Special wheelchair needed for 7-foot tall man

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By Becky Barnes

“Everybody knows me,” George says with a smile that makes the blue of his eyes sparkle.

At 7-feet tall, George Willen barely fits into the wheelchair he depends on for his mobility. He suffers from cellulitis but is more restricted by complications that have resulted from his unusual height.

He is a resident of Parkside Manor where he can most always be found sitting in his wheelchair in the parking lot waving at passersby on Oddville Avenue or on the facility’s expansive porch.

He said he isn’t hampered by weather. In fact, rain, snow or sunshine, George, 63, wants to be outside.

If he’s not outside, he is likely somewhere drawing or coloring pictures.

“I like to work with my hands,” George said with broken speech, turning his hands over and back.

He can’t remember how long he has had the straight-backed wheelchair he has now, but he smiles and admits “It’s been a long while.”

Andrea Barnes, manager at Parkside, said George really needs a new wheelchair, but the $700 price tag for a specially made chair is more than he can afford.

He has to have one designed to fit his frame, which she said, adds to the cost.

Barnes has set up an account at Farmers National Bank for George to receive donations towards the purchase of a new wheelchair.

The one he has now, which was used when he got it, has no padding left on the arm rests and the back and seat are worn.

Barnes asked that anyone making a donation to leave their name and address so that George can send them a note of thanks. He may even reward donors with one of is Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck drawings.