BONITA SPRINGS, Fla - A Bonita Springs man is taking his good fortune and spreading it half way across the world. Next month, Hector Manley, 24, will deliver 300 wheelchairs to El Salvador where he's originally from.
Manley was adopted by an American family more than a decade ago. Now living in Bonita Springs, he's never forgotten the family and life he left behind in El Salvador.
"I decided I wanted to work with other charities and raise funds because if you have the opportunity to help people, you should take advantage of it and that's something I've learned when I came to this country and by meeting so many great people," says Manley.
Last year, he set out kayaking down the Mississippi river. The 2,500 mile journey took him three months. He raised $70,000 and is using the money to send wheelchairs to El Salvador.
"Wheelchairs, especially in third world countries mean so much to the people," says Manley.
A wheelchair like the ones heading to El Salvador cost $150.00. Manley knows first hand how one can change a life. "The part of the country where I'm from is really poor, so my friends and I would go to garbage dumps just to look for things. For clothes, shoes, anything we could find," says Manley.
That day in 2001 - an earthquake hit. The ground split and Manley fell into a burning garbage pit. He was stuck there for 40 minutes. "My stomach was burned, my back was burned, my legs were burned and they had to be amputated."
As a double amputee, he has never look back on his situation and felt sorry for himself. Instead, he has found a way to take a life changing experience to change the lives of others one wheelchair at a time.
"Where I am from, we wouldn't be able to afford a wheelchair and people are often just bed ridden for years and years and years and their lives are completely changed with the wheelchair," says Manley.
For more information go to http://hectormanley.com/