For this, her latest humanitarian project, Springman knew she wanted it to involve two things: Peru and mobility. She has good friends from Peru and throughout her travels has seen the hardships people endure in other countries when they can’t walk. “They can’t get a job and the families are in a low economic state because of that,” Springman said. “When you give someone a wheelchair, you give them the freedom to live the life they want to live.”
Springman solicited corporation foundations as well as private individuals to raise $21,000 for the wheelchairs. Ken Behring, founder of the Wheelchair Foundation, matched her donation, bringing the grand total to $42,000—enough to buy 280 wheelchairs. Traveling to Peru was an unforgettable experience for Springman. It touched her to watch the people so kindly receive their wheelchairs. “One thing that really stood out in my mind was the hospitality of the people and how gracious and lovely they were,” Springman said.
She recalled a lady whose father was in desperate need of a wheelchair. In order to get to the distribution ceremony where he would receive his chair, this daughter carried her sixty-five-year-old father on her back for miles. Examples like these made the trip especially memorable for Springman.
“There was a girl who was nineteen years old—an absolute doll,” Springman said. “When I first went in to meet her she was kind of shy and she had her head down, almost as if she were ashamed of her disability … But by the end, when she had her wheelchair, you could just see the difference in her self-confidence … now life’s better for her.”
Aside from the wheelchairs given out at distribution ceremonies, fifty wheelchairs were also given to a local children’s hospital for patients who wouldn’t be able to walk when their stay was through. Springman gave them clothes and toys she had collected as well. One little boy with only two fingers thanked her in a special way.
“When I came over to say hi to him he moved his index finger up and down to say hi because he was too scared to talk verbally,” Springman said. “I gave him his gift, and to say thank you he moved his thumb and index finger. He waved goodbye with his thumb. That’s one of the boys that will be receiving a wheelchair—just such a sweet spirit in the face of adversity.”Springman has brought joy to these three people and to 277 others who can now get around and enjoy life more freely, and she doesn’t plan on stopping. She’s partnering with her mom for her next project. They’re working with hospitals in the U.S. to get equipment and medical supplies to send to the same children’s hospital that she visited on this most recent trip.