By Wayne Kirkbride
Sierra Mountain Times
Have you ever been in the situation of needing special medical or hospital equipment?
Did you find that either you had to rent or buy that item? Along with all the other associated expenses of being ill or handicapped, you faced yet another expense of rising medical costs?
Unique to our area in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties is a program run by the Sonora branch of the Lions Club—the Sonora Mountain Lions– called H.E.L.P., or Hospital Equipment Loan Program. They will loan equipment for a few days or indefinitely.
The program was started by a member back in the late 1980s when it began accepting donated items such as hospital beds from the Sonora Community Hospital. The Lions Club then loaned the beds to anyone who needed them, for as long as they needed them. Today, the program, run by Jim Wilson of the Sonora Lions Club, has branched out to offer not only hospital beds, but walkers, wheelchairs, crutches, and motorized scooters for example.
The donations of equipment today come mainly from private individuals who no longer need an item and have heard of the Lion´s Club program. The club is looking for more donations of lift chairs, shower chairs and wheel chairs to meet the demand for those items. According to Jim Wilson, equipment that has worn out or become outdated, and cannot be used by the Lions, is given to Project Mobility. This is an international program based in Modesto, which refurbishes the equipment which is then sent to countries around the world.
There are no strings attached to the Lion´s Club offer. If you need a hospital bed, a wheelchair, or something else for either a short period of time or indefinitely, they are there to help. They even offer free delivery and pick up for large items that can´t be conveniently picked up or returned by the borrower. This Sonora Lion´s Club equipment is free. For more information, or to request an equipment loan, call Kevin Kaiser at Sonora Mini Storage, 533- 7766 or Jim Wilson at 533-2918.
Reprinted with permission from the Sierra Mountain Times