Local organization provides used medical equipment to people in need

LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB) -- Hundreds of Kentuckians with disabilities are being helped by complete strangers, and a local organization is making those life-changing connections happen.

"Tragically, my husband was diagnosed with early onset of Alzheimer's at age 50," Donna Benton said.

Several years ago, Alzheimer's forced Benton's husband Doug into a wheelchair.

"He was 6 feet 7 inches, so no regular wheelchair," Donna Benton said.

The military helped purchase a custom-made wheelchair for Benton's husband, and he used it until the end of his life.

But after his death, it was a constant reminder of the loss.

"Every time I looked at it, it was very painful. But it took a year to be able to say it is time."

That's when she reached out to CARAT, an organization that refurbishes used medical equipment and gives it to people in need. It stands for Coordinating and Assisting the Reuse of Assistive Technology.

"The next day, we got a call from a family in Lexington who had a father, 85-year-old father, who was I believe 6 feet 5 inches and needed a custom wheelchair," said Sheila Levy, Outreach Coordinator for Project CARAT.

Levy helped facilitate the life changing exchange.

"They said that the father's outlook on life improved immediately," she said.

Friday morning, the organization delivered a used electric wheelchair to a JCPS student.

"Has to be carried on and off the school bus, that's, that's impeding his socialization," Levy said.

Levy said the need is great, and she's making a public plea for more people to donate medical equipment that is not being used.

"Our program depends on donations, so we need a constant stream of donations to serve our consumer."

"It was a very healing and powerful experience," Benton said.

You've heard of "giving until it hurts", well, Donna Benton said, this time it felt good.

"I handed over the wheelchair ,and he was overwhelmed by what that was going to mean for his father ... and I was so happy."

To find out how to donate or if you have a need, you can contact CARAT.

Toll Free 1-800-327-5287


Email: info@projectcarat.org

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