San Jose, Costa Rica – The lack of mobility has many origins and on this 2014 International Rare Disease Day, the Canadian Wheelchair Foundation strives to highlight those whose lives have been compromised by relatively unknown causes. In step with this year’s focus on joining together to deliver better care outcomes for the millions of people worldwide with rare diseases, a group of our partners were privileged to have the opportunity to make a difference in the life of one such individual.
Anamaria Socarras is a teacher living in San Jose, Costa Rica who has struggled since birth with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. This condition is a group of inherited disorders that affect your connective tissues — primarily your skin, joints and blood vessel walls. It causes bruising, overly flexible joints, weakened tissues, and stretchy, fragile skin. In Ana’s case this has resulted in constant pain, damaged cartilage, misplaced knee caps and ultimately Ana’s loss of personal mobility.
Through the generosity of members of the Saskatchewan Knights of Columbus, long standing supporters of the foundation, Ana received a brand new wheelchair this month. The Knights worked closely with members of Club Activo 20-30 Internacional, San Jose to identify and distribute over 130 wheelchairs and other mobility aids to people in the city and surrounding villages of San Jose in mid-February. The Knights and family members traveled to Costa Rica to help with the delivery where they were introduced to Ana.
Gratitude and humility run deep when sponsors meet those they have been working for months to try and reach with help. In her own words Ana expressed the feelings of every recipient “You guys are angels carrying wheelchairs to us in need. Thank you, from my heart, and may the Lord bless you.” Ana so looks forward to again being able to attend the weekly Sunday concerts in her community’s local park.
The Canadian Wheelchair Foundation is an independent Canadian registered charity with the goal to deliver brand new, free wheelchairs to persons with physical disabilities throughout the world who are without mobility or the means to acquire a wheelchair. With a strong focus on developing and newly industrialized states, the Canadian Wheelchair Foundation continues to change the lives of people and communities with a gift that extends hope, dignity, opportunity and independence to all.