Kevin Ely to Finish 50th Marathon for Wheelchairs, 5/28
Kevin Ely from Geneva, IL, will cross the finish line in Traverse City, MI, at the Bayshore Marathon on May 28, which will mark the completion of his 50th marathon for mobility. He has been running a marathon in every state to raise awareness and funds for Free Wheelchair Mission (FWM), a humanitarian, faith-based nonprofit that distributes a low-cost, free wheelchair to people in developing countries.
In February, 2014, Ely traveled to Huntington Beach, CA, for the Surf City Marathon. Walking through the expo before the race, the Free Wheelchair Mission booth caught his attention. The organization transforms lives through the gift of mobility - a gift Ely and his family already have. That day he was focused on running 26.2 miles and FWM was focused on lifting lives off the ground.
Ely and his wife, Sarah, have two daughters, Olivia and Evelyn. Evelyn was born 10 ½ weeks premature. Despite many physical, neurological and visual challenges, she is moving around quite well. Ely says, "I am blessed to have a job, insurance, doctors, therapists, etc. to get Evelyn to where she is today. Thanks to the amazing support available to us, she has the gift of mobility."
In many countries, those resources aren't available. Over 100 million people in the world do not have access to a wheelchair. Ely said, "I have been given so much and it is time for me to pay it forward, or in my case, run it forward. When I get tired on the race course, I remember those who can't run, what they would give to have this simple gift that I take for granted, and I run harder for them."
To date, FWM has distributed over 910,000 wheelchairs in 91 different countries and Ely has personally raised $42,850 to ship container of wheelchairs (550 chairs).
About Free Wheelchair Mission:
Free Wheelchair Mission is a humanitarian, faith-based non-profit headquartered in Irvine, Calif. It provides wheelchairs at no cost to people with disabilities 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.