By: Sarah Snyder
Images of Haiti have haunted television screens for weeks and there's no doubt groups and organizations from across West Texas are trying to do their part. NewsWest 9 spoke with one Midland woman who decided to organize a new type of relief effort, but it's an idea that came from her own brush with tragedy.
Upon meeting Rebecca Cedillo it doesn't take long to discover where her passion is.
"I just can't sit here and think there's a person my age living there in Haiti in a tent with a spinal cord injury with no specialized bed, no wheelchair," Rebecca Cedillo, with Wheels for Haiti, said.
After watching the images of Haiti, she wondered what she could do to help victims with physical disabilities in the earthquake-ravaged country. But to know why she decided to help out, you have to understand her story. A car accident several years ago, left her paralyzed from the waist down.
"I look back, and sure, my life has been hard, but not as hard as some of the people in Haiti," Cedillo said. "They're facing a long life of struggles with their disabilities."
So she started "Wheels for Haiti" asking West Texans to donate working wheelchairs helping, who she says, may be the most overlooked group in the wake of the destruction.
"They're going to need wheelchairs, they're going to need prosthetics, they're going to need handicap equipment to get around," Cedillo said.
And she says the sheer cost of being paralyzed is astronomical - adding about $3,000 to her bills each month.
"We can't overlook the disability in Haiti, because it's right there in front of us," Cedillo said. "People might not want to think about it, but it's there. We need people to advocate for the disabled."
"Wheels for Haiti" plans to partner with several national relief organizations to deliver the wheelchairs. Her first drive will be held this Saturday from 1:00 to 6:00.