Isabella was visibly nervous.

She hadn’t been out of her house in years.

She was 98 years old. A great-grandmother. And she lives with dementia.

Her own safety was one reason that her family kept her at home in Machachi, a town surrounded by volcanoes 20 miles south of Quito, Ecuador.

Another reason is that they could not afford the wheelchair they’d need to take her anywhere.

They had come to a local gymnasium for a wheelchair distribution held by Vista Para Todos, our local distribution partner, and a 10-member team from Right at Home (RAH), a nationwide, in-home care services company that has been partnering with Free Wheelchair Mission since 2017.

“I locked eyes with this older woman from across the room,” recalls team member Rob Kraus of first meeting Isabella. “I went up to her and got down to her level, and she immediately grabbed my hand.”

Isabella, a 98-year-old great-grandmother, with RAH team member, Rob Kraus.

“Although we did not speak the same language, we both appreciated each other, and the connection we shared at that moment just went further than words,” said Rob, who was a bit nervous himself on this first full day in an unfamiliar land.

“The few moments I spent with this woman really broke down my fears about being in a place where I didn’t understand the language or culture — and I think our connection helped break down her fears of being in an unfamiliar situation, as well.”

Isabella cleaved to Rob’s hand as the team fitted her with a new GEN_2 wheelchair. Over the next several days, the team would go on to deliver wheelchairs to other places in Ecuador, including recipients’ homes in indigenous communities.

Right at Home, a nationwide in-home care services company, has been partnering with Free Wheelchair Mission since 2017.

When your company partners with Free Wheelchair Mission, you demonstrate your organization’s values and commitment to helping those in need. You also empower your employees, like Rob, with opportunities to help transform the lives of families such as Isabella’s.  

And, like Right at Home, you can reward your employees with the trip of a lifetime—a vision trip to personally distribute wheelchairs and meet recipients face-to-face.

It’s an unforgettable experience. Just ask Rob Kraus.

For more information on corporate engagement, please visit our Corporate Engagement page.