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Published By Right at Home on July 05, 2017

At the recent Right at Home annual conference in Omaha, CEO and President Brian Petranick announced to more than 330 franchises a systemwide, global initiative to collect donations for Free Wheelchair Mission, a humanitarian, nonprofit organization that provides wheelchairs at no cost to people with disabilities in developing nations. As a leading in-home senior care franchise in the country, Right at Home is primed to help provide much-needed awareness and resources to an organization that aligns with Right at Home's mission "to improve the quality of life for those we serve."

Free Wheelchair Mission founder Don Schoendorfer left his successful career in the biomedical field after witnessing firsthand a woman's struggle to cross a busy road in Morocco while he was on vacation. This inspired him to draw on his engineering background to create an inexpensive and durable wheelchair, and in 2001, he founded Free Wheelchair Mission. Since then, the organization has donated wheelchairs to people in 93 countries around the world. Right at Home franchise owners Diane and Rick Carson in Modesto, California, and Melanie Lamar Hancock in Washington, D.C., and a website associate on the corporate staff in Omaha, Brooke Shigley, all participated with the organization in a "vision trip" to deliver wheelchairs in 2015. The Right at Home corporate team was so touched upon hearing about the cause that they decided to launch the Free Wheelchair Mission initiative to the global Right at Home network in the spring of 2017.

"The mission of Right at Home aligns perfectly with Free Wheelchair Mission," said Petranick. "We are committed to improving the quality of life for those we serve, and I cannot think of a better cause to rally our franchise system to support. I look forward to seeing what our entire system is able to do for such a great cause."

Schoendorfer was in attendance at the Right at Home conference to address the franchise system and talk about the program and how the two missions align. The entire system will be collecting donations, and this fall, 12 people, comprised of corporate team members and franchisees, will be going to Costa Rica to assemble and deliver wheelchairs. Since the launch, Right at Home has raised $132,711 for Free Wheelchair Mission. This is equivalent to three containers totaling 1,650 wheelchairs for distribution. Because each wheelchair has a positive impact on three people, this donation means that 4,950 lives will be touched. Right at Home will continue to fundraise for wheelchair containers in 2018 and beyond.

"Right at Home has an amazingly unified group of employees and franchisees focused on the mission to improve the quality of life for its clients," said Schoendorfer. "It's truly remarkable how the Right at Home franchise system can expand this focus to the developing world to fellow human beings with a very basic need—the need for mobility."

With an estimated 100 million people around the world today in need of a wheelchair but without the means to get one, Free Wheelchair Mission strives to distribute 70,000 to 80,000 chairs annually, and now, with Right at Home as a strategic partner, the nonprofit continues to pursue its goal to distribute wheelchairs to the nearly 100 million people without mobility around the globe.


Free Wheelchair Mission 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, FWM has been providing wheelchairs to those in need around the world since 2001, providing dignity, independence and hope through the gift of mobility.

Free Wheelchair Mission will be a leading provider of mobility, transforming the lives of 1,212,000 people with physical disabilities by the end of 2020.


Founded in 1995, Right at Home offers in-home companionship and personal care and assistance to seniors and adults with a disability who want to continue to live independently. Local Right at Home offices are independently owned and operated and directly employ and supervise all caregiving staff, each of whom is thoroughly screened, trained, and bonded/insured prior to entering a client's home. Right at Home's global office is based in Omaha, Nebraska, with more than 500 franchise locations in the U.S. and seven other countries. For more information on Right at Home, visit About Right at Home at or read the Right at Home franchising blog at To learn more about franchising opportunities, please visit

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