Giving Back

Thanks to Donors, New Brunswick Man Upgrades Wheelchair

Fleming said his current wheelchair is falling apart. Credits: GoFundMe

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — They say a little kindness goes a long way. And for one city man, that's true in the most literal sense.

John Fleming Sr. launched a GoFundMe campaign a few weeks ago to raise money for parts for a new, motorized Jazzy wheelchair. After the donation drive took off toward the end of last week, he succeeded in meeting his $175 goal—and also earned some extra cash.

“I am very blessed that everyone donated so quickly,” Fleming told TAPinto New Brunswick. “Thank you everyone and God bless you all.”

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In total, 11 people donated $235 to Fleming, who often panhandles at the intersection of George and Paterson streets, near the Rite Aid.

That was enough for him to order the second wheel and another battery, which are necessary to get his wheelchair up and running. He expects the new rig to be ready by Aug. 15, in about a week.

Fleming said he met one of the donors, a woman named Melissa.

He also praised GoFundMe, a crowdsourced fundraising campaign, as a slick tool for those in need.

The New Brunswick resident received the new wheelchair itself from another donor. Fleming needed to get it in good shape because his current wheelchair is “about to die,” he wrote online. One of the rear wheels is worn down, and a front wheel is missing its fork, he said.

That spelled trouble for Fleming. He said he can't walk because he has no muscle in one thigh. Things got even worse this past winter, when his left big toe was amputated after he was unable to afford shoes.

But thanks to the power of the internet, he raised in just a couple of weeks the amount of money that took him three months to collect on the streets.

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