Oregon charity bringing outdoor opportunity for wheelchair users | News | kezi.com

2023-03-23 16:30:20 By : Ms. May Wang

WHITE CITY, Ore. -- One Oregon charity is making it possible for those who use wheelchairs to experience the beauty of the state’s toughest terrain.

Everyone knows the beauty that Oregon offers – from luscious green forests to snow-capped mountains and the breathtaking sights and sounds of the Oregon coast. However, for some, experiencing the state’s beauty is a challenge, especially for those who use a wheelchair. One Oregon charity is doing what it can to make sure everyone can explore the great outdoors.

Steve Furst is the founder and CEO of David’s Chair, a charity that provides specialized wheelchairs and paragolfers that people with a mobility disability can use to enjoy mother nature. The chairs themselves are heavy-duty mobility machines that can handle almost any type of terrain they might face.

"We just believe that people should have the opportunity to have outdoor recreation,” Furst said. “Mobility challenges and impairment shouldn't keep people from getting to the beach, strolling on the beach with your family, going hunting, using our national parks, our state parks and things like that."

Furst started David’s Chair in 2017, and named it after his high school friend who passed away from ALS. David was an Avid outdoorsman, and he wasn’t going to let his diagnosis stop him from living his life to the fullest.

"He just knew that ALS was a disease that was going to take his mobility and freedom quick, and he wanted to try and spend that year doing the things he loved,” Furst said. “We purchased his original chair in June of 2017.”

Unfortunately for David, there is no cure for ALS and he knew his time was limited. David wanted to make sure that others in his situation got to enjoy the great outdoors just as much as he did.

“David had thought, ‘hey, I'm not gonna live very long,’ that was one of the things he understood and knew about living with ALS,” Furst said. “That time was short and he wanted somebody else to have the chair.”

David’s Chair owns 13 heavy-duty chairs and two paragolfers. They host excursions throughout Oregon, and anybody with a mobility disability can sign up to use the chair, whether it be on the beach or on a snowy mountaintop.

Those who have used the chairs themselves said it’s made a big impact on their lives.

"Previously in the past I was carried piggy back or on a beach blanket with three or four friends dragging me across the sand, then I'd be sitting in one spot all day long,” said Mark Towery, a person who has used one of the wheelchairs offered by David’s Chair. “Now I can freely go where I want."

The next big project for David’s Chair is to get their operation to the coast permanently. They are in the process of putting a chair in Seaside and at the Manzanita Visitor Center, and they don’t plan on stopping there.

"We want to have them all up and down the coast, and we've recently been in communication with a group in Florence that would like to bring the chairs, so we're hoping that we can bring the chairs to Florence nearby and we're also working on a couple of locations in Coos Bay," Furst said. "We love Coos Bay and we think it's a great area. Florence is a great area, and we're just grinding through the process to try and bring the chairs to that part of the coast."

David’s Chair is always busy raising money to support their excursions and get more people outside in their chairs. They host charity events, fundraisers, and accept donations online as well. The money going to their efforts gives people with disabilities their freedom back to experience the wonders of Oregon once again.

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