FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SURF CITY USA® MARATHON IMPACTS THE WORLD
Partnership with Free Wheelchair Mission has raised and donated $1.2
million and distributed more than 26,000 specially designed wheelchairs to
people across the globe
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. – For the fourth consecutive year, the Surf City
USA® Marathon (Feb. 1, 2009) is teaming up with the Free Wheelchair
Mission for a fundraising event that is directly responsible for changing
the lives of 26,658 disabled people across the globe.
In the Fourth Annual "Run for Mobility", the event's 16,000 runners are
encouraged to use the Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K as a way to raise
funds that sends specially engineered wheelchairs to needy and developing
nations. Information is available at www.runformobility.org.
An alliance first forged in 2006, Surf City USA Marathon runners have
raised nearly $1,200,000 in just three short years. This year's target is
$600,000 and an additional 11,600 chairs. Each wheelchair is made of
mountain bike tires and durable outdoor furniture, designed to withstand
all types of weather conditions and often rough terrain in underdeveloped
countries. One wheelchair costs under $52.00 manufactured and shipped.
"It's truly amazing to think that our race in Huntington Beach has impacted
so many needy people across the globe," said Surf City USA Marathon General
Manager Amy Tomchak. "If stretched wheel-to-wheel across the 26.2 mile
marathon course, the number of wheelchairs distributed to date nearly
covers that span."
The Irvine, Calif.-based Free Wheelchair Mission has delivered 346,333
chairs as of Nov. 2008. While conventional wheelchairs can cost between
$500 and $30,000, founder Don Schoendorfer, a mechanical engineer,
developed an inexpensive version. A simple contraption made from a plastic
lawn chair and 24-inch mountain bike tires, these waterproof and durable
wheelchairs can easily navigate the unpaved, rocky and rutted roads that
are common in the impoverished countries served by the charity.
"Free Wheelchair Mission Board Members for years wanted a way to tie
athletics and movement into actually changing the lives of those waiting
for help," said John Sexton, Executive Director. "It just made sense for
an organization committed to providing mobility to have a fund raising
event that revolved around mobility itself.
"The partnership with Surf City Marathon was a dream come true and it gives
so many people an opportunity to use their passion for running and walking
to make a difference. Run for Mobility" has become a cornerstone of our
annual fund raising efforts and would not be possible without the support
of the entire Surf City Marathon management team."
Run For Mobility Story Starters:
The Run for Mobility has played an instrumental role in the
distribution of more than 100,000 wheelchairs to 15 Spanish-speaking
countries. Among the key recipients are Chile, Peru, Costa Rica, El
Salvador and Mexico.
With the assistance of the U.S. Military, 15,000 wheelchairs have been
delivered to the Iraqi people since 2003; the most recent shipment was via
the U.S. Army within the past year. High resolution photographs are
available upon request.
Paralympic Gold Medalist Josh George, arguably the best wheelchair
athlete in the world, is the keynote speaker at the annual Run for Mobility