Around the World and Beyond – A Tribute to Scharleen Colant, 1920-2010

Around the World and Beyond
A tribute to our special friend and role model,
Scharleen Colant

Scharleen Colant made her first call to the Wheelchair Foundation in 2006. She was aware of our work through her membership in the Rotary Club of San Francisco and wished to become more personally involved. Scharleen was doing a lot of traveling via cruise ships and was headed for Asia.

Joel Hodge, Wheelchair Foundation’s Director of Operations, arranged for wheelchairs sponsored by Scharleen to be available as she traveled to Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand in 2007. At stops in Siem Reap and Bangkok, she traveled inland to accompany her gifts of mobility to their recipients. Scharleen experienced such heartfelt joy in giving wheelchairs that she began saying, “Everyone should have the opportunity to sponsor a wheelchair and give it to someone personally. They have no idea what they’re missing.” In December of 2008, Scharleen and her family celebrated the holidays by accompanying nearly 600 wheelchairs she sponsored for Valparaiso, Puerto Montt and Punta Arenas, and throughout the country of Chile.

Scharleen was a faithful participant at our fund-raising events and wasn’t afraid to get on-stage, give testimonials, encourage donors and pledge more gifts. Inspired by the fact that her late husband Ernest had been a pilot, in 2008 when Captain Sullenberger safely landed the plane in the Hudson River, she called us the very next day to donate a container of wheelchairs for New York in Sully’s honor. She strongly supported veterans and chose to accompany her wheelchairs to veteran’s facilities in northern California, where she entertained the vets with a twinkle in her eye.

Scharleen was truly an extraordinary woman – with a sharp mind and humor. She was compassionate, full of joie de vivre, style, a world traveler and not afraid to do or to ask, always leading by example. She enchanted everyone she met (including all of us at the Wheelchair Foundation) with her beautiful smile and enthusiasm for helping others. She energetically participated in the distribution of the wheelchairs she provided and took great interest in the recipients and their life stories. She loved to dance, and if she wanted to dance, there was no way you were not dancing with her!

One of Scharleen’s last requests was to establish a Wheelchair Foundation fund in her memory. She believed in what we do and she left a bequest in her estate to help provide the power to continue our important mission. We are exceedingly grateful for her generosity.
Scharleen will never be forgotten. Thousands of recipients and their families have new lives, full of hope and possibilities, as a result of the wheelchairs she provided. We at the Wheelchair Foundation remember her as an irreplaceable friend and a role model for a life well-lived. As a tribute to our heroine, we have established a fund in her honor.

The Scharleen Colant Wheelchair Fund
You too can honor Scharleen and her work – with donations to “The Scharleen Colant Wheelchair Fund.” Please indicate “Scharleen Colant” when making donations online, via telephone or by check to:

Wheelchair Foundation,
3820 Blackhawk Road,
Danville, CA 94506
Toll-free: (877) 378-3839

I would go around the world to give a wheelchair to someone if I knew it would help them.
– Scharleen Colant

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© Copyright 2000-2016 Wheelchair Foundation. All rights reserved. The Wheelchair Foundation is a division of Behring Global Educational Foundation, a 501(c)3 charitable foundation. Federal Tax ID #94-3353881. Designed by SMG.