Florida Hospital Patients In Volusia Receive Bikes To Promote Health After Irma

By on November 22, 2017 in WNDB News

Volusia County, FL – Patients at several Florida Hospitals in Volusia County who were affected by Hurricane Irma now have access to bicycles thanks to a donation from the bicycle sharing company, Zagster.

After Hurricane Irma, Chad Jacobs, a sales consultant for Zagster and native Floridian, contacted Florida Hospital DeLand and Florida Hospital Fish Memorial to see if they could accept bicycles and helmets for patients in need.

“We wanted to do our part to help those impacted by the storm and we just happened to have these bikes available,” said Jacobs. “This fleet of rental bikes were getting ready to be decommissioned, and we didn’t want them to go to waste if they could fill a need and help others.”

Zagster specializes in designing, building and operating bicycle sharing programs throughout the country. Jacobs says he reached out because he knows how stressful hurricanes can be.

“Growing up in Key West, we were devastated a few times by hurricanes. While we were safe when we evacuated, we would wonder if our home or our school, or even our car, would be there when we returned,” said Jacobs. “If you lose your car, that’s a significant hardship in many ways.”

Florida Hospital Community Care, a program assisting uninsured and underinsured patients with health issues and promoting healthy lifestyles, received the bikes. After a patient is discharged, the program will assign an individual a registered nurse, social worker, dietitian, counselor, and student health coach for free. The program focuses on assisting the top 5% of “high utilizers,” or the patients who utilize 50% of healthcare resources.

“We were so grateful for this generous donation,” said Florida Hospital DeLand CEO, Lorenzo Brown. “A bicycle is something that can make a huge difference in the lives of a patient. Not only can it give them an avenue for exercise to improve overall health, but it can also be a source of independence, providing reliable transportation around town.”

Robbin Duonnolo, a patient at Florida Hospital DeLand’s Community Care program said that the help given to her saved her life. In July of last year, Duonnolo sustained severe injuries to her leg and has since been in and out of the hospital for a year.

Since being admitted to the program, she has not been back to the hospital, and she has insurance and a primary care doctor. Duonnolo does not have a car so the bicycle will help her get to her doctor appointments and to the grocery store.

Kevin O’Brien, a patient at Florida Hospital Fish Memorial’s Community Care program said he now does not visit the emergency room as often for his asthma as he used to. Since starting with the program in July, O’Brien has been managing his asthma by going regularly to appointments and taking medication.

“Kevin recently shared with us that he wanted to exercise, eat better and lose weight. Just two weeks ago, before we even knew about these donated bicycles, he mentioned he would really love to have a bike in order to begin exercising more,” said Florida Hospital Fish Memorial Community Care manager, Michelle Medina. “As the only income earner in his family, the financial pressures placed upon him have been a big challenge, but he’s noticed the positive impact the program has had on his health in such a short period of time.”

He has not needed emergency medical assistance since early September. O’Brien says he is excited to improve his health by riding the bicycle he was given.

“I was just saying the other day that I wanted to start working out again,” said O’Brien. “Now I can ride my bike to the store and get a little exercise on the way. This is better than joining a gym.”

“As an avid bike rider myself, I know the various health benefits of cycling, both physical and mental. It engages your legs and burns more calories than an easy walk, but it’s still easy on your joints,” said Ro Deininger, CEO of Florida Hospital Fish Memorial. “We were so thrilled to get the call from Chad at Zagster with the news of this gift. I know it will make a big impact on our Florida Hospital Community Care patients.”

Jacobs was able to meet a couple of the patients he helped out. “Transportation can be a ladder out of poverty. These bikes can help in not only mobility, but also in improving health and wellness,” said Jacobs. “Seeing the reaction from these patients today, for me, this reaffirms why we at Zagster do this, why we care about health and wellness, and why transportation is so important. It really does change lives.”

Photos courtesy of Florida Hospital.

Copyright Southern Stone Communications 2017.

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