By Elizabeth Willoughby on
David Hasselhoff, a long time supporter of UCP Wheels for Humanity, spoke once again at their annual fundraiser last month in California. A huge success, the event raised hundreds of thousands for the charity, which supplies wheelchairs for developing countries.
Inspired by his brothers’ distribution efforts of wheelchairs to individuals in Guatemala in the ‘80s, Wheels For Humanity founder David Richard started a home garage operation in ’96 restoring second hand wheelchairs for shipment to the needy. Wheels For Humanity quickly outgrew Richard’s garage, forcing him into various storage facilities until he partnered, just over a year ago, with United Cerebral Palsy of Los Angeles, Ventura & Santa Barbara Counties, enabling the newly formed UCP Wheels For Humanity to provide even more disabled with mobility.
Denny Richard, a brother of David’s, once told him, “You can’t just collect wheelchairs, you have to go on a delivery. It will change your life.” In fact, it did – it has also changed the lives of over 40,000 others who have received his gift.
So many people in developing countries, crippled from disease, war and natural disaster, are forced either to crawl the streets or remain confined. Over the past 10 years, thousands who couldn’t walk now have the freedom of movement thanks to UCP Wheels. But this charity took it one step further. Beyond refurbishing and shipping the wheelchairs, seating specialists also go along to custom-fit each recipient to the chair.
David Richard says, “For me, there is no greater joy than fitting a child or adult with a disability into a wheelchair. It is my life’s work; it is my passion – the look in their eyes, the smiles, the tears of joy.”
Copyright © 2008 Look to the Stars