News Release

The Church of Jesus Christ Donates Specialized Pediatric Wheelchairs to Jordanian Children

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has long made a practice of donating wheelchairs to the needy in the Middle East. For the first time, however, a recent shipment of 1,125 chairs to the Al Hussein Society in Amman, Jordan, included 300 highly specialized pediatric supportive chairs to bless the lives of disabled children.

Each child who receives one of these state-of-the-art wheelchairs will need to be properly assessed, measured, prescribed, and fitted to ensure greater function and comfort for their sensitive bodies. The pediatric supportive chairs are designed for children with significant congenital disorders, such as cerebral palsy or spina bifida, and can be adapted to the needs of the individual.

Because the high-end pediatric wheelchairs require specific skills and education to fit each child, the Church sent a team from Salt Lake City, Utah, to train the eight physical and occupational therapists and four technicians who serve at the Al Hussein Society.

Annette Myers, who is a pediatric physical therapist, and her husband, Mark Myers, a mechanical engineer, spent 40 hours across five days training the Al Hussein Society therapists and technicians how to measure, assess, prescribe, fit and build wheelchairs to accommodate the particular needs of each youngster. Mark and Georgia Anderson, who serve as technical specialists for the Church’s wheelchair program in the Middle East, organized the logistics of the donation and joined the Myers to conduct the training program.

Equipped with newly acquired wheelchairs and specialized training, the Al Hussein Society will be able to improve the lives of many local children. Annette Myers noted, “We were delighted to find the Al Hussein Society therapists and technicians to be very qualified to do this work. They were prepared, eager to learn and experienced with children. They were a joy to teach and will now be able to serve many young people.”

The therapists and technicians meticulously fitted nine youngsters attending the Al Hussein Society’s School for Disabled Children in new chairs during the five days of training. The children who received wheelchairs were carefully ministered to, one by one. This individual attention will be given to every youngster who receives a wheelchair from the Al Hussein Society in the future.

The difference that the more comfortable and functional chairs made was reflected in the bright, happy smiles of the kids.

“This is a population that can’t sit by themselves,” explained Annette Myers, “so we see almost immediately how a properly fitted supportive chair increases each child’s ability to interact with their families and with the world around them. It is delightful to see their lives improve so dramatically.”

Mai Alramahi, director of the Rehabilitation Program at Al Hussein Society, was grateful for the training received and the teamwork of her therapists as they learned. She noted, “When we worked together to help the children, we could see the happiness and joy of each child as they were properly fitted in their specialized chair.”

Most of the parents of the nine children were on hand to participate in the training on the proper use of their child’s new supportive pediatric chair. Lexie and Jack Rolfe, volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who reside in Jordan, also joined the five-day training course. Lexie Rolfe enjoyed seeing the reaction of the parents, saying, “It was touching to watch the parents’ faces as they shared their children’s joy. They were all so very grateful for the new wheelchairs.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has for years been working with the Al Hussein Society, the leading provider of programs and services in Jordan for people living with disabilities. Both organizations agree that the pediatric supportive wheelchairs will be a vital new addition that will bless the lives of many little ones and their families.

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