Mobilizing the Disabled
Through a partnership between Free Wheelchair Mission and Network of Caring, over 1,000 precious people in Colombia will be given the gift of mobility. Bob Andrews, Vice Chair of the IBOAI Executive Committee, and his wife, Terry Andrews, Chair of the Marketing Advisory Committee, led the fundraising efforts among Network of Caring/Network 21 affiliated IBOS, resulting in a total of $63,000 raised in just 90 days. The couple was inspired by Jim and Nancy Dornan, founders of Network 21.
“When I saw the program (Free Wheelchair Mission), I knew everyone would be able to wrap their mind and heart around the idea,” says Bob. “Terry, who is the most giving person I’ve ever known, looked at me with big tears in her eyes and said, ’This is something we’ve got to do.’”
In September of 2011, Bob and Terry launched a 90-day fundraiser with the intent of raising $37,000, enough money to purchase and deliver 500 wheelchairs to people living in an underdeveloped world. Each wheelchair, which is constructed out of a resin lawn chair, mountain bike tires, and a sturdy custom frame, costs less than $65.
When speaking of Skip and Susan Ross, Jerry and Karen DeBlaay, and Cale and Aura Andrews, the son and daughter-in-law of Bob and Terry, Bob explains, “These families are what I call ‘influence leaders.’ When I got the leadership team together and presented the vision, these three families didn’t leave and just try; they got people together and helped people help people.”
Not only did IBOs team up to raise money to fund the wheelchair purchases, but also they themselves will be directly involved in mobilizing the disabled when they travel to Columbia this summer. Says Bob, “Our people literally pick people up off the ground and put them in a chair … We’re going to pick a person up off the ground, and their life is going to change.”