August 15, 2001
By Bill Cresenzo,
When Holly Woodard was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis about five years ago, she didn't have any problem affording a walker.
But, at $160, it wasn't cheap. Woodard
wondered how many other disabled people weren't as fortunate. And the idea
for IMAGINE was born.
"I realized that there are elderly people and low-income people that just can't afford these types of things, or don't have insurance," Woodard said.
IMAGINE stands for Increased Mobility and Greater Independence Equipment. It's a nonprofit group that Woodard, who lives in Raleigh, runs. Woodard and volunteers collect new and used walkers and wheelchairs, and other things that assist the disabled, and give them away.
She was in Alamance County on Tuesday to pick up walkers, crutches and wheelchairs that people bought at the Hospice League's annual flea market last week and donated to her group.
More than 50 people have benefited from IMAGINE, said Woodard, who runs the program out of her home. People use the equipment and "when they don't need it, they give it back and we refurbish it and re-gift it."
Now the group has an "adopt a ramp" program. Volunteers are building mod-ular ramps for people who need them. When the disabled person recovers, or passes away, the ramps are moved to another home.
The program is open to disabled people in North Carolina who can't afford equipment.
IMAGINE is looking for volunteers
to help coordinate the program and is accepting inquiries from people who
need free equipment. They can contact Woodard at (919) 779-3487.