We often share stories about wheelchair recipients, but what about stories from wheelchair givers?

We asked Eleanor T., a high school student from California, to share some thoughts on a recent vision trip that she took with her family to Peru. Eleanor first gave a wheelchair three years ago, when she was moved to donate part of her allowance after hearing about the need for mobility around the world.

She was kind enough to share some reflections on her experience:

I honestly had no idea what I was expecting. I had little knowledge about how we would be helping people.

“Why would they need a group of Americans delivering wheelchairs to people across the world in person?” I wondered.

Distributing the wheelchairs, as I found out, was not mainly because they needed extra hands, but more so because they needed the people who received the wheelchairs to see the faces behind the donations. That is, to show them that they mattered and that others wanted them to be happy.

The person who left the biggest impression on me was our host, Lisa. I related to her the most because, like us, she was from the States and decided to go on a missions trip to Peru. After going on that first trip, she wholeheartedly devoted herself to helping others through free wheelchairs, dropping her previous life plans to move to Peru. As a teenager myself, I look to adults for career and lifestyle ideas. When I saw Lisa doing what she does, I thought, “I wouldn’t mind growing up to be like her.”

I had never experienced anything akin to (this). I learned so much from my short time abroad that I could’ve never learned had I chosen not to go.

This experience changed my perspective. Before this trip, Free Wheelchair was an organization who gave people mobility. Now, I see Free Wheelchair Mission as an organization who gives people faith, freedom, and happiness.


As Eleanor has expressed, the gift of mobility doesn’t just impact wheelchair recipients and their communities – it impacts everyone involved in getting wheelchairs to them, including distribution partners like Lisa and donors such as Eleanor and her family.

I hope that you’ve been impacted by it, too.


Don Schoendorfer