Wheelchair Solutions, a company that caters to wheelchair users through the convenience and usefulness of its wheelchair products and accessories, donated wheelchair cushions, covers, and backpacks to the clients at United Cerebral Palsy of Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties (UCPLA)’s Santa Monica branch on Tuesday. UCPLA is a direct-care service provider and advocate for persons with developmental disabilities.
Kathy Mondotte, Principle/Designer of Wheelchair Solutions, attributes the catalyst behind the concept of the company to a spinal cord injury in 1999 that confined her in a wheelchair for over a year.
Through this accident came a series of unforeseen challenges regarding standard wheelchairs, including the fact that their cushions are usually uncomfortable and insufficient, they lack style, and they do not offer any secure places to store personal items.
Mondotte sought to find a solution to this inconvenience, not just for herself, but for all wheelchair users in general.
She patented a cushion with a three-inch, high-density pad, a security pocket for personal items, and a set of matching arm covers.
Not only did this relieve some of the pain she was experiencing, but the simple ability to “dress” her wheelchair and give it a “wardrobe” of sorts helped to rev up her mood as well.
In this way, the products that Wheelchair Solutions offer are able to provide both the practicality of comfort and the fun aesthetic of style.
“These products jazz things up,” Mondotte said. “They make people feel better.”
Alongside her strong philosophy of giving back and her creative talents, Mondotte has created a variance of reasonably-priced products that can be utilized on wheelchairs, walkers, rollers, and slings.
Wheelchair Solutions products are machine washable, easy to use, and come in several designs and patterns.
“We were looking at different groups to decide who we wanted to work with,” Mondotte said. “UCPLA is one of the most well-run organizations in California and supports a great cause.”
Representatives from Wheelchair Solutions, including Mondotte and Denis Karpeles, senior vice-president of the company, visited the UCPLA facility to present the gifts to its clients.
Ronald S. Cohen, President and CEO of the UCP branches in Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara Counties (collectively known as UCPLA), warmly greeted the representatives and introduced the organization to them through a guided tour. UCPLA provides affordable, fully accessible housing for its clients at the Hacienda del Mar apartments in Santa Monica, one of 11 housing facilities in the region.
“Hacienda del Mar was built in the 20’s as a community clinic,” Cohen explained. “It’s a registered historic site. We bought it when it was a condemned building, and with funding from outside sources like the county and the state, it’s become what it is today.”
Hacienda del Mar now boasts several well-kept, roomy apartment spaces for UCPLA clients to “come and go as they please.”
Personal attendants offer basic services such as helping clients eat, bathe, and dress, though the type and extent of such services depend on individual needs.
The UCPLA clients also have the opportunity to learn everyday life skills, such as using public transportation, finding access to medical care, and figuring out the concept of banking/financing.
As the Wheelchair Solutions handed out the gifts to the wheelchair users, the employees at UCP expressed their appreciative sentiments. Several of their clients received products that would ensure an increased sense of comfort and relief as they travel in their wheelchairs.
“This is our first donation event as a company,” Mondotte said. “It’s the start of a lot of things to come.”
On Wednesday, Wheelchair Solutions donated nearly 50 products to the UCP facility in Chatsworth as well.
For more information on Wheelchair Solutions, visit wheelchair-solutions.com.
For more information on United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), visit ucpla.org.