Idaho Gives: Health and Wellness 

"We love to tell our story, but May 2 will help make our story even bigger."

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Chair the Hope

There are over 300 health-related charitable organizations in the Gem State. A few are among Idaho's best-known charities—American Red Cross, the Children's Home Society of Idaho, Metro Meals on Wheels, Make-A-Wish Idaho, Planned Parenthood and Terry Reilly Health Services are just a smattering.

Take Ronald McDonald House Charities as an example. The 19-bedroom house near St. Luke's Hospital has been a home away from home for hundreds of families at their most vulnerable moments. A $50 donation during Idaho Gives could help pay for a family's toiletries and $150 would buy new sheets and blankets for a guest room.

A significantly smaller charitable organization is Bustin' Out of Boise, which began when a small group of women banded together to create a nonprofit to help local women fight their battles with cancer. They deliver meals, clean homes and provide transportation to healthcare appointments. A $30 donation during Idaho Gives could provide an hour of house cleaning, child care or meal prep, and a donation of $125 could pay for a full week of a family's groceries.

click to enlarge CHAIR THE HOPE
  • Chair the Hope

One of the most inspiring Idaho Gives stories that we've heard came from Nathan Ogden, founder of Chair the Hope, the Meridian-based charity that delivers wheelchairs to people in need. Ogden does much more than talk the talk—he wheels the wheel.

"You may remember me," said Ogden. "I'm the guy who had his wheelchair stolen at a Boise State football game."

His plight got plenty of attention when his wheelchair was snatched, after he had parked it to sit in a regular seat during a September 2017 BSU football game at Albertsons Stadium. The community responded by purchasing a new chair for Ogden. In the years that followed, he and his wife Heather raised tens of thousands of dollars to buy wheelchairs for people in need.

"Heather turned to me and said, 'Maybe we need to do something a bit bigger," he recalled.

The charity's reach now stretches across the globe. In 2018, Chair the Hope delivered 400 wheelchairs to impoverished families in Mexico, and this year, chairs will be delivered to Ghana and Peru.

click to enlarge CHAIR THE HOPE
  • Chair the Hope

"This is something I can give 150% of my heart to, because I know what it feels like... to be paralyzed and to want to do something but you can't because you don't have a wheelchair," said Ogden.

Perhaps the most impressive piece of the puzzle is that a $150 donation during Idaho Gives will hand-deliver a wheelchair to someone in need, anywhere in the world.

"Each chair requires only one tool, in case of repairs. Most wheelchairs require many, many tools," said Ogden. "We partner with a wonderful nonprofit called the Wheelchair Foundation that has built more a million wheelchairs in the past several years."

Ogden was quick to add that Idaho Gives is a rare opportunity to shine a spotlight on Chair the Hope's cause.

"We love to tell our story, but May 2 will help make our story even bigger," he said.

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