Hello! My name is Denise Roeser, and I am the founder of Wheels For Kids, a 501(C)3 non-profit organization established in 2003 to provide wheelchairs to children with disabilities and their families who could not otherwise afford to purchase them.
I would like to tell you a little bit about what brought me here. My daughter, Ashlee, born October 4, 1988 was growing seemingly without problems, but at 9 months of age, Ashlee was not progressing as she should. Ashlee was weak. We learned that she suffered from a condition known as Hypotonia Cerebral Palsy. Ashlee’s father and I were working full-time, but did not make enough money for the five-day-a-week physical and occupational therapies, which cost over $100,000 per year. At the time we did not have health insurance. When we tried to obtain it, we discovered that pre-existing conditions were not covered. Ashlee’s first manual wheelchair at age 2, which she quickly outgrew, cost $3,200. The costs for Ashlee’s therapies, braces and wheelchairs were so high that my husband and I could not financially support her. I quit my job, and my husband and I divorced in 1992 in order to qualify for Medicaid to shoulder Ashlee’s medical bills. However, we stayed a nuclear family.We were told by the doctors that Ashlee would go from a crib, to a bed, to a nursing home and that would be her life. We refused to accept this, and vigorously championed her therapies. Ashlee has now had four wheelchairs totaling $36,000. Her current custom-made electric wheelchair cost $24,000 and most recently needed the seating to be refurbished at a cost of $3500.
This is why I established Wheels For Kids – to help middle class families with children with disabilities keep up with the progressive growth and cost of wheelchairs. I want to help the children who fall between the cracks. I hope you will join me on my journey.
A special thank you to all of our sponsors for their continued love and support of Wheels For Kids. We couldn’t do it without you. Learn more about our sponsors and how you can become one below.
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Wheels For Kids, Inc. is a 501(c)3 corporation.