Fare to Freedom provides transportation for wheelchair users - KMSP-TV

Fare to Freedom provides transportation for wheelchair users

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Fare to Freedom van Fare to Freedom van
LIVONIA, Mich. (WJBK) -

We first met Josh Marshbanks four years ago as he was getting ready to leave U of M Hospital in his wheelchair having suffered a spinal cord injury in a diving accident at his home. One of his big concerns back then was transportation, getting around and regaining his freedom.

Fast forward four years and now he and his brother, Zach, are helping others do exactly that with their own transportation company called Fare to Freedom.

"Being in a wheelchair, I've come to realize that transportation is a huge need that I'm not able to get on my own. I need help from others," Josh said. "I realized that I just needed to get out more, not even just to work out, but just to get out, and a lot of people have difficulties doing that. Why not start our own company."

Josh and Zach turned to Charlie Parkhill and Polly Swingle at The Recovery Project where Josh had done his physical therapy. They watched him work so hard in his recovery, and they knew he was right, that safe, reliable transportation for people in wheelchairs is a real need.

"Anybody that's been in a chair and been transported not in their own vehicle has, I think, at some time or other felt like cattle or baggage. Just kind of get you in, put you in there," said Parkhill.

"You're in the back and nobody's talking to you, and you're just kind of strapped in, so we really got a very personal perspective of it with Fare to Freedom," said Swingle.

Both symbolic and practical, Fare to Freedom is far more than just a ride. This transportation company prides itself on compassion.

The reason it works is because these two brothers know the situation so well. Firsthand they know what it's like, and they know what's needed.

"Having to rely on someone else for transportation can be a hassle sometimes when I'm having to ask family or friends to do it. So that's why we wanted to start something reliable," Josh said.

"I'm more than happy to come inside, help with putting your shoes on, putting your coat on if it's cold outside. I've even shoveled a guy's walk just to help him out so we could get him outside," Zach said.

Getting out is so important for both body and mind.

"We can go anywhere you want to go. You want to go to the gym, you want to go see a baseball game, you want to go to the movies, you have just one doctor's appointment and you want to go to lunch afterwards, we can take you there. It's just what we do," said Josh.

For more information on Fare to Freedom, visit www.faretofreedom.com.

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