For the third time, the Student Physical Therapy Organization (SPTO) will be involved with Wheels for the World (WFTW), an outreach of Joni and Friends International Disability Center. Since 1994, WFTW has distributed over 57,000 wheelchairs to over 105 countries. During 2011 Wheels for the World will travel to 14 countries, including Brazil, China, Guatemala, Poland, and Romania.
Since 1999, WFTW volunteers in Eastern Iowa have coordinated local mobility device drives to collect a little over 1,900 used manual wheelchairs, and an ever greater number of walkers, aluminum canes and pairs of crutches. Donated wheelchairs are restored in regional correctional facilities by inmates before being delivered by trained teams of seating specialists and mechanics who individually fit each recipient to their wheelchair. This year we will continue this worthwhile activity April 29-30.
Equipment drop sites in various cities throughout Iowa (including at the SAU Center for Health Sciences Education) are listed on the All-Iowa WFTW website. This website also has information about monetary donations for equipment restoration and scholarships so that students may participate in WFTW mission trips. First year SAU DPT student Tasha Wagner is in the process of applying to participate in the trip to Poland this summer.