For more than 16 years, volunteers have kept open the doors of a unique service in the community – the Red Cross Medical Equipment Loan program.
Chairperson Wendy Petty said they “have worked tireless hours and hours over the past years to aid and assist our local community.”
The service gives out 80-100 pieces per week.
The non-profit provides equipment for short term use, including wheelchairs, walkers, bath seats and benches, commodes and toilet seats, crutches and canes, bed handles and other equipment.
“It’s absolutely free,” Petty noted.
The equipment is available to anyone who needs it, whether that’s due to an accident, medical condition or surgery.
“With the cost of equipment and medical care continuing to rise it enables patients to be released from hospitals safely into their home environment earlier and without the heavy costs involved,” she explained.
The office moved from Port Kells to a more central location at #106 – 20530 Langley Bypass at the beginning of April.
The office operates Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to noon.
The Red Cross purchased most of the equipment but the service also accepts donations of equipment as long is it can be sterilized.
Clients must have an equipment requisition from a doctor or other health care professional.
People can have use of the equipment for up to three months. If they need longer, they must contact the office and have the items checked over to ensure they are still functioning.
The Langley office serves mostly local residents but its doors are open to anyone in need. Petty noted that the office recently helped some Fort McMurray fire evacuees and received donations for Red Cross fire relief.
“We have had some evacuees come into Langley and the Lower Mainland looking for assistance and they may call 1-888-350-6070 or email BC.Albertafire@redcross.ca and someone will reply within 24 hours,” she said.
The local office also accepts donations for the medical equipment service and can issue receipts for donations.
“We do get some grants,” she explained. “But it’s funded by donations. That’s why to keep our lights on, we need money.”
The office is entirely volunteer run.
Petty is putting out a call for anyone who might be interested in volunteering. The commitment is three hours per week.
“The only prerequisite is that you enjoy people and have a heart to serve,” she said. On the job training will be provided.”
People can pick up applications at the Langley bypass site or call 604-532-2282 and ask for Wendy.