Local volunteer organizations craft new wheelchair for West Chester man

WEST CHESTER, Ohio — WCPO first reported on West Chester resident Gregory Washington’s broken wheelchair on Feb. 7. The next day, calls and emails poured in from viewers asking to help.

Washington’s father, Randall, said he was happy to be able to transfer his son into a wheelchair that can change his life for the better.

“We just wanted a chair, but so much more has been offered – and people’s time,” he said. “I mean, there are a lot of people here taking care of Gregory right now.”

For more than a month, Gregory Washington spent his waking moments slumped over in a loaner wheelchair stretching his arm across his body to manipulate the joystick to make it move.

The joystick on his original chair broke, and his family could not afford the $600 to fix it – and Washington’s mother said Medicaid was not responding.

With the help of an organization called May We Help – a collection of volunteer doctors, inventors and engineers who take used equipment and adapt it to someone else’s needs – Washington was able to regain his mobility.

“Their skill sets come together to create one-of-a-kind custom devices for hundreds of people every year and always at no charge,” May We Help executive director Rob Seideman said.

The organization helped put Gregory Washington in a chair that would cost more than $20,000.

“In fact, when we’re done fixing Gregory up tonight, we’re hoping Gregory will come back and say, ‘okay, now that I’ve got greater independence, I want to do other things. I want to learn the cello, I want to play golf,’ and they’ll come to us and our volunteers will figure out a solution to allow him to do just those things,” Seideman said.

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“That’s something that we’ve been anxious about, how are we going to manage in the shower – the bathroom,” Randall Washington said.

And after seeing the inventory and options available at May We Help, that might happen sooner.

“There’s so many options that I didn’t even know were available in the industry that they have here – 100% free,” Randall Washington said.

Anyone interested in donating equipment to May We Help can do so here.

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