AUSTRALIA’S renowned Royal Flying Doctor Service has teamed up with all-terrain wheelchair supplier and preferred Wheeleez® importer Beachwheels Australia in a heart-warming collaboration, giving dying people and their families and friends the opportunity to visit their favorite beach or other off-road special place one last time.
The RFDS is one of Australia’s most cherished institutions, founded in outback Queensland in 1927 to transport sick and injured people from remote parts of the vast island continent Down Under to hospitals in the cities.
Today, the service operates a fleet of 77 medical retrieval and patient transfer aircraft and provides other vital services including telehealth consultations and doctor, dentist and nursing clinics in remote and rural areas.
In 2020, the RFDS flew more than 27 million kilometers and assisted over 320,000 patients through clinics, aeromedical transports and telehealth consultations. RFDS Victoria recently called on Beachwheels Australia for help after launching its Flying Doctor Memory Lane service.
The service is designed to support people in palliative care or end-of-life care to visit a place of personal significance alongside family and friends, whether its the beach, another scenic location or anywhere else that holds special memories. The free service is 100 percent donor funded, and is staffed by medically trained members of the RFDS Mobile Patient Care (MPC) teams, all of whom volunteer for these touching trips.
While the Memory Lane team endeavors to make every requested journey happen, some destinations – such as down onto the sand of a person’s favorite beach – can prove difficult with the use of a stretcher or normal wheelchair.
Thankfully, the team at Beachwheels Australia came to the rescue. Recognizing the access barriers at beaches and other off-road spots, the company generously donated two of their all-terrain wheelchairs to Memory Lane. “I just thought it was such a wonderful initiative,” said Drew Valentine, director of Beachwheels Australia and global sales and marketing manager for Wheeleez® products. “We supply a number of products and equipment for terminally ill and disabled clients under the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme), so Memory Lane is a perfect fit for the values our company believes in”. “The Royal Flying Doctor Service does such a fantastic job helping Australians in need so we thought they deserved our support.”
Beachwheels Australia donated a Sandcruiser® all-terrain/ beach wheelchair, designed for adults, and a Sandpiper® chair for smaller adults and children to Memory Lane. Each chair is equipped with special polyurethane wheels made by Wheeleez®, which are capable of crossing almost any terrain including sand, rock or coral without getting bogged or stuck.
The Wheeleez® wheels also have shock-absorbing qualities, ensuring a smooth ride for precious patients. “RFDS Victoria is incredible grateful to Beachwheels Australia for their generosity, and we look forward to many more transports and special moments made possible by this wonderful donation,” an RFDS Victoria spokesperson said.
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