Cheryl’s Wheelchair for Rumpa – 2005
I called Kathy to talk about the wheelchair and how we could best put it back in service to help someone. I told Kathy I did not know anyone at the moment who needed a wheelchair but I gave her my word I would find someone in need for it and that person would be very special. With that, Kathy gave me the wheelchair.
I know Kathy was sad to let it go, as it was part of her daughter’s life with her. After getting the wheelchair delivered to my home by Mindy Benson, Cheryl’s physical therapist, I oiled up the wheels and even shined the wheelchair up to look new.
I contacted a special friend in Calcutta, Dr. Dadina, who had previously helped me with two children’s operations, Samita with a cleft lip, and Dasi with a crossed eye. Dr. Dadina said she could help me find a child in need of a wheelchair and to bring it with me on my trip. I contacted British Airlines to arrange for extra luggage charges for the wheelchair to travel with me to Calcutta. The cost would be $140. As I have always said, God helps me with my trips to help the children. It turned out that British Airlines waived the $140 fee when I arrived at the airport and told them what the wheelchair was for.
When I arrived in India, Customs let everything enter the country, including the wheelchair, as duty free and I left the airport via the green door. As you can tell, everything worked out perfectly. I met Dr. Dadina within the first week of my trip. She picked me up at the Xavier home and we loaded the wheelchair into the back of her car. I did not know where we were going at the time, but Dr. Dadina said it was very special and the wheelchair would be very much appreciated by somebody. Within a half an hour’s ride we arrived at the Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy.
I met Sudha Kaul, the Executive Director and Tessa Hamblin, Director of Rehabilitation. We sat and had tea and talked about the Institute of Cerebral Palsy, how it started and the work that is done each day to help the children. After our short meeting it was time to bring the wheelchair to a very special person.
The little girl’s name is Rumpa who is eleven years old. Rumpa has Cerebral Palsy (spastic quadriplegia) and comes from a very poor family. Rumpa will now be in Cheryl’s wheelchair many hours of the day. The little girl was so happy and excited when she received the wheelchair. I had tears in my eyes seeing her. In the end I was very happy with the outcome of the wheelchair.
It went to a great place and to a beautiful child in need, but I remembered the loss of Cheryl back in America and her Mother Kathy missing her, which made me sad. When I returned to America, I gave Kathy all the paperwork and photos regarding the wheelchair. I know she was happy that Cheryl’s wheelchair now lives on with Rumpa in Calcutta. Kathy herself told me Cheryl would be very proud. I would like to say a special Thank You to Kathy for the gift of Cheryl’s wheelchair.