Right at Home Celebrates One-Year Anniversary Supporting Free Wheelchair Mission
Leading in-home care franchise team members complete Vision Trip; $129,388 donated to cause
In 2017, at the Right at Home annual conference in Omaha, CEO and President Brian Petranick announced to more than 330 franchises a systemwide, global initiative to collect donations for Free Wheelchair Mission, a humanitarian, nonprofit organization that provides wheelchairs at no cost to people with disabilities in developing nations. As a leading in-home senior care franchise in the world, Right at Home is primed to help provide much-needed awareness and resources to an organization that aligns with Right at Home’s mission “to improve the quality of life for those we serve.” Through the partnership, Right at Home is able to extend its mission beyond the eight countries it serves into many other countries Free Wheelchair Mission serves.
Free Wheelchair Mission founder Don Schoendorfer left his successful career in the biomedical field after witnessing firsthand a woman’s struggle to cross a busy road in Morocco while he was on vacation. This inspired him to draw on his engineering background to create an inexpensive and durable wheelchair, and in 2001, he founded Free Wheelchair Mission. Since then, the organization has donated wheelchairs to people in 93 countries around the world. In 2015, three Right at Home franchisees and a corporate staff member participated in a Vision Trip to assemble and deliver wheelchairs in Mexico. The Right at Home corporate team was so touched upon hearing about the cause that they decided to launch the Free Wheelchair Mission initiative to the global Right at Home network in the spring of 2017.
Now, one year later, the company and its franchisees, employees, parent company, and strategic partners have provided three containers of wheelchairs to 1,650 individuals in need. This past November, 14 Right at Home corporate team members and franchisees participated in a Vision Trip to Costa Rica, a humbling and life-changing experience where the attendees built and distributed wheelchairs to those in need, learned about these people’s stories and saw how having mobility would greatly affect each person’s life.
“Right at Home’s mission and the goals of Free Wheelchair Mission align perfectly,” said Petranick. “Our teams are dedicated to improving the quality of life for those we serve, and we have seen the entire system get behind this initiative to help those in need. The overwhelming response and positive feedback from our franchisees has been inspiring.”
With such a memorable Vision Trip completed last fall, Right at Home has planned two additional Vision Trips for 2018. Teams will be building and distributing wheelchairs again in Costa Rica this October and in Vietnam this November.
To further raise money for this ongoing cause, Right at Home will host a “Run for Mobility” fundraiser at this year’s systemwide annual conference. Franchisees and corporate staff alike will run for those who can’t to raise additional donations on Tuesday, May 1, at 8 p.m. in Glendale, Arizona.
“Right at Home has an amazingly unified group of employees and franchisees focused on the mission to improve the quality of life for its clients,” said Schoendorfer. “It’s truly remarkable how the Right at Home franchise system can expand this focus to the developing world to fellow human beings with a very basic need — the need for mobility.”
With an estimated 100 million people around the world today in need of a wheelchair but without the means to get one, Free Wheelchair Mission strives to distribute 70,000 to 80,000 wheelchairs annually, and now, with Right at Home as a strategic partner, the nonprofit continues to pursue its goal to distribute wheelchairs to the nearly 100 million people without mobility around the globe. Free Wheelchair Mission’s goal is to provide mobility to 2 million people worldwide by 2025.