One Wheelchair Recipient’s Response to the Pandemic

With #GivingTuesdayNow just around the corner on May 5th, I thought I’d share an encouraging update from a wheelchair recipient who is now giving back to the community in response to COVID-19.

Linh was born 40 years ago in Ai Nghia, a village near the eastern coast of central Vietnam. She was diagnosed with polio when she was two months old and was paralyzed within days. Although she eventually regained the use of her hands, she cannot walk and was left to crawl on the ground or stay in bed for much of her life. “I was so sad because I would look at people who could walk and go wherever they wanted,” recalls Linh. “I wanted to be able to do that, but I couldn’t.”

Her parents, who were of humble means, did their best to take care of her and provide her with an education. They would take her to school on the back of her mother’s bicycle, but Linh couldn’t sit securely and would often fall off, leading to many tears, injuries, and painful memories.

Linh dropped out of school after 9th grade because the high school was too far away. Her parents then sent her to learn how to sew. Linh became a skilled seamstress and borrowed money to buy a sewing machine and start her own business.

Her business grew, but she still could not afford a wheelchair.

“Every day I dreamt of having a wheelchair,” she recounted through tears. After 10 years of praying for one, Linh received a new GEN_2 wheelchair from our distribution partner, Giving it Back to Kids (GIBTK), in 2007. She couldn’t believe it—she finally had mobility! It was a miracle to her.

Generosity has the power to bring healing and unity to communities around the world, especially during times like these.

If Linh’s photo and story seem familiar, it’s because she was a special guest at our 2013 Miracle of Mobility event. There, she told the audience, “My biggest dream is to teach other people with disabilities a way to earn a living making clothes.”

A generous donor heard Linh and took action, sending Linh three new sewing machines and empowering her to make her dream a reality.

After five years of hard work, Lihn now has seven sewing machines and both teaches and employs other people who live with disabilities, working out of a home/workshop that she built with her earnings. She got married this past February and is now expecting her first child.

But that’s not the end of Linh’s story.

When COVID-19 struck Vietnam, Linh decided to do something to help others. Her workshop began to produce face masks to donate to village children and those who live with disabilities. She also donated 200 reusable face masks to GIBTK, to help keep the staff healthy as they continue serving the community!

Linh’s story demonstrates the exponential power of giving: Because of the generosity of friends like you, Linh’s life has been transformed and she is now helping to transform the lives of others. She is making a difference in the next generation by passing along her knowledge and skills. And, Linh is giving back to those who once helped her so that they can continue helping others in the midst of this pandemic.

Generosity has the power to bring healing and unity to communities around the world, especially during times like these.

Would you come alongside us on May 5th for #GivingTuesdayNow in support of this exponential power of giving?

Donate now to the Emergency Fund

Any time before or on Tuesday, you can join with us by giving to our Medical and Mobility Emergency Fund. Or give the life-changing gift of mobility. Or get active and register for our Virtual Run for Mobility. Or share this post with friends, colleagues, and family. Or share some of our posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

Thank you for being part of Free Wheelchair Mission. Our mission continues–but we cannot do this without your help.