Joan Wegner

Recipient's Story: 

When Joan was a college senior, life teemed with possibilities. However, one heroic moment altered those possibilities for Joan.

After classes, one evening, Joan arrived at her apartment, only to hear the frantic screams of her roommate. She dashed upstairs and saw a man stabbing her friend. Joan did the unthinkable. She jumped on the assailant's back and grabbed him by the neck. Unfortunately, he overpowered her and one of the ensuing stabs injured Joan's spinal cord, affecting her ability to walk.

The good news: both Joan and her roommate survived. With the help of a wheelchair, Joan managed to regain some of her independence. But after ten years of rolling over sidewalk cracks, crossing streets, maneuvering through grocery aisles and just carrying on with life, the chair began showing its age.

Though Joan desperately needed a new wheelchair, her insurance company's policy dictated "one chair for one lifetime."

That's when Alternatives in Motion stepped in. Johnnie had known Joan, and once his newly formed nonprofit organization became official, he wanted her to be the first recipient. Joan received the customized manual wheelchair, which she called a "quality of life" saver, in time for the Christmas holidays.

A "life saver" for a lifesaver—how fitting!