Physical therapy student donates mobility equipment to seniors

NEWARK, Del. (WPVI) -- Diptee Pathak was born with Erb's palsy, having damaged nerves in her right arm.

"There's a lot of impairments that I've had, personally," she said. "So, it was inspiring to see that we can change our body this way. Let me look into physical therapy a little bit more."

Pathak, 29, is rounding the corner on graduating with a doctorate in physical therapy from Neumann University. Having mostly recovered from her condition, she simply cannot wait to help people.

She shared something in common with a client, Lawrence McNutt. Both individuals learned to live with a cervical injury.

"When I was 16 years old, I broke my neck in a diving accident," said McNutt. "The doctor said, if I lived through the night, I'd never walk again."

McNutt proved him wrong.

A collection of newspaper clippings from the early 1960s reveals that McNutt not only learned to walk again, but would go on to swim again as well.

Now 73 years old, McNutt is still putting one foot in front of the other with Pathak's help.

"She went and got me a walker that was wider and it was very much more stable and it helped me out immensely," he said.

McNutt's former walker was much narrower, and proved insufficient when he fell while using it.

"Seeing him just walk so much more stable, he's taking a bigger step," said Pathak.

Pathak was also touched by anecdotes she collected while working as a physical therapy assistant. She recalls scenarios where Medicaid provided one piece of mobility equipment, but not two.

"I'm looking at the stability of these walkers and I'm looking at the canes and I'm just, like, how can I help these people?" she asked.

Pathak called on her friends on social media to scour their houses for unused canes, wheelchairs, walkers, and shower chairs. She has collected roughly 50 pieces of equipment to donate to seniors in need.

"It just started, like, two months ago and it blew up," she said.

Pathak is also taking donations on her Venmo account, @ diptee-pathak, to purchase new equipment on her own.

In a time where the COVID-19 pandemic is discouraging the donation and redistribution of used products, Pathak says seniors need help more than ever.

"I'm letting people know, it's not just a walker going to someone in need, it's like, there's a whole story behind it," she said.

To learn more about her mission, visit her Durable Medical Equipment Donation page.

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