ABILENE, TX (KWES) - Every day, lives are changing at the West Texas Rehabilitation Center, and without you, that would not be possible. The West Texas Rehab has provided service to people all across Texas for 63 years. They pride themselves on being unique because at the West Texas Rehab, they accept all patients, even if finances are an issue.
"One of our first things we ask when a patient comes in is, 'Are you going to need help paying your bill?,'" said Steve Martin, CEO and President of the West Texas Rehabilitation Center.
Martin says, when they began services back in 1953, they focused on post-polio and cerebral palsy. Now, the WTRC has expanded to included everything under prosthetics, orthotics, audiology, and hospice. They see more than 500 patients a day in 26 counties surrounding Abilene.
"That's really our donor base really comes from," Martin said. "We support folks all around these communities, so we do fundraisers and donor events in a lot of those communities as well, to raise funds to support the rehab center."
Those fundraisers are of utmost importance to the WTRC. With a $20 million operating budget, every little bit helps. Especially when about 38% of qualifying patients have a portion, or their entire bills taken care of.
"Most of the time if you go to a healthcare provider, they ask, 'Will that be check, cash, or credit card?' And that's what makes us unique," Martin said. "The way we're able to to that, is we have a foundation and our fundraising basically provides 29% of that support a year to our patients."
One of those fundraisers is the 46th Annual West Texas Rehab Telethon. Last year, the telethon brought in a record breaking $1.36 million and this year, West Texas Rehab is aiming for an even higher mark, despite the recent drop in oil prices.
"The great thing is we enjoy very loyal supporters who, in a lot of cases, maybe they support multiple charities," Martin said. "But because of what we do they'll continue to give to us because they know we make good use of their dollars to help our patients and it all goes back to patient care."
The telethon is scheduled for January 16th at the Abilene Civic Center. Tickets are $12 and doors open at 4 p.m. for the auction. If you can't make it out to Abilene, our sister station, West Texas CW, will air the telethon from 7 p.m. to midnight on Saturday. You can call in to make a pledge at 1-877-437-3120. For more information, you can also visit www.westtexasrehab.org.