Photos by Stephanie Perez.
Last month, a Claremont family asked for help to replace their son’s special beach wheelchair. Today, after receiving overwhelming support from the community, the family has donated two special beach wheelchairs to the City of Long Beach, so that others may have the same opportunities for fun in the sun.
“It’s been a fantastic response from the community, where a terrible thing happened to Patrick, but something good [came out of it], not just for him but the whole community,” said Mike Freeman, Patrick’s father.
On August 3, the Freeman family attended a Long Beach camp geared toward people with disabilities, but when they awoke the next morning their trailer, which was storing the wheelchair, was gone.
Patrick and his parents were having dinner at a local restaurant after finishing his first day at Land Meets Sea sports camp when he began having seizures. He went into a full tonic-clonic seizure on their way back to the hotel, forcing the family to pull over to the side of road and call an ambulance, Mike said. The family eventually left their vehicle and trailer parked at the hotel, but they never saw the trailer again.
After AccessRec LLC, the makers of the beach wheelchair, donated a replacement for Patrick, his family raised enough money to donate two of the chairs to the city of Long Beach.
“One of the chairs will be at the Leeway Sailing Center, where it can be checked out and the other chair is reporting with the lifeguard services at Mother’s Beach,” said Lori Jarmacz, Recreation Superintendent for the Long Beach Parks, Recreation And Marine Department.
These wheelchairs are unique because they have buoyancy, where they can actually go into the water and float, compared to the several standard all-terrain wheelchairs located throughout the city, Jarmacz said.
Last month, a Claremont family called on the public to help replace their son's special beach wheelchair that had been stolen in Long Beach. Today, the family paid it forward, donating two of the same wheelchairs to the City of Long Beach. Read more: lbpo.st/2bV7UK3Posted by Long Beach Post on Wednesday, September 7, 2016
The family still hopes to reach their goal of raising $20,000 to donate a total of 10 wheelchairs at Southern California beaches through their YouCaring fundraiser account. Once funds for a third beach wheelchair have been met, the family plans on making the donation in the Los Angeles area.