At 16 I sustained a spinal cord injury which rendered me a quadriplegic. I spent the next decade trying to find my feet and adjust to life with a disability. As I adjusted, a desire grew within me to give meaning to my new life.
The journey to founding Wheels of Mercy started when I got a job at a wheelchair dealership. During my time there I learned how to evaluate and fit someone for a wheelchair. As managed care came to Medicaid, I recognized that the way wheelchairs were acquired was going az to change.
In response to this emerging market, I quit my job and founded Adaptive Technologies Group (ATG). ATG contracted with CalOPTIMA and 16 Medi-Cal Health Plans in Orange County to provide wheelchair evaluations and fittings. It was while conducting wheelchair evaluations in consumer’s homes that I became aware of how many fully functional, highly specialized wheelchairs were doing nothing more than collecting dust. Nearly every consumer we met with was storing at least two, sometimes three of their previous wheelchairs. My work was interrupted by a massive brain hemorrhage which put me in a coma.
I woke to find my business gone, and a need to redefine my life. My near-death experience left me yearning to use the time I have left here to have as powerful an impact as possible upon the disabled community. From this desire sprang Wheels of Mercy.
We began small however our vision is global. With the right support team, an adequate budget, and a dedicated warehouse we can turn the millions of wheelchairs that do nothing but collect dust into life-changing mobility for people locally and around the world. You can join us in this effort by giving your time, expertise, or financial resources.
Get invovled today!
Wheels of Mercy was founded in 2005 by Charles Monson following a transformations near-death experience
Even the poorest in America have access to custom wheelchairs through programs like Medi-Caid and Medicare, which replace those wheelchairs every five to seven years. There are millions of wheelchairs that do nothing more than collect dust in garages and basements all across the country. Wheels of Mercy seeks to transform those unused wheelchairs into the life-changing mobility equipment that will allow people with disabilities around the world to get off the floor and out of bed.
Wheels of Mercy is a non-profit public charity that collects used wheelchairs, restores them, and gives them to people who need but can’t afford them.
We measure success by individual outcomes, rather than number of chairs delivered. This is as an important distinction, because a wheelchair is not a convenience, it’s a medical device. Improperly fit, a wheelchair will cause pressure sores, spinal deformities, and even death from these complicating factors.
The nature of spending all day, every day sitting in a wheelchair demands that it be custom fit to the individual. Wheels of Mercy achieves positive outcomes by matching custom-fitting individuals with wheelchairs and postural support systems that match their need and function.
Imagine for a moment, remaining in the chair you are sitting in at this very moment for 12 hours. Your back would hurt, your legs would cramp. Now imagine that you are unable to shift your weight or move your position in that chair. Within a few hours you would find yourself in extreme discomfort, developing into horrible pain as the hours stretch. Your skin would break down and you would develop pressure sores. This is the stark reality of life in the wrong wheelchair.
A wheelchair will transform a life only when it meets individual medical need, and maintains the integrity of the skin and spine, while it enables mobility.