July 26, 2012
Yesterday Mark VanTongeren from Michigan Adventure Racing stopped by the office to give Alternatives in Motion a $600 donation. This donation was made possible by the proceeds from the Hurt The Dirt trail run that took place on June 16th at Seidman Park in Ada, Mi.
Alternatives in Motion has a long history of working with endurance events as a charity partner. We love these types of events because they teach people the importance of being active and they promote healthy lifestyles. Mark and his crew are the organizers of other successful events like The Zombie Dash and the GR Urban Adventure Race, all of which contribute to local charities in some way. Be sure to visit their website at miadventureracing.com and sign up for one of their upcoming events.
We’d like to say thanks to Mark for this donation and for the opportunity to participate in this great event. Special thanks to our friends Don Kern, Francine Robinson, George & Gail Ranville, Nancy Willemstein, Mary Kamsickas, Jamie Crosby, Erika Chapman, and Kurt Spieker for volunteering at Hurt The Dirt on behalf of Alternatives in Motion.
Together we are Moving People Forward!
Director of Marketing & Special
July 20, 2012
The short trip north on US 131 to the Pierson exit from downtown Grand Rapids only took about 45 minutes in our delivery van. But that short trip will mean a lot of freedom for Lawrence Hoover. His house is already totally accessible with wheelchair ramps on the front and back. Now with the help of this wheelchair delivered on a hot sunny day, he will be able to get outside and enjoy summer.
Last week we loaded a beautiful deep blue power wheelchair in the van to take a short 13-block ride down Lafayette Street from our office to Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. The purpose was to deliver mobility to Randy Hubbard, who was injured from a fall off a scaffold while working. The fall damaged his spinal cord, and he now needs a wheelchair to get around. Randy will be transferring soon out of Mary Free Bed to a longer-term facility and he needed the wheelchair for mobility, inside as well as out doors.
Alternatives in Motion has helped over 1,000 people, so why was this special? This particular wheelchair belonged to Alan Noerenberg, my brother in law, who died late last year. Alan used a wheelchair for over 20 years after a car accident damaged his spinal cord and left him a without the use of his legs. He was my inspiration for starting Alternatives in Motion 16 years ago.
Alan rarely used this power wheelchair, preferring to propel himself with his arms in his manual wheelchair. The barely used power chair mostly sat in the corner of his living room with a sheet over it to keep the dust off. My wife’s family donated the chair to Alternatives in Motion so they could help someone else benefit and enjoy greater independence. It’s exactly the type of donation Alternatives in Motion functions on.
As Matt and I arrived at Mary Free Bed, I really didn’t know how I would feel about someone else getting Alan’s wheelchair. But then we met Randy. He turned out to be the kind of friendly person you just wanted to help. It didn’t take Katie, the Physical Therapist, long to get him transferred into the wheelchair, and the chair fit him perfectly requiring virtually no adjustments by Matt! It was meant to be. In no time Randy was zipping around the therapy room testing the controls of his new wheels. He was grateful, and I was thankful that we put Alan’s chair to work helping someone else.
Brother Alan would approve.
Finding a new wheelchair for someone isn't as easy as you may think. Many hours go into getting the best chair to meet the medical and physical needs of each recipient. When it all comes together, we have the special opportunity of capturing the moment and sharing the story with the volunteers, donors, and supporters who make it all possible. David's story is just another example of how we are helping Move People Forward!
In April we received an application for a power wheelchair from David who lives on the Eastside of Michigan. David was in need of a power wheelchair with some pretty advanced seating functions. As soon as we had all the necessary papers we went to work on a chair we thought would work best for David. We actually worked on three different power wheelchairs before we settled on the chair that would provide the most support and comfort for David. As the final adjustments were made to the chair we contacted our friends at Wright and Filippis and arranged for the chair to be delivered to the facility where David lives. We were surprised when a few days later we heard the facility was not going to allow David to use the power wheelchair we worked so hard on getting for him.
We continued working closely with Louie Escudero, David's physical therapist, as he and David’s family members explained the benefits this chair would give David. Thankfully, the facility agreed to let David use the chair and we received the following photo and letter of appreciation from Louie and David:
Dear Liz & Matt,
I am writing you on behalf of David, to give you a million thanks for the electric wheelchair that you gave us. It has given David a new lease on life as he is now able to be mobile and to attend to his daily activities. The first time he laid eyes on the wheelchair, he wanted to get on it! I finally persuaded him and his family that we needed the experts from Wright and Filippis to show us the many functions of this wheelchair. Thank you also for the instruction manuals that you gave us-it will be a big help. I am glad you were patient with us, for a while there i thought we might not be able to receive the wheelchair. I’m glad everything worked out.
I’m sending you a picture of David in the wheelchair (with yours truly). I consider myself lucky to have been a part of this. Your organization has given me hope and fulfillment, of just being able to make a difference in someone’s life. You are all saints and have a special place in heaven.
Louie Escudero, PT
If you enjoy reading stories like this, click the Donate Now Button and help us continue to Give the Gift of Mobility. Your donations make these stories possible. Thank you for your support!
In March we were nominated for the WOOD TV 8 Connecting with Community Award for our collaboration with Carelinc Home Medical and Wright & Filippis, two wheelchair vendors here in Grand Rapids. The Connecting with Community Award recognizes groups that have developed strong partnerships and collaborations with other organizations to make a positive impact on the West Michigan Community.
Our partnership is unique in the fact that we have two for profit competitors coming together to help their nonprofit counterpart. Both of these companies have played a key role in the success of Alternatives in Motion over the last several years by supporting us financially, helping with wheelchair repairs and deliveries, and sharing their knowledge of the medical equipment industry with us so we can better serve our recipients. Together we all share the common goal of making life better for individuals with disabilities.
As one of eight finalists nominated for the award, WOOD TV aired a short segment about our partnership during two of their news broadcasts and featured Alternatives in Motion on eightWest. In addition we had the opportunity to attend the Connecting with Community Awards presentation at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum on Thursday May 13, 2010 with our friends from Wright & Filippis and Andrew, one of our recent recipients.
The 2010 Connecting with Community Award winner was Recreation Reaps Rewards, a great program that provides after school programming for youth in Grand Rapids. Despite not winning the award, we were honored to be a part of this special event. At the end of the night it was obvious that Grand Rapids has some amazing organizations doing remarkable things to make our community a better place to live, work, and grow up.
I want to thank WOOD TV and their community partners from Art Van Furniture, Metro Health Hospital, Grand Rapids, Community College, and Huntington Bank for giving organizations like Alternatives in Motion the opportunity share our story with the residents of West Michigan.
Click on the video below to see how Alternatives in Motion is Connecting with Community:
Director of Marketing & Special Events