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Photography by Jeff More, Rich and Masha Skolburg
The handsomely appointed Hilton Hotel Costa Mesa was the setting for the 9th Annual Magic of Mobility Gala which raised more than $1 million dollars net, the equivalent of 15,810 wheelchairs, for Free Wheelchair Mission (FWM), located in Irvine. The organization provides the gift of mobility to the impoverished disabled in developing nations.
Chairwoman Deborah Anderson was pleased with the results of all the hard work put in to making the evening such a success. “The evening was magical from start to finish,” she said with a smile. “Our special guest speaker, wheelchair recipient Fabio Calderon Bolanos was simply amazing, what an inspiration!”
She continued, “Our organization has been blessed beyond measure, from the generosity of our donors, sponsors, and volunteers, in helping to make this event run so smoothly. I have been honored to be part of this journey.”
FWM Founder and President Dr. Don Schoendorfer said, “There were times I just had to stop thinking, close my eyes and thank God he brought us together, all of us, and gave us this assignment. Thousands more wheelchair recipients now have a chance for a better life.”
Guests enjoyed fine cuisine and friendly camaraderie, an art exhibit and auction. They listened intently as wheelchair recipient Fabio Calderon Bolanos, who traveled all the way from Columbia with Maria Emilia and Ana Maria Borda, and who spoke passionately about the opportunity of a lifetime that his wheelchair has provided him, and his gratitude to FWM for changing his life. Mr. Bolanos thanked supporters for willing to step up and make a difference in the lives of people they will likely never meet. He later performed marimba to a standing ovation.
Event sponsors and VIPs seen mingling in the crowd and talking with Mr. Bolanos and his guests included Robin and Linda Boyd, Michelle Lund, Neva and Brad Koon, Ines and Jim Franklin, Alan and Beverly Bergstedt, Marty and Denny Kromer, John and Timary Delorme Daniel and Amy Hughes, Stephen Fishwick, Robert and Adriana Santini and Linda Thomas.
Corporate and foundation sponsors who played an important role in the event included HIS Foundation, Nuwest Insurance Services, Hanson Family Charitable Foundation.
Attendees received a Caña Flecha bracelet to remind everyone of the fun they had, and to be used as a tool to spread the word about Free Wheelchair Mission and the global issues surrounding mobility.
Free Wheelchair Mission is a humanitarian, faith-based organization, in service to “provide the transforming gift of mobility to the impoverished disabled in developing countries, as motivated by Jesus Christ.”
Since 2001, FWM has sent over 648,000 specially-made wheelchairs to over 85 countries around the world, sharing the gifts of dignity, independence and hope.