Wheelchairs from heaven

Wheelchairs to the total value of R140 000 were donated by Dis-Chem and its suppliers at the second annual Dis-Chem Interschools Wheelchair Challenge that took place at the South African Defence Force College in Voortrekkerhoogte at the end of January.

Stan Goetsch, marketing director Dis-Chem, who drives the event, said Dis-Chem donated 50 wheelchairs to numerous organisations and individuals. “We are in the business of providing help to the physically challenged by way of what we sell in our stores. Therefore, we recognise the need for wheelchairs in the community we service. This event gives us the opportunity to do exactly that together with our suppliers, who are keen to get involved.”

One of these was Rolling Inspiration’s own Ardriana Janse van Rensburg, who was featured in the December 2004 issue of the publication. Adriana’s mother, Drienie, said the new chair was a gift that came at just the right time. “Adriana’s wheelchair was finished and we were wondering how we were going to get her a new one. And then Rolling Inspiration phoned on behalf of Dis-Chem. It was like a miracle.

“After she received the wheelchair she rode it up and down the passage the whole day. Adriana recently got a very bad blister on her foot and as a result she has had to be in her wheelchair for a month. She has another three weeks to go before she can use her crutches again, so this wheelchair has been working overtime. We could not have done without it.”

Another Rolling Inspiration nominated recipient was Hope School. The school, located in Johannesburg, caters for physically disabled children. As Chris du Toit, project and fund co-ordinator for the school says, “Our resources are already stretched to the limit. The donation of this chair is an incredible help to us. It allows us to provide another chair for a child while he or she is at school, taking the logistical burden and cost off the parents.”

In addition to the wheelchair donations, Dis-Chem sponsored R20 000 in prize money for the Dis-Chem Interschool Wheelchair Race winners with a further R10 000 was sponsored by Bioharmony for the winning girls’ team. Dis-Chem suppliers, EVOX, USN and PERC, sponsored R45 000 in prize money for the winners of special fun events which included bucket building, pulling a truck, and slip-a-slide wrestling.

The event, which attracted 40 Pretoria high schools, was won by Affies, who were sponsored by Biogen. The girls event was won by the German School which was sponsored by Pharmaton.

Local celebrities who participated included Olympic medal winner Llewellyn Herbert, and Cats rugby star Tiaan Snyman. Gladiators Fox, Granite, Giant, and Jack were also part of the event. Professional body builders Steve Mululu, James Moorcroft, and Lebo Aphane also took part. Along with them were international long distance athlete Glenn Macnamara, and track athlete - Ms Physique - Tanya Opperman.

This year Dis-Chem donated R10 000 to QASA. Ari Seirlis, Director of QASA said, “We are thrilled at this new relationship and will be expanding our relationship with Dis-Chem to the benefit of the mobility impaired sector and Dis-Chem.”

The success of the Dis-Chem Wheelchair Race has been so successful that it is now a calendar highlight on Dis-Chem’s active social responsibility programme.

The Dis-Chem Pharmacies Interschool Wheelchair Race also saw the donation of 50 wheelchairs going to needy organisations and individuals. Rolling Inspiration nominated Adriana and the Hope School. Both are thrilled with their new wheelchairs. Pictured above with the Hope School chair is Adriana Janse van Rensburg, Chris du Toit, project and fund co-ordinator Hope School (right) and the headmaster of Hope School, Mr. Viljoen.

Results of Dis-Chem Interschool Wheelchair Race:

1.Affies sponsored by Biogen
2.Uitsig sponsored by Ranbaxy
3.Pretoria Tuine sponsored by Homedics

1.German School sponsored by Pharmaton SA
2.Pretoria Girls High sponsored by Nicobloc
3.Owerkryn sponsored by Ranbaxy

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