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Mobility Awareness at UCR

Wheelchair Mobility Awareness at UCR

The Office of Services for Students with Disabilities promotes awareness of global mobility issues.

(October 20, 2006)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — - Dr. Michael Bayer, co-founder of the non-profit humanitarian organization, Free Wheelchair Mission, will speak at UC Riverside on October 23, 2006, at 1:00 p.m. at Bourns College of Engineering, Room A 265.

The event, co-sponsored by the College of Engineering, Intercollegiate Athletics, and the Medical and Health Professions, is offered by the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities.

Students, staff and faculty are urged to attend and to help support the mission. The event is free and open to the public.

Free Wheelchair Mission, based in Irvine, California, distributes free wheelchairs to people with physical disabilities in developing countries across the globe.

Bayer, an orthopedic surgeon, and Dan Schoendorfer, an MIT-trained mechanical engineer, founded Free Wheelchair Mission in 2001. Schoendorfer was honored in 2005 with the Medallion for Entrepreneurship Award by Beta Gamma Sigma and was also nominated for the Reader’s Digest Hero of the Year honor.

Stan Morrison, director of intercollegiate athletics at UCR has asked his coaching staff to urge UCR athletes to support the efforts of Free Wheelchair Mission.

“What better way for us to demonstrate our appreciation for all that we have, in this regard, than supporting this wonderful mission,” he said.

The Health Careers Organization, another campus organization co-sponsoring the event, is the oldest and largest student pre-health organization on campus and is about to celebrate its 20th year at UCR.

Also involved in the effort is one of the newest student organizations, the BioMedical Engineering Society, which serves as a focus point for students with an interest in biology, medicine and engineering.

Free Wheelchair Mission manufactures its devices in China and distributes them via cargo container ships worldwide. The average cost in 2006 to manufacture, ship and distribute a wheelchair is $44.40, according to the organization. The simple but rugged chairs consist of a steel frame, a pair of mountain bike tires, front casters and a plastic resin patio lawn chair. 170,000 wheelchairs have been delivered in 57 countries.

For more information about Free Wheelchair Mission, contact Jean Doña of the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities, by calling (951) 827-4538 or Tony Ontiveros, director of sports medicine in the Department of Athletics, by calling (951) 827-3813.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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