Free Wheelchair Mission Kicks Off "1 Million for 1 Million" Campaign

Powerful new documentary, "Because No One Should Have to Crawl," chronicles one-million-wheelchair journey.

Irvine, CA, November 09, 2017 --( Free Wheelchair Mission (FWM) brings its 1 Million for 1 Million campaign home to Orange County Thursday, Nov. 16, the third visit to supporters in cities across the nation in celebration of this summer’s major milestone - distributing one million wheelchairs to people in need in 93 countries around the world since 2001. The humanitarian, faith-based organization provides durable and adaptable wheelchairs at no cost to people with little to no mobility in developing nations.

Taking place at Corona Del Mar’s iconic Port Theater, a highlight of the event is the screening of the new documentary, “Because No One Should Have to Crawl,” narrated by Sam Waterston, best-known for his role on the TV show Law & Order. The documentary is part of the award-winning public television series “Visionaries,” now in its 22nd season, which highlights rarely told stories of nonprofit organizations around the world that make a positive difference in their community and beyond.

Some of the organization’s strongest and longest-run support comes from its Orange County ambassadors. The Nov. 16 event is hosted by the OC Women’s Council for Mobility, a group of residents from Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel and Irvine whose support have helped send thousands of wheelchairs to people in need around the world.

Free Wheelchair Mission began in 2001 in founder Don Schoendorfer’s garage, as the entrepreneur sought an innovative solution to the growing need for mobility in the developing world. Currently, an estimated 70 million people need a wheelchair but cannot afford one, leaving people without means to go to school, work, or care for themselves. Many are left to crawl on the ground as their means of transportation. Schoendorfer, an engineer by trade, found a way to build a wheelchair that could withstand the rugged terrain of developing countries, is easy to care for, yet costs just $80 for the organization to produce and deliver. Thanks to a strong network of supporters and global distributors, all recipients receive the wheelchair as a gift at no cost to them.

The documentary film includes dramatic footage. The scenes elicit both tears of sadness and tears of joy as it chronicles the organization’s journey through the years of delivering wheelchairs around the world. The documentary concludes with the grand finale - a trip to Peru this past summer to give the millionth wheelchair to a 12-year-old girl who desperately needed mobility due to an illness that left her mentally and physically impaired.

As Free Wheelchair Mission celebrates the millionth milestone, there are no plans to slow down. The goal is to deliver its next million wheelchairs by 2025, half the time it took to give out the first million. The 1 Million for 1 Million campaign kicked off in Prescott, Ariz. Oct. 22 and then made stops in Boston and Madison, Conn. Following Orange County, the tour will travel to Houston. More cities will be added to the tour through spring 2018. Each city was selected because of its concentration of supporters of Free Wheelchair Mission, many tied to churches and ambassadors that have provided both funds and volunteer help to FWM over the years.

“Free Wheelchair Mission doesn’t just provide a wheelchair, it provides hope and independence to many that never dreamed of being able to walk or care for themselves,” said Lori Philp, Chair, OC Women’s Council for Mobility. “Each chair delivered represents a life changed; the recipients have better access to education, employment, and social activities all through the gift of a wheelchair. We hope to share this mission with more people so, together, we can help transform more lives even faster.”

The 1 Million for 1 Million campaign invites individuals to transform the life of one of the world’s neediest people – those living with disabilities in the developing world. Schoendorfer believes that the dramatic, real-life stories showcased in the new documentary will inspire viewers to give the gift of mobility. The campaign is based on a simple premise: if one million individuals become inspired, they will be empowered to transform one million lives, one wheelchair at a time.

Join Free Wheelchair Mission at its tour stop in Orange County:

Thursday, November 16, 2017
6 p.m. doors open, 6:30 p.m. film screening followed by an intimate Q&A with Don Schoendorfer
Port Theater, 2905 East Coast Hwy, Corona del Mar, CA 92625
Attendance is free to the public with RSVP:

Interviews available:
Don Schoendorfer, founder, president and CEO, Free Wheelchair Mission
Lori Philip, Chair, OC Women’s Council for Mobility

Media interested in attending please RSVP to Delaine Moore at

About Free Wheelchair Mission:
Free Wheelchair Mission (FWM) is a humanitarian, faith-based, nonprofit organization that provides wheelchairs at no cost to people with disabilities living in developing nations. In collaboration with a network of like-minded partners, Free Wheelchair Mission has provided more than one million wheelchairs to those living with a disability in 93 developing nations since 2001, providing dignity, independence, and hope through the gift of mobility. Learn more at
HKA Marketing Communications
Delaine Moore