Washington’s father, Randall, said he was happy to be able to transfer his son into a wheelchair that can change his life for the better.
“We just wanted a chair, but so much more has been offered – and people’s time,” he said. “I mean, there are a lot of people here taking care of Gregory right now.”
For more than a month, Gregory Washington spent his waking moments slumped over in a loaner wheelchair stretching his arm across his body to manipulate the joystick to make it move.
The joystick on his original chair broke, and his family could not afford the $600 to fix it – and Washington’s mother said Medicaid was not responding.
With the help of an organization called May We Help – a collection of volunteer doctors, inventors and engineers who take used equipment and adapt it to someone else’s needs – Washington was able to regain his mobility.
“Their skill sets come together to create one-of-a-kind custom devices for hundreds of people every year and always at no charge,” May We Help executive director Rob Seideman said.
The organization helped put Gregory Washington in a chair that would cost more than $20,000.
“In fact, when we’re done fixing Gregory up tonight, we’re hoping Gregory will come back and say, ‘okay, now that I’ve got greater independence, I want to do other things. I want to learn the cello, I want to play golf,’ and they’ll come to us and our volunteers will figure out a solution to allow him to do just those things,” Seideman said.
“That’s something that we’ve been anxious about, how are we going to manage in the shower – the bathroom,” Randall Washington said.
And after seeing the inventory and options available at May We Help, that might happen sooner.
“There’s so many options that I didn’t even know were available in the industry that they have here – 100% free,” Randall Washington said.
Anyone interested in donating equipment to May We Help can do so here.