Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs bringing Crutches 4 Africa collections to Northwest Colorado

Crutches 4 Africa collections

Thursday: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Sportsmed Physical Therapy in Hayden

Friday: 3 to 6 p.m. at SportsMed at Yampa Valley Medical Center, the Boys & Girls Club of Steamboat Springs, Ace at the Curve, Central Park Liquor and the Boys & Girls Club of Craig

Saturday: 3 to 5 p.m. at Slopeside Grill

Crutches, canes, walkers, splints, air casts, walking boots, braces, slings, wheelchairs, joggers and strollers will be collected.

— Mobility was a blessing for Dave Talbot, a polio survivor from Denver.

For years, he could walk, ski and even roller skate. Now, Talbot is back on crutches as the effects of the childhood disease take their toll.

And he knows that across the world, there are others rendered even more immobile from illness or accidents and are confined by their physical limitations.

While filming a documentary in Uganda, he saw a woman so disfigured by the disease that it took his life in a different direction.

“Someone had torn off a fresh green tree limb, and she was trying to use it as a crutch,” he said.

His mission became helping women, men and children afflicted by polio or other conditions move with a little more ease.

Since then, his nonprofit Crutches 4 Africa, working in conjunction with Rotary International, has collected and distributed more than 51,000 mobility devices — including crutches, walkers, wheelchairs, splints, braces and walking boots — bringing improved mobility to polio patients and victims of accidents in 25 countries around the world.

He’s always looking for more items to ship overseas, and what kinds of towns have an abundance of crutches, braces and other mobility devices in early April?

Ski towns, of course.

The Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs is bringing Talbot’s cause to Northwest Colorado with collections in Hayden, Steamboat and Craig.

On Thursday, there will be a collection from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Sportsmed Physical Therapy in Hayden.

Steamboat collections will be from 3 to 6 p.m. Friday at SportsMed at Yampa Valley Medical Center, the Boys & Girls Club of Steamboat Springs, Ace at the Curve and Central Park Liquor.

There will be a second Steamboat collection from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday on the lawn in front of Slopeside Grill.

A drive in Craig will be from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday at the Boys & Girls Club of Craig.

“We thought it was a no-brainer to bring this to Steamboat, especially at the end of the ski season,” said Leslie Gamel, a Rotarian who saw Talbot speak at a Rotary Club conference.

“It’s so inspiring,” she said.

Talbot said he hopes the drive is not only successful in bringing in more mobility devices, but also that it begins a shift in awareness.

“The one thing I want people to think about is what happens when they get up every morning and jump out of bed,” he said. “Stop and think every morning about what it’s like for people who can’t.”

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com

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