A wheelchair for places wheelchairs can't go | News

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A wheelchair for places wheelchairs can't go

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. -- Hand-cranked carts, made on the First Coast, are changing peoples' lives around the world.


Volunteers make carts for people in third world countries who have lost the use of their legs.

Seun Oke is from Nigeria. The 26-year-old took the grand tour of The P.E.T. Place in Penney Farms, a workshop, this week. Volunteers at The P.E.T. Place make the kind of cart she relies on. P.E.T. stands for personal energy transportation.

When Seun was 8-years-old, she was diagnosed with polio and she lost the use of her legs.

"Before the P.E.T. cart, I was crawling on the ground," Seun remembered. "I could not move around. I did not know how to associate with people because I did not have something to be mobilized."

She and millions of others in third world countries -- who can't use their legs -- are left to crawl and rely on other people. Those with that disability are often shunned by society.

A doctor suggested Suen receive a P.E.T. cart when she was 16, and now she is a college graduate, lives on her own, and has a job...and she gets there via her P.E.T. cart.

"I am able to move wherever I wish," she smiled.

P.E.T. carts go where wheelchairs cannot, and they give people lives they cannot have otherwise.

It costs $250 to produce and ship a cart. The program is all volunteer and is supported with donations. P.E.T. has 24 productions sites in the United States and the carts have been shipped to 100 countries.

For more information about P.E.T. click here.

This week, Seun is visiting with people half-a-world away who have changed her life. They are volunteers like Sid Rooy, 88, who worked in Latin America and saw people who had lost their limbs from land mines.

Rooy said, "When I saw these vehicles (the P.E.T. carts) and what they do and how they can make a new life possible for people who are immobile, I thought, 'That's going to be my main contribution in volunteering.'" Just thinking about it makes him teary-eyed.

Wednesday, Seun wheeled over to almost every volunteer inside The P.E.T. Place and thanked them. Her big smile immediately made others smile.

"I'm very grateful. It's very interesting," she said.

Seun says these volunteers and these carts have given her and thousands of others independence and the freedom to move.


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