Drop a pebble in and watch the ripple. Mesmerizing. Several ripple experiences this week on health journeys. A colleague caring for parents as they slip toward dementia. Challenges for the parents, challenges for their children. A friend whose parent had a stroke canceled a scheduled meeting. Children sick – parents can’t make it to work. Health is not just about me or the person identified as sick or disabled. Ill health affects my family and my community as much as me. Ripples upon ripples.
World-wide: person, family, community all affected by immobility. My wife and I attended a benefit for the Free Wheelchair Mission, a program we have supported for several years. Approximately 100 million people in the world can’t walk and need wheelchairs. Many conditions can result in the inability to walk such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, polio, diabetes, amputations from war, violence, and disease. Most of the people needing wheelchairs can’t afford them and live in locations without paved roads. Don Schoendorfer, an MIT trained mechanical engineer designed a wheelchair using easily found, easily maintained, and easily shipped materials. The wheelchairs cost $72. The Free Wheelchair Mission has shipped over 750,000 wheelchairs to 90+ countries. Getting a wheelchair changes the receiving person’s life dramatically as well as their family’s life, and their community. Again, an astonishing ripple.
Honor the caregivers, help the helpers.