$250,000 Grant Helps LeTourneau University's Wheelchair Research

LONGVIEW (KYTX) - Associate Professor Karen Rispin has been leading the Wheels Project at lLeTourneau University for years. She says she grew up in a family of missionaries in Africa and she has seen first hand how tough it is to be handicap in nation's that can't do much to help.
"In these nations you either have nothing, or settle for what you can get"
Rispen, and her students received a $250,000 dollar grant from the Keck Foundation. A non-profit organization that raises money to help fund medical research.
"We are going to be able provide feedback to companies on what works, and what doesn't work.'
Rispen says wheelchairs that work here, don't work in other countries. And the money will go to help improve labs like this one.
"In North America, people live indoors. Especially those with disabilities. In most of the world - they live outside.'
Equipment bought by this grant will help determine things like what type of wheels hold up better in rough terrain, how much energy it takes someone to push the chair, and ways to build a wheelchair that is affordable. Chief Global Initiatives Officer Kelly Lebengood says the positives in this grant are two fold.
"This grant will allow cutting edge research as undergrads, that will not only help them understand their discipline better, but lets them apply that in a global setting."
For Karen , she's excited to help those she saw struggling as a child.
"We will use this equipment to directly benefit them."


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