Wheels for Dan, a fundraising project in Jason Moyer’s persuasion course, was a campaign to help purchase a racing wheelchair for local Walmart greeter Dan Bell. Bell is an avid 5k racer, but he lacked the proper racing equipment. Students sought to fill the gap.
“I started racing because there [are] a lot of people that tell me I can’t do anything because I’m in a wheelchair.
My goal is to prove people wrong about me and what I do,” said Bell.
“We wanted to share Dan’s story because a lot of people recognized Dan from the Alliance community, but maybe didn’t know his story, that he raced wheel chairs,” said Matt Shoup, senior communication arts major and project team member. “Our first goal was 3000 dollars. Within two weeks we were already going over our goal, so we talked to Moyer and he said [we] should reset [our] goal, but in doing so [we] need to update [our] community on the fact [we] are doing [this] and [our] reason why.”
The team eventually raised $6,100 through a social media campaign. The money went to getting Bell the best racing wheel chair possible and a line of credit with the company, in case his wheel chair should need any repairs. Bell will also be buying a new helmet.
Bell will greatly benefit from the upgraded chair in speed, stability and safety. After requiring assistance to finish his last two races, Bell hopes the new chair will allow him to complete the race on his own.
“I compare it to running in flip-flops versus running in running shoes. When you have a racing chair it gives you much more support and it’s a lot safer,” said Karli Kadlecek, senior communication arts major and team coordinator.
Although the campaign was a fall semester requirement, students are still active with the project. Malone hosted a reception April 19 where Bell received his upgraded chair.
Cathy Weyand is a Staff Writer for The Aviso