanity delivered a customized chair measured to fit her body. Several years later she moved north to Pacoima and now volunteers for Wheels for Humanity.

    "I know what it's like to not have accessibility. I really want to do something about it," Villalobos said.
    The program's CEO Ronald Cohen says they also recently opened a plant in Indonesia where they hire local disabled workers to manufacture brand new wheelchairs.

    "It gives them a life. They feel like they're producing something, contributing something," Cohen said.

    UCP Wheels for Humanity is holding its annual fundraiser Saturday, Sept. 26 at the Skirball Cultural Center from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

    Last year's event raised over $225,000, or the equivalent of 900 wheelchairs for adults and children in need.

    Tickets are $150; opportunity drawing tickets are $50; both are available for purchase here.

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