Levi Knoche is a 6-year old boy who lives with his family in Port Ludlow. While he is severely disabled, and cannot walk, in all other respects, including cognitive abilities, he is a normal little boy. He enjoys being outside with his family, who must carry him everywhere on outdoor hikes and activities.  The Rotary Club of East Jefferson County is leading a fundraising effort to fund a $17,000 Track Chair, an outdoor mobility chair that uses tracks instead of wheels, for Levi. 
 

 

Levi Knoche. (Photo release held by Wishing Star Foundation, Spokane WA)  

Levi had been receiving treatment at a children’s hospital in Denver, but the expenses were so great that his family had to recently file for bankruptcy. Levi has since been treated at the Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Spokane, which doesn’t charge families for any aspect of a child's care and treatment.

While being treated in Spokane, Levi qualified to be a recipient of a wish under Wishing Star’s guidelines.  

Wishing Star is a Spokane-based non-profit that grants wishes to children ages 3-21 who are terminally ill, have life threatening illnesses or are medically complicated. 

The Wishing Star Foundation is a member of the Association of Wish Granting Organizations  (https://www.awgo.org/) which oversees compliance and regulations nationwide. The Foundation serves children in Spokane, Tri-Cities and surrounding area, and is similar to but not affiliated with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Their mission is well illustrated in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooy5rW7Rgbs&t=8s

Levi’s first wish was initially to go to Disneyland with his parents, but his medical conditions and the restrictions on travel imposed by the pandemic made that wish impossible to fulfill. After thinking about it for a while, Levi decided that he wanted to continue to be able to enjoy the outdoors with his family, and for that reason, asked for a Track Chair. 

Track Chairs are a robust outdoor mobility chair mounted on rubber tracks - a “wheelchair”, if you will, but mounted on all-terrain vehicle treads.  The chairs are built to the needs of each user to accommodate a wide range of disabilities. 

Cindy Guthrie, a member of Rotary Club #21 in Spokane, WA, also serves as the Wishing Star Director of Community Partnerships & Development. While both Wishing Star and Rotary 21 have agreed to support Levi’s request, Cindy reached out to the Rotary Club of East Jefferson County to inquire about the possibilities of expanding funding support from Rotary Clubs in the area around Levi’s home. 

Levi’s mother, Andrea, writes “As Levi has been thoughtfully considering his Wish, we have talked about a wide range of possibilities from swimming with dolphins to a Disney trip. While those things seem like wonderful options that promise fun and offer lifetime memories, what Levi continually comes back to is something to equalize his mobility deficiencies. Our family used to hike and camp frequently and as he has gotten older and more pointedly bigger, the ability to do outdoor things as a family has all but dwindled away. My husband is an avid hiker, fisher, hunter, camper, outdoors-man etc, and living in the Pacific Northwest we have so many breathtaking opportunities available to us. Our eight year old son now partakes in these activities with my husband and so often Levi is home with me as they head out and we try to find something else fun to do. With Levi's Spina Bifida and especially his recent spinal and brain surgeries and three month hospital stay, he simply doesn't have the strength to haul himself around outside in any kind of terrain or off road capacity. He has never had the ability to walk independently and relies on a walker for short distances or a manual wheelchair for longer days. Walker and wheelchair wheels are great for transporting a person across smooth concrete or asphalt, but are completely useless if you’re on grass, dirt, or any other unforgiving surface. When he was younger we made every effort to carry him, even modifying a pack frame backpack that my husband could carry him on his back in, but at 60 lbs. and growing those measures are seemingly inadequate as well now.

Levi desperately wants a track style wheel chair that would allow him the ability to experience the activities that he loves and would ultimately give the freedom back to our family to enjoy these things together. We have watched YouTube videos galore and his Wish is obvious in this desire. Action Track Chair makes a chair that would accommodate his mobility needs from youth through adulthood and that seems like a worthy Wish to want to grant for our son. 

The chair Levi has ideally picked out is the Trackstander NR which allows for being in both the sitting and standing position while still being supported by the chair. The additional accessories that he would choose are: the battery charger upgrade, the rear utility rack, headrest, headlight, armrests with pockets, and the hitch lift for transporting on a vehicle tow hitch. Additionally, he adamantly chose Camo paint for the chair.

Thank you for your kind generosity and assistance in helping this wish become his reality.”

The Rotary Club of East Jefferson County is fundraising to help raise the money needed for the Trackstander NR Chair for Levi. 

Checks may be written to:

East Jefferson County Rotary Club (EJCRC)

Attn; Jennifer Blais, Treasurer

P.O. Box 654

Port Hadlock, WA 98339

Note: Please add “Levi’s Fund” in the note section of the check. 

Once the goal of $13,000 is met, the Club will send all funds to the Wishing Star Foundation so they can arrange the purchase of Levi’s Track Chair. The Club will not retain any funds, preferring to use them all to make Levi’s wish possible.  

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