Nonprofit offers medical equipment to uninsured | SierraSun.com

Nonprofit offers medical equipment to uninsured

Renee Shadforth, Sierra Sun
Photo by Josh Miller/Sierra SunCare Chest volunteer Olivia Rassuchine shows off the detachable shower head she installed in Jean Patrick's home in the Truckee Donner Senior Apartments. Care Chest recently began offering free medical equipment for loan to Truckee's uninsured residents.
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In a bustling dining room at the Truckee Senior Center, Tahoe Truckee High School student Olivia Rassuchine delivers a shower grab bar and detachable shower head to Truckee senior Sharon Dewberry.

Pleased with her new, gratis loot, Dewberry is smiling from ear to ear.

“I think this is great because now I can take a shower without getting drowned,” she says.

Rassuchine delivered the items to Dewberry on behalf of Care Chest, a Reno-based nonprofit organization that now provides free medical equipment for loan to people who lack insurance in the Truckee-Tahoe area.

Locally, it’s a service that has been a long time coming, said Nanette Sison, program coordinator with Care Chest of Sierra Nevada

“We were getting calls from people who go to Washoe [Medical Center] from Truckee who needed medical equipment,” Sison said.

In 2003 Care Chest provided 6,615 people – mostly Northern Nevadans – with more than 11,000 items.

Through a grant from the Lahontan Community Foundation, Care Chest was able to rent a storage unit in Truckee and purchase pagers for its Truckee volunteers. Care Chest provides the medical equipment, like wheelchairs, walkers and shower chairs.

So far, the only challenge Care Chest has faced now that it has expanded into the Truckee-Tahoe area has been getting people to use its service.

“We delivered fliers and for some reason the word wasn’t getting out,” said Rassuchine, who volunteers to deliver items with a few her friends. “So we came and gave a talk [at the senior center]. So, hopefully word will get out.”

Earlier this month, Rassuchine and her friends made their first delivery to four people at the Truckee Senior Center.

“It finally feels like we’re doing something … fulfilling,” she said.

On that trip they also installed a detachable shower head in Jean Patrick’s apartment.

Before Care Chest began offering service in Truckee, not only would seniors have to pay for the equipment, they’d also have to pay for installation, Dewberry said.

“There was no opportunity like this before,” she said. “Anytime I’ve had the opportunity, I’ve had to pay for it. There are so many community activities going on now that 25 years ago weren’t available, and I think it’s great. I just wish we could have more.”

Apply to loan free medical equipment from Care Chest by calling (775) 829-2273. A representative will fill out a five-minute qualification application over the phone. Check out Care Chest online at http://www.carechest.com.