Fresno non-profit aims to help kids with special needs get medical equipment

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Families that have children with special needs are getting some much-needed equipment thanks to one Fresno non-profit.

Inside the equipment closet, wheelchairs and gait trainers of all sizes line the shelves at Able Advocates.

"Authorization for insurance can take months to receive, that's if you get it. So a lot of families can't even transport to school without a proper wheelchair, a proper tie-down for the bus. Some of our families will never get a walker," says Katrina Oh, Able Advocates founder.

Able Advocates is a non-profit that provides services and equipment to children with special needs.

Her own son Nate motivated her to start the organization. He passed away last year and she says the experience has been life-changing.

"I only got nine years with my son and it was nine amazing years. I wouldn't change that for anything," she says.

Oh saw the challenges Valley families face to get resources or equipment, even with insurance.
"One piece of equipment can range from $3,000. Wheelchairs start at $6,000 and go up. So when you see something you think you want, families realize - 'I can't pay out of pocket for that'," Oh says.

Ray Kent works at National Seating and Mobility, a customized medical equipment company.

He helps by donating his time and filling the closet with donated equipment.

"There's nothing better than to see a child get into a wheelchair for the first time and self-propel across the room. Or get into a gait trainer of some kind of other and take steps. I love it. It's why I do what I do," he says.

Volunteers from parents to therapists have been giving their time to make sure kids have equipment that fits properly.
So far, 2500 families have been helped and that number grows each month.

"Being able to meet all of these families... I've heard their journeys just like mine. Being able to share that and share that love with the community just means the world to me," says Oh.

You can help Able Advocates and their mission to help Valley families by making an equipment or cash donation. They have a special benefit concert on September 6 at Toca Madera Winery.
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