News Release

Dreams Become a Reality as Wheelchairs are Delivered in Bangalore, India

30 new wheelchair recipients join in race.

“Let’s have a wheelchair race!” The surprise invitation was given to 30 people who had just received wheelchairs provided by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For many, it was the first time they were able to sit in a wheelchair and move around by themselves, so could they race in one? Yes, they could and they did!

A life-changing event occurred on January 8, 2015 as the Church, along with The Association of People with Disabilities, began distribution of 560 wheelchairs to excited and grateful recipients at the APD campus in Bangalore, India. The people from APD travel to communities to see the circumstances that the disabled people live in. They identify possible recipients to therapists who make sure that having a wheelchair will help them. For these recipients, not only would the chairs help them, it would change their lives.

Ranamani, age 26, who works in a garment factory, said “This wheelchair will help me a lot to continue my work. I have been crawling to work and this will change my life.” Her brother, Sribhara, age 24, who was without legs, also received a wheelchair. The siblings had been disabled since birth, along with two other siblings. Sribhara, an employee at a mobile phone company, said “This is my first time in a wheelchair.I am able to move around now. It will help so much.

After APD identifies people to receive wheelchairs, they prescribe the type that will be the best for the person’s specific needs.  Careful measurements are taken to fit the requirements.  When the people receive the wheelchair, additional customization is done to make sure there is an exact fit and training is given for how to use and maintain the chair.

Many people spoke of the difference the wheelchair would make in their lives, but the joy on their faces told the story. Karthik is a little boy, age 12, who is in the 7th standard at school, his father said proudly. Karthik smiled brightly as he described how happy he was with his new wheelchair. Another man could hardly contain his excitement as he said he took the challenge to come even though it was difficult.  He said “I can’t express my joy. Now I can prove to society that I can be independent too”.

The happiness and excitement was contagious. At the conclusion of the ceremony, Elder Paul Evensen, a Public Affairs missionary, invited all to a race. Every person wheeled themselves (or had someone wheel them) to the field to participate in something they never dreamed could happen. Laughter filled the air as the racers crossed the finish line. The feeling of joy and unity surrounded everyone.

Arun Kumar, age 37, was thrilled to have a wheelchair and participate in a wheelchair race. He was the first person to push himself into position, determined to win, and he did. He suffered a spinal cord injury at age 24 when he fell off a ladder. He was happy to receive a folding wheelchair which, with help, he can attach to his 4 wheel motorcycle and travel to work without depending upon costly taxis or autos. He invited Elder and Sister Evensen, along with Brother Ravi Mohan to visit his home to see how he can maneuver in his wheelchair at home and with his motorcycle.

The wheelchair initiative done by LDS Charities worldwide has brought mobility to close to 70,000 people in over 57 different countries. It has given hope and the opportunity to become self-reliant and independent to all of them.
Brother Ravi Mohan serves as the Public Affairs Director for the Bangalore area and attended the event.  He said the people were “an inspiration and showed the beauty of life. “ And the people were an inspiration.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.