DPT Students Raise Funds for Wheelchairs

Feb 8, 2017

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Franklin Pierce University students are working hard to make a difference in the state of New Hampshire by making the state’s beaches and lakes accessible to those confined to a wheelchair.

When Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) student Adrienne Olney and her peers in the class of 2018 learned that floating beach wheelchairs were not available on New Hampshire shores, the group made it their mission to purchase the equipment and donate it for the benefit of the disabled populations who visit Granite State beaches.

“One of my favorite places to make summer memories with my daughter is at the beach,” Olney said. “It is unacceptable that other families do not have the same opportunity simply because this equipment is not available to them. As my peers and I move forward as professionals in the community, it is our duty to give back, take initiative, and think big,” Olney added. 

Olney got the idea after being introduced to Small Miracles in Life Exist (SMILE Mass), a Massachusetts-based non-profit organization. Olney partnered with SMILE Mass President and Co-founder Lotte Diomede to launch this fundraiser. SMILE Mass will procure the chairs and facilitate their upkeep. 

“We are extremely proud of Adrienne and her class,” said President Kim Mooney. “This inspiring group exemplifies the greatest potential in a Franklin Pierce student, and given their impact on the state of New Hampshire as students, we can’t wait to see what they go on to do as professionals.”

The number of chairs purchased will depend on the scope of the funds raised. Through campus bake sales and an online fundraising page (view the donation page here), the group has raised more than $7,000 toward a $10,000 goal in less than two weeks.

Diomede will visit Olney and her class at the Franklin Pierce Manchester Center on Wednesday, February 8 at noon to bring them lunch as a “thank you” for their efforts.

"SMILE Mass is so honored to have met Adrienne. She is not only hardworking and smart, but her kind heart and desire to give back to others who are not as privileged as her is something she preaches every day, without even knowing. SMILE Mass would like to thank Adrienne and her whole class for helping us place floating beach wheelchairs on the beautiful beaches of New Hampshire," Diomede said.