Medical equipment donation program expands to Paducah

Those crutches you no longer use could help someone else get around. Coordinating and Assisting the Reuse of Assistive Technology, or CARAT, expanded to Paducah.

It’s a volunteer-donation program that helps put this kind of equipment in the hands of those who need it. Volunteers and those recovering say it can be the difference between recovering or relapsing.

A head-on collision while biking to work knocked Justin Triplett off his feet three months ago, and he’s been trying to stand back up ever since. Justin has metal plates in his leg, shoulder, back, and wrist, but says he was lucky to walk away with only one head injury.

"Broke my nose," he says. "Which looks a lot better than it did."

His insurance would only pay for part of the equipment, but says he needed all the extra wheels and legs to get around. "There’s no way I could have gotten it," he says.

Terri Ross, site coordinator for CARAT, gave Justin with the tools he needed and helped start the program in western Kentucky. Ross says the donations and the need for those donations are growing all the time.

"Seeing people around me that didn’t have that luxury of their insurance paying for it," she says.

Equipment that’s donated can either be new or old. If it’s used, it’s checked to make sure that it’s safe and sanitized. Ross says anyone in recovery needs to be mobile to improve. "If I can make it easier for somebody — three people a day, one person a day — we’re doing our job."

Justin hopes to eventually be able to stand on two legs. "When that passes to someone like me it inspires me the next time I can help someone, and that ripple effect continues," he says.

Ross says they will take down some basic insurance and personal information before lending or giving out the equipment, but she says the service is open to anyone and everyone in need.

Ross says they accept everything from meal replacements, adult underwear, and basic supplies to help someone recover after an injury or surgery.

CARAT is looking for volunteers. Click here or here.

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