On December 22, 2015, ROC Wheels received word that, Gift, a four year old living in South Sudan received delivery of her brand new REACH wheelchair. Several months earlier in September, we were contacted by Jeanie Tidwell who has been serving as a short term missionary in South Sudan for the past 8 years. Jeanie told us the story of Gift and how she had been born with an extremely rare syndrome called Tetra Amelia (only 7 known cases in the world today) which causes the child to be born without arms and legs. Many told the mother of Gift, Jerissa, that she should starve the baby because of these complications but she chose to keep her.
Wayne Hanson, our co-founder, was able to modify our current reach chair so that Gift would stay secure and properly supported in her new chair. Leggero, a wheelchair manufacturer, based out of Bozeman, MT also generously donated their time and resources to make sure that the wheelchair included important support features. Thanks to Jeanie and her donors, Gift is now more mobile than she has ever been. Gift's mother stated that she is now relived from the pressure of leaving her daughter with children who were tired of carrying the child from one place to another. Gift is now able to be easily moved from one place to another by wheelchair.
Life in South Sudan is extremely hard for a child that is healthy and without handicaps, but it will be even more difficult for Gift. One of the reasons I felt she needed a "special ride" was so that she could more easily go to school. Her parents also expressed concern for finances to educate her. At this time in South Sudan many can only afford to eat one meal each day, some cannot even eat everyday. Many have to make the decision to feed or educate their children and of course from necessity they do their best to simply feed them. I would ask for prayer for all children in South Sudan to have food to eat and an opportunity to have an education, even for special education as will be required for Gift.