Rique Perez had put countless miles on his old wheelchair — commuting to work eight kilometers each way.  The seat was torn and totally worn out.  One front wheel was missing and the main tires were badly worn.  But that changed when he received a new wheelchair donated by LDS Charities, the humanitarian services arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Mr. Perez was featured in a 2009 story in the Church News, which reported on some of the Church’s humanitarian projects in the Dominican Republic.

In a video filmed earlier this year for the Mormon Messages program, this 28-year-old husband and father describes the hurdles faced by wheelchair-bound persons in his city and throughout the developing world – and how the combination of helping organizations and new wheelchair technology offer new potential for overcoming these obstacles.

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The unusual-looking wheelchair Rique is shown receiving here is a Whirlwind Roughrider – a revolutionary new wheelchair designed at San Francisco State University with special features uniquely adapting it to the rugged-terrain conditions that prevail in many parts of the world.  The narration in this informative video gives further insight into the complexities surrounding physical disability, especially as faced by people in underdeveloped regions.

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A terrific short story about the Whirlwind Roughrider and its creator, Ralf Hotchkiss (the gentleman who explains the wide front caster tires in the video), was broadcast on the PBS NewsHour earlier this year.  If you find this topic fascinating as I do, don’t miss this informative and well-done report.

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Learn more about wheelchair distribution and other programs of LDS Charities such as clean water, neonatal resuscitation, and vision treatment: http://www.ldsphilanthropies.org/humanitarian-services/.