I wanted to share my Mobility Mission with you. This is a cause dear to my heart, and I hope you will take the time to read about it.
In 1999, Sonya Weisshappel founded Seriatim, Inc., with the objective to bring her clients harmony and wellness within their home and office spaces. Her team of experts offer a wide range of services, including de-clutter, paper and photo management, and digital inventory, to customers in the tri-state area. In January 2013, Seriatim was awarded The Circle of Service designation by the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM), a not-for-profit, professional association of organizations dedicated to assisting older adults and families with the physical and emotional demands of downsizing, relocating, or modifying their homes.
In the course of her work helping clients organize and/or relocate, Ms. Weisshappel has repeatedly encountered gently used durable medical equipment (DME) that had been discarded yet could not be donated or re-purposed due to FDA regulations. Thus, Ms. Weisshappel learned that perfectly functional wheelchairs, walkers, canes—even bicycles—are simply abandoned, creating headaches for residential managers, hospice administrators, and many others, while also adding to dumps and landfills.
Building on her talent and experience in creating and implementing logistical solutions to a variety of challenges, Ms. Weisshappel conceived of a not-for-profit agency, MOBILITY, to collect, sort, store, repair, and redistribute DME and other mobility devices where they can be reused and appreciated by homebound and/or disabled individuals who need them most.
In addition to the resources flowing from Seriatim, Inc., including property managers, donation companies, moving and shipping companies, and geriatric care managers, the key to MOBILITY’s success is Ms. Weisshappel’s link to Rotary International, an organization established in the Milwaukee area by Paul Harris about a century ago. Rotary International has 1.2 million members in more than 34,000 clubs worldwide, and operates on the principle that Rotarians help Rotarians. Their commitment to making good works happen have already enabled MOBILITY to establish connections to
set up channels to receive, repair, and distribute used mobility equipment within the New York City area. For example, MOBILITY has already collected and redistributed approximately fifty DME devices via Fraternité Notre Dame (FND) in Manhattan’s Upper East Side; Ms. Weisshappel first connected with the sisters of FND through Rotary Club of New York.
MOBILITY is a not-for-profit company that collects gently used DME and other mobility devices that have been discarded and redistributes them in and around New York City to people who need them. In order to implement this goal, MOBILITY strives to unite and collaborate with business owners within the moving and medical industries who share in MOBILITY’s aspiration to recycle and reuse that which may help and heal other individuals, and develop, on a local level, a community that may collectively receive, store, catalog, and redistribute devices that may positively impact the lives of many individuals.
As part of her experience as president of Seriatim, Inc., Ms. Weisshappel learned that people were not able to find a home for unwanted or discarded DME. She had what she calls “a Robin Hood moment.” In her own words:
In New York, there is hardly a person who does not have a wheelchair, a pair of crutches, or a walker that they want to get rid of but can’t. There are liability and/or sanitary issues in both DME and children’s products such as car seats. So these products can’t be recycled in New York; in fact, one of the directors of the Continuum Partners hospice program told me that they don’t have a resource for taking back any of these products. This equipment is still useful, but it’s sitting in basements or apartments collecting dust and causing clutter, or taking up precious space in the dump. It’s still useful, so why not redistribute it? I decided to become a bridge between the products that are no longer wanted or needed, and the people who can use and benefit from these recycled mobility products.
When Ms. Weisshappel found that FDA and Medicare technicalities prevented used medical equipment from being re-distributed in the U.S., she discovered, through her Rotarian connections, that there is a need for such equipment throughout New York and the Northeastern region. Property managers, nursing home executives, and environmental impact administrators agree that paraphernalia left for garbage is a serious problem. MOBILITY has the solution.
MOBILITY collects discarded, gently used DME or other mobility devices, including abandoned bicycles, through a network of caregivers, charities, rubbish removers, and relocation professionals. (MOBILITY also aims to identify such medical equipment and mobility devices via social media outlets.) Thereafter, MOBILITY provides stockpile sites where non-profit members and volunteers may gather and store this equipment in preparation for shipment. MOBILITY will then sort, aggregate, and ship the equipment to locations within the five boroughs of New York City or the Northeastern region, facilitated by The International Rotary Foundation, and help Rotarians at the receiving end evaluate, repair, and distribute the durable medical equipment and mobility devices to those who need them.