SOURCE: Free Wheelchair Mission

May 01, 2007 14:38 ET

Free Wheelchair Mission and Reader's Digest Kick Off National Bike Month With 3,000-Mile Cross-Country Cycle -- Ride for Mobility

Nationwide Cycling Trek Reaches Mid-Point With More Than $150,000 Raised Toward Goal of Donating 15,000 Wheelchairs to the Disabled Worldwide

IRVINE, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 1, 2007 -- Don Schoendorfer and Dr. Mike Bayer are setting the pace for cyclists nationwide as May, National Bike Month, gets underway. As the co-founders of Free Wheelchair Mission, they are embarking on a 3,000-mile cross-country cycling trek to provide thousands of disabled people in developing countries with the transforming gift of mobility. With Reader's Digest as a media sponsor, they have already raised $150,000 to purchase 3,378 wheelchairs since the journey's April 20 kick off at the publication's headquarters in Pleasantville, New York.

Titled Ride for Mobility, the grassroots educational and fundraising campaign was developed to help spread Free Wheelchair Mission's message throughout the country and to raise funds to purchase 15,000 wheelchairs. The wheelchairs, comprised of a resin lawn chair, metal tubing and bicycle tires, are designed and manufactured by Free Wheelchair Mission and delivered all over the world for under $50. Currently, Free Wheelchair Mission has delivered more than 200,000 wheelchairs in more than 65 countries throughout the world.

For those who would like to become actively involved, Free Wheelchair Mission is inviting the public to join Schoendorfer and Bayer on their cross-country cycling trek, which will take them from New York City to New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and conclude in Newport Beach, California on June 16.

"National Bike Month is the perfect time for cycling enthusiasts to hit the road to help others share the gift of mobility," said Schoendorfer. "There are millions of disabled people in developing countries who are often subject to crawling on the ground in dangerous and unsanitary conditions. The gift of mobility elevates the disabled in body, mind and spirit."

During the campaign, individuals interested in following the trek can log on to the Reader's Digest Web site, www.rd.com, to view daily streaming video and/or purchase a subscription to the publication. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Free Wheelchair Mission.

For more information on the Ride for Mobility, to download a schedule to join Schoendorfer and Bayer, to make a donation, or to become a fund raiser for the Ride, log on to www.ride4mobility.org. For more information on Free Wheelchair Mission go to www.freewheelchairmission.org.

Editor's note: A full itinerary of the journey and cities is available upon request. Photos, B-roll are also available.

About Free Wheelchair Mission

There are more than 100 million disabled people in the developing world who have no access to wheelchairs due to poverty and economic isolation. Denied this most basic means of mobility, some crawl on the ground, subjecting themselves to dangerous, unsanitary conditions in order to maintain their independence. Others spend most of their lives in isolation, confined to a single room and dependent on family members to meet their most basic needs.

The Free Wheelchair Mission provides wheelchairs at no cost to the disabled in the developing world. It has contracted with manufacturers in China to produce a basic but sturdy wheelchair using widely available parts. The wheelchair is designed to be shipped efficiently and assembled easily. The average cost to manufacture, ship, and distribute one of its chairs is under $50, an extraordinarily modest investment that changes the lives of the disabled and their families.

About Reader's Digest

Reader's Digest reaches 40 million readers in the U.S. each month. The magazine celebrates the best of humanity, and delivers a compelling mix of special reporting, humor, personal service, and human-interest stories. Reader's Digest is published in 21 languages and 50 editions worldwide. The company's main web site is at www.rd.com.

Contact Information

  • Media Contact:
    Amy Toosley
    Allison & Partners
    Phone: 619/533-7976
    E-mail: Email Contact

    Jonathan Abramson
    Free Wheelchair Mission
    Phone: 949.273.8470 X 207
    E-mail: Email Contact