Donate fabric to CReATE

March 3, 2016 by Sue Reeves

12512620_819152914861845_6312267510626287649_nCitizens Reutilizing Assistive Technology Equipment, also known as CReATE, is collecting donations of fabric that will be stitched into wheelchair bags by volunteers. Quilters and sewists, here’s your chance to clear out last year’s fabric from your stash so you can buy this spring’s newest selections!

Cotton, denim, canvas, polyester and polyester blends (any sturdy, washable fabric) in any color or print are welcome. Drop donations at the AT lab (Room 126 in the Janet Quinney Lawson building), or call Clay Christensen at 797-0699 or Tom Boman at (801) 887-9398 for more information.

CReATE is a project of the Utah Assistive Technology Program (UATP) at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities.


CReATE opens eBay shop

February 11, 2016 by Sue Reeves

A screen shot of the new CReATE eBay shop.

A screen shot of the new CReATE eBay shop.

CReATE, or Citizens Reutilizing Assistive Technology Equipment, has opened an eBay shop to expand its mission of providing assistive technology to people in need at affordable prices. CReATE is a project of the Utah Assistive Technology Program at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities.

CReATE collects, repairs, cleans and refurbishes used mobility devices and then provides them at a very low cost to people with disabilities. With this critical service offered by CReATE hundreds of people with significant mobility impairments have been able to remain active in their jobs, schools, and communities while awaiting doctors’ authorizations, insurance reimbursements, and other red tape barriers that would have otherwise left them stranded – sometimes for months.

The CReATE eBay shop went live on January 22 and has sold two items. The eBay seller name is “4UATprogram.”


New wheels from CReATE!

July 20, 2015 by Sue Reeves

By Aubrey Taylor

Image of mom in wheelchair with two young sons.

Aubrey Taylor with her two young sons and her “new” refurbished wheelchair from CReATE.

I’m so excited to tell you the story of my wheelchair miracle, and why I’m so grateful for people in the world who care.

So when I originally bought a wheelchair (more than a year ago), we didn’t think I’d need it for very long so we got the cheapest one we could find off of good old Amazon. It did the trick, and I was certainly grateful to have it, buuut it was definitely nothing fancy. I had been holding off on buying a new one in hopes that I’d get better, so by this summer I was definitely past due for an upgrade! After Gordon turned one, and I had to keep up with two rowdy toddlers, we decided it was time to invest in a nicer chair. I met with my physiatrist again to get his thoughts, and he wrote up a wheelchair prescription for me.

And so my wheelchair hunt began! What an ordeal. I contacted my insurance to find out what they could do for me. They let me know what percentage of the price they could cover for a wheelchair, and gave me a list of some in-network wheelchair providers I could contact. I spent weeks and weeks researching, talked to multiple companies, had wheelchair fittings, played phone tag with way too many people, got a letter of medical necessity from my physical therapist, dealt with pushy salesmen and frustrating customer service reps, did the math with finances, got stressed out of my brains, started hunting eBay…. It was like 2 months of crazy stress and I was terribly discouraged. No matter what angle we looked at it, we were going to be paying at least $1500-$2000 to get a chair that would fit my needs, and that’s after insurance would cover their portion.

I was so upset. It wasn’t just for my own situation, but I was frustrated for every person who had to go through this terrible ordeal to be able to get the things they need in order to function in daily life. Your wheelchair is like your other leg. It’s important and you use it. People should be able to have a positive experience getting assistive technology, and not have to break the bank to get what they need.

Well, I learned that I’m not the only person who cares about this issue! My dear husband works for the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University. It turns out, there’s a super awesome program based out of there, started specifically because of this problem I’m having. Someone cared enough to make things better.

Let me introduce you to CReATe: Citizens Reutilizing Assistive Technology Equipment.

CReATE is a non-profit organization that refurbishes donated mobility equipment and makes it available at a low-cost to Utahns with disabilities.

My husband talked to Clay Christensen, the lab coordinator of CReATE, about my situation, and Clay basically told him to stop everything we’re doing because he’s about to solve all of our problems. “We can get her a great chair to fit exactly what she needs. Do you think you could spare about $150?”

Jaws to the floor and tears in my eyes, YES. After stressing about the $2,000 number we were quoted, $150 is BEAUTIFUL. They told us they could refurbish a top of the line chair so it’s like new for me for that flat rate.

You can imagine the burden that was lifted off my shoulders at the end of this conversation. I was THRILLED. So we drove down to their location in Salt Lake City, and they were all just fabulous to work with! Tom Boman found me a chair that was just the right size and style, and fixed it up beautifully for me. A Quickie 2, the type of chair that was recommended to me by others and quoted to me at outrageous prices. We picked it up a couple of weeks later for the lovely promised rate of $150. He made sure I had everything I needed. The perfect seat height and width for optimal wheeling, a nice cushion, great wheels to suit my needs, the whole package. I’ve been wheeling around in it all week as if I got a brand new sports car!

Aubrey Taylor is a young mom from Hyrum, Utah, who acquired a disability following her second pregnancy. Read more of her story here.


Still doubt the power of social media? Read this.

January 10, 2014 by Sue Reeves

Image of Tom Boman

Tom Boman works on a wheelchair at CReATE in this file photo.

On January 8, a mom called the Red Rock Center for Independence in St. George, looking for a loaner wheelchair for her son. The 14-year-old has Down syndrome and other health challenges. His wheelchairs are usually provided by Intermountain Health Care, but the mom does all the customizations, often fabricating armrests and other parts herself. The family has been approved by Shriner’s Hospital for a new chair, but this week, the boy’s backup chair simply fell apart. He needed a loaner for a few weeks while IHC made repairs to the chair.

Red Rock Center has a large loan bank, but not much pediatric equipment, so Martha Hafen, Independent Living Coordinator for youth at the center, posted the following on Facebook:

“We need a little help today! We have gotten a call from a parent that is in desperate need of a pediatric size wheelchair with a 5-point harness that her son could borrow for a few weeks. If anyone knows of a family that may have a child that has outgrown a chair or one that you aren’t using–please either call the Red Rock Center at 435-673-7501 or post here.  Asking around to friends and neighbors would be greatly appreciated!”

The post was passed on to Clay Christensen, AT lab coordinator, and Alma Burgess, program coordinator for Citizens Re-utilizing Assistive Technology Equipment (CReATE) at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities. Tom Boman, CReATE’s wheelchair technician, contacted Red Rock Center’s assistive technology specialist Mike Earl, who explained exactly what was needed. Because CReATE maintains such a large inventory of refurbished mobility equipment, Boman was able to quickly locate a suitable loaner.

Within 24 hours of Hafen’s original post, a wheelchair had been found and arrangements had been made to deliver it to the family in St. George.

The mom was “just in tears,” after finding out that her son would be getting the needed equipment, Hafen said.

“One of the best things about the people in the state of Utah is that when there is a need, there is NOTHING that can’t be done,” she posted later on Facebook.

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Girl receives the gift of independence from CReATE

December 11, 2013 by Sue Reeves

Image of Selina and her dad.

Selena and her dad share a smile after she gives
her wheelchair a test run.

Selena Perez thought she was coming to a routine meeting with her parents at her school. Instead she was wheeled into the media center at Willow Valley Middle School to discover a new-to-her motorized wheelchair—and the small crowd of people who came together to make it possible.

The sight moved her to tears. Through an interpreter she asked if it was to be used only at school. The answer came back: she could use it at home, too.

Selena’s family is from Mexico. She has used a wheelchair for most of her life.

The refurbished chair was made possible by staff members of the Cache County School District Office and CReATE, a nonprofit organization under the Utah Assistive Technology Program that puts affordable mobility devices into the hands of Utahns who need it.

CReATE is part of the Center for Persons with Disabilities and the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services at Utah State University. Staff members from the Cache County School District Office contacted the program and contributed to the cost of the motorized chair.

District special education director Joel Allred said Selina was doing well in school, but the people at the district office wanted her to have more independence. Until that day, she had needed an aide to push her from class to class.

“It’s very nice,” she said in a quiet moment, after posing for pictures and taking her first turn around the room. “I’ll be able to go to the kitchen when I want a drink.”

“We won’t be battling with the wheelchair to move her from one spot to another,” her father said through an interpreter. “Now her self-esteem will increase because she can move herself around.”

This story was written by JoLynne Lyon and originally appeared on the EEJ EdNotes blog on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013.

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