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The Amazing Way I Got the Wheelchair I Couldn't Afford

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This is going to be hard to outdo. You know when somebody does something nice for you and you want to pay it forward? Well, in this case, I don’t know if that is possible.

I’ve been sitting on the same wheelchair for 18 hours a day for the last nine years. My wheelchair has seen its best days. I’m surprised he works at all anymore. I’ve always wanted to keep walking for as long as I could. Now at the very least I
want to stand.

I happened to see a wheelchair I fell in love with instantly. It would stand me up. “I must have this,” I thought, so I went about broadcasting it to anyone and everyone who would listen. I made it clear in no uncertain terms that I would get one. Yes, I was getting one.

No matter that the cost was far out of my monetary reach… I just had to have one. It just made sense. So the first thing I did was started GoFundMe campaign. I knew the goal was high, but I wasn’t really thinking about that. I was extremely focused on the fact that I needed this wheelchair as much as a person needs to breathe the air around us.

I have a very good friend I have known for a long time. We speak daily, sometimes more than one time during the day. He’s taken me with him to a farmers market in Phoenix, for a walk about downtown when it was about 150° Fahrenheit out and also took me with him when he moved to Hawaii. Once there, he took me with him on numerous walkabouts — all video — through his phone. One time we sat at the top of Rainbow Falls in silence just appreciating his awe-inspiring paradise. Another time, he took me swimming with the 100-year-old sea turtles. I was in Hawaii, virtually of course, but still visiting his postcard life. He often pointed out that it felt like he was living in a postcard. Well, I have to agree with Jon on that. These outings mean so much to me, and although I have thanked him many times I don’t even think he realizes how much serenity and pleasure this has brought to me. I made it happily through the last year and a half of my life enjoying these
trips — journeys I surely could not have done as successfully or at all on my own.

Pretty much every day we share a coffee together — usually around noon. One day, I got up at my usual time, 6 a.m. I opened my computer to a message that said, “Please give me a call, I can’t sleep.” Hawaii is five hours behind us, so it was 2 a.m. there. Automatically I wondered what was wrong.

Now I have to explain that my friend Jon had had an item on eBay for trade for some time at this point. He said he would trade it for something he found interesting. Offers came and went over the years but nothing struck him as being the proper deal.

So one day, or night in this case, it all came together for him when he thought about my wheelchair and how my GoFundMe was not collecting the money it should’ve been. He had a bright idea: Why not try to trade his item for the wheelchair his friend so desperately needed? So he put the email together and sent it to a few of the sellers and suppliers. The owner of one of the companies in Hong Kong emailed back, and the deal was accepted.

I went ahead and called to see what was going on with the urgent message on my computer. John then told me the story about his watch on eBay. My mouth was wide open, not really believing a word of this amazing story. Apparently the wheelchair I had wanted, needed desperately, was mine — to be shipped over shortly from the docks of Taiwan.

This all started a little more than six months ago. Fast-forward and now, almost the end of December,  my wheelchair has arrived in Toronto.

Now you understand my question: How can I repay this incredible selfless deed?

Oh wait, there’s more. Both of us have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and have felt the effects of this often devastating disease.

Thank you, Jon, from all of my heart.

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Getty image by AVAVA

Originally published: December 23, 2017
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