All Things are Possible – Josh’s Journey
With more than 1,100 wheelchairs delivered over the course of his latest visit to South America, 30-year-old Josh Routh returns home from a recent distribution trip and resumes life back in California, feeling fortunate for his own independence.
An avid supporter of the Wheelchair Foundation and member of the wheelchair distribution team, Josh can personally relate to each recipient and acts as an ambassador to the physically disabled, bringing cheer and encouragement to everyone he meets.
Josh has cerebral palsy and has been using a wheelchair for most of his life, but he continues to prove that all things are possible with hope and determination. Josh’s father, Don Routh, traveled with his son on last month’s journey and in a heartfelt letter to the Wheelchair Foundation, he shares his experience:
“Josh and I just returned from a wonderful trip to Chile, Argentina and Peru where we delivered over 1,100 wheelchairs. The stories we brought back are heartwarming and the tears we shared with the recipients will be etched in our minds forever.
In Peru, we worked with the Minister of Defense to deliver wheelchairs to disabled vets, as well as civilians. Below is a letter we just received from one of the military personnel who accompanied us during our stay.
Without your donations, none of this would be possible. Josh and I are just the messengers that get to reap the rewards of your generosity.
By the way… while at the Southern tip of Chile, we had the opportunity to visit a glacier. After a three hour journey by boat and Zodiac, Josh was pulled and pushed and sometimes carried in his wheelchair, but most of the time, with help, he walked the 1-1/2 miles to the base of the glacier. The locals said he was the first person in a wheelchair to ever reach the glacier!”
– Don Routh, Josh’s Father
Josh’s inspirational effort to reach the Serrano Glacier in Chile is a reminder of how significant mobility can be for our independence and freedom. According to Josh, his motivation to achieve this accomplishment was:
“to show people I could do it, to see something I wanted to see in my lifetime. I was sore the next day, but it was a good sore. I had accomplished something.”
Josh has been participating in wheelchair distributions for over five years, traveling outside the United States an average of twice a year. He describes his experiences as unforgettable and filled with emotion:
“My heart is overflowing, I have a lot of happy tears. It’s rewarding…
Letter from a Navy Lieutenant
I am Renzo Llontop, the Navy Lieutenant who was with [Josh and Don Routh] for 2 days in Lima. I write to thank you for being here in Peru, the work you do around the world is really the best job that could exist, to help other people without asking anything in return.
I know you’ve had a tiring journey, but I want you to know that it was really worth it, because you bring happiness to people with disabilities. Without your support, they would perhaps be bedridden or unable to move as they could. You are an exceptional group, you have a big heart and I know God will bless you for all your life. It was very exciting to see how your work is reflected in the streets, seeing that lady in the main square happy going back to work, with a chair of the Wheelchair Foundation, chairs that were given by you, and improved their life’s quality. Just like that lady must be other 850,000 people in the world who can now enjoy the comfort of being able to move without problems.
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