Annual Wheel-A-Thon supports people with disabilities


A trip to the grocery store, doing laundry and even going through a doorway are everyday activities that might not seem like a burden, but for a person in a wheelchair, it’s not always easy.

This year’s Wheel-A-Thon aims to increase the community’s awareness of the challenges those in wheelchairs face on a daily basis, while also raising money for IMPACT (Individualized Movement and Physical Activity for Children Today) and MSEP (Multiple Sclerosis Exercise Program).

“It’s to bring awareness of how difficult it is for people with disabilities to get through doorways or get up ramps or even go around a turn – everything we take for granted,” says Wheel-A-Thon coordinator and Exercise and Sport Science Pre-Therapy student Natalie Morgan. “We want to let students experience for themselves the challenges people in wheelchairs face so that they can better appreciate their situation.”wheel-a-thon

The event, hosted by the Pre-Therapy and Allied Health Club in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences, will be held from noon – 6 p.m. May 13 – 15 in the Memorial Union quad.

Activities will include a prize wheel, wheelchair drag race and wheelchair relay race on an obstacle course. A donation of $60 is recommended for each relay team of six to 10 people. Those wanting to watch, spin the prize wheel or participate in the drag race are also encouraged to donate. All proceeds will go toward the IMPACT and MSEP programs.

“IMPACT and MSEP are both amazing programs in the college that are always in need of donations, and this is such a great way to raise awareness about these programs and get the community involved with improving the lives of children and our peers with disabilities,” Natalie says.

The IMPACT program is expected to use money raised to purchase a new chair lift for the pool to be used during its Friday night program for children with special needs.

The three-day event will be open to everyone – students, athletic teams, faculty, local businesses. Those wanting to participate in the relay race are encouraged to sign up beforehand, as space is limited. Click here for the registration form.

wheel-a-thon-1This year, the 20-minute relay race will feature a laundry and grocery shopping challenge and door and ramp obstacles, among many others. Winners of the relay race will receive a Wheel-A-Thon trophy donated by R3 Engraving & Signs in South Corvallis.

“In the past we’ve had a ramp through a doorway where you have to manage opening the door, getting through (which is difficult), and then shutting the door behind you,” Natalie says. “Another fun challenge we had entailed loading a grocery bag with cans, grabbing your laundry, going through the course, then coming back and hanging your laundry and stacking the cans on shelves. This year will be slightly different – but that’s a surprise.”

The fundraiser continues outside of the quad as well. On Wednesday, May 15, Panda Express will donate a portion of its proceeds to the cause if you bring in a Wheel-A-Thon flyer. Flyers will be available at the event.

This year, event organizers hope to beat last year’s record of raising more than $3,800. The goal this year is to raise at least $5,000.

Everyone is welcome to participate or just stop by and watch the event.

“This event is so much fun, interactive and hands-on,” Natalie says. “It’s a great way to get people active, but the real benefit is how much it will help the IMPACT and MSEP programs on campus. It’s been great so far to see the support we’re getting from the community, and we’re very excited to see what this year brings.”