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Non-profit revamps old wheelchairs for affordability

Tom Boman

Non-profit revamps old wheelchairs for affordability

By Megan Marsden Christensen | Posted - Jan. 8, 2015 at 10:03 a.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY — Wheelchairs tend to be very costly, but a local, non-profit organization has given hundreds of refurbished wheelchairs at a reduced price to people with disabilities.

Citizens Reutilizing Assistive Technology Equipment, also known as CReATE, takes in used manual wheelchairs, power wheelchairs and scooters and recycles them for a flat rate, according to program coordinator Tom Boman.

“Folks don’t have to qualify for the program, and we don’t look at insurance,” Boman said. “They can give us a call, and we can set up a time to have them come in or talk to them over the phone.”

Manual wheelchairs cost about $150, while power wheelchairs range from $400 to $560, depending on the size of the batteries. If some can’t afford the reduced costs, CReATE will connect them with a grant program that provides assistance, Boman said.

It makes this all worthwhile when you can get that look on people's face when they get more independence, self-respect and dignity.

–Tom Boman

“It’s pretty neat to be able to tailor something to meet someone’s needs,” Boman said. “It makes this all worthwhile when you can get that look on people’s face when they get more independence, self-respect and dignity.”

One Salt Lake man couldn’t afford to buy a wheelchair from a vendor, and the vendor ended up contacting CReATE, who provided a nearly identical wheelchair for the man for $500 rather than $25,000, Boman said.

CReATE receives regular donations and distributes more than 10 wheelchairs and scooters a month.

While they are busy, it takes about 3 weeks to send out a chair after it is ordered, Boman said. If they have extra chairs ready, it could be a matter of days before customers receive their order.

CReATE is sponsored through the Utah State University Utah Assistive Technology Program, and it serves the entire state.

To inquire about purchasing a recycled wheelchair or scooter, or to find out how you can help CReATE, call 801-887-9398 or visit their website.

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Megan Marsden Christensen


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