Sand wheelchairs help disabled enjoy a day at the beach

BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. -- For the first time, people confined to a wheelchair will be able to get out on the beach at Silver Beach thanks to two new sand wheelchairs donated by local companies.

There's nothing like a day of sun and sand on a hot summer day, but people in wheelchairs couldn’t easily do that – until now.

The sand wheelchair has special tires and light-weight construction. That makes it easier to maneuver around the beach.

"I think it's a fabulous idea and it's giving the opportunity to disabled people to have a day at the beach,” said Chicago resident Mary Sodetz.

The Berrien County Parks Department thought so too, so they went to Vans Medical Equipment.

"Berrien County Parks came to us and said can you research for a wheelchair that will go into the sand?” said Sarah Olman of Vans Medical Equipment.

The medical equipment supplier went a step further and purchased one and donated it to the county.

"Everyone wants to be able to go down to the beach and enjoy the water and the sun and be with their families,” said Olman.

No one knows that better than Sodetz.

"There is a young boy in our neighborhood and that; and I feel so bad for this kid when the other kids are at our community pool, and you know, places that are not handicapped equipped,” said Sodetz.

People can use the beach wheelchair free of charge at silver beach.

All they have to do is leave their normal wheel as collateral.

Lakeland Health Care donated the second beach wheelchair.

An old wheelchair is being sent to Love Creek County Park in Berrien Township, where it will be used on the trails.


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