Wheels for the World Gears Up For Regional Wheelchair Drive

Judy Siegle and Lorene Peterson are on a mission. The Fargo women are hard at work as the state's area representatives for Wheels for the World. Siegle, MeritCare's community relations specialist, and Peterson, who works as an occupational therapist at MeritCare, along with other volunteers, are again working to collect wheelchairs for those in need. Since 2000, they have collected over 500 wheelchairs locally. The chairs will be restored and sent to people all over the world. As Siegle says, "We're fortunate in this part of the country to be able to impact people around the world and make a positive difference. The wheelchairs we collect will bring mobility to people, which will help them live fuller lives."

Judy Siegle and Lorene Peterson are on a mission. The Fargo women are hard at work as the state's area representatives for Wheels for the World. Siegle, MeritCare's community relations specialist, and Peterson, who works as an occupational therapist at MeritCare, along with other volunteers, are again working to collect wheelchairs for those in need. Since 2000, they have collected over 500 wheelchairs locally. The chairs will be restored and sent to people all over the world. As Siegle says, "We're fortunate in this part of the country to be able to impact people around the world and make a positive difference. The wheelchairs we collect will bring mobility to people, which will help them live fuller lives."

Siegle first got involved in the program in 1998 after a friend heard about the program on a Christian radio station. Siegle got involved and traveled with the organization to Romania. It's a program that's near and dear to Siegle. In 1979, the summer after her senior year in high school, Siegle was in a car accident that left her quadriplegic. Siegle, a standout high-school athlete, went on to become one of the world's elite wheelchair racers. She competed in the 1996 and 2000 Paralympic games and in the Para PanAm Games in 1999 and understands all too well the need for mobility and independence.

Peterson recently volunteered in Cuba for this program. She has uplifting stories to share of how the gift of mobility is bringing health and hope to people less fortunate.

Upcoming Wheels for the World events:
  • Tuesday, June 6, starting at 6:30 p.m., volunteers will gather at Hope Lutheran Church North for a training session, and will then head to tag the 40 chairs they've already collected.
  • Saturday, Aug. 19, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., a kick-off car wash will take place at MeritCare Southpointe. Local community groups are volunteering their time and effort to wash the cars. Donations of money and wheelchairs will be accepted starting at this time.
  • A wheelchair drive will be held Aug. 21-25, with the hope of collecting 200 chairs. Chairs should be in restorable condition and can be dropped off at the following sites:
    • MeritCare Medical Center, 801 Broadway N., Fargo
    • MeritCare Southpointe, 2400 32nd Ave S., Fargo
    • MeritCare Moorhead, 1301 Eighth St. S.
    • MeritCare West Fargo, 1220 Sheyenne St.
    • MeritCare Bemidji, 1233 34th St. N.W.
    • MeritCare Blackduck, 81 First St. N.W.
    • MeritCare Cass Lake, 219 Grant Utley Ave.
    • MeritCare Detroit Lakes, 1245 Washington Ave.
    • MeritCare East Grand Forks, 621 DeMers Ave.
    • MeritCare Halstad, 445 First St. E.
    • MeritCare Hawley, 1412 Main St.
    • MeritCare Mahnomen, 410 Fourth St. N.W.
    • MeritCare New York Mills, 20 W. Centennial 84 Dr.
    • MeritCare Ottertail, 105 Otter Dr.
    • MeritCare Pelican Rapids, 211 E. Mill St.
    • MeritCare Perham, 665 Third St. S.W.
    • MeritCare Twin Valley, 501 Second St. N.W.
    • MeritCare Ulen, 108 Viking Ave. W.
    • MeritCare Walker, 614 Michigan Ave.
    • MeritCare Edgeley, 506 Second St.
    • MeritCare Enderlin, 201 Fourth Ave.
    • MeritCare Hillsboro, 315 E. Caledonia Ave.
    • MeritCare Jamestown, 904 Fifth Ave. N.E.
    • MeritCare LaMoure, 107 Second Ave. N.E.
    • MeritCare Mayville, 730 Main St. E.
    • MeritCare Valley City, 520 Chautauqua Blvd.
    • MeritCare Wahpeton, 332 Second Ave. N.


Additional information:

  • The last local wheelchair drive was held three years ago; over 150 chairs were collected.
  • "The World Health Organization estimates that there is a need for over 18 million wheelchairs around the world. In some of these countries the cost of a wheelchair can equal a year's wages, resulting in the impossibility for people affected by disability to ever receive one. [People are] Living in isolation, lacking simple mobility and cut off from life…" (from wheelsfortheworld.org)
  • To date, Wheels for the World has distributed over 25,000 wheelchairs to over 60 countries.
  • Download a Wheels for the World poster (PDF).
  • Download the church bulletin inserts:
    Bulletin Insert 1 (PDF)
    Bulletin Insert 2 (PDF)
  • Those wanting to donate wheelchairs that have questions should call either 234-6022 or 280-4070 or (800) 437-4010, ext. 6022.