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this issue • Mexico • Philippines • Haiti • Holy Land • Vietnam • United States

Answering Prayers with the Gift of Mobility


Our Mission The American Wheelchair Mission is a non-profit organization with a goal to deliver brand new, free wheelchairs and mobility aids to physically disabled children, teens and adults throughout the world who are without mobility or the means to acquire a wheelchair. The American

Wheelchair

Mission will continue to change the lives of entire families with the gifts of hope, dignity, freedom and independence.

The Need We estimate more than 100 million people worldwide are in need of a wheelchair but cannot afford one.

Our gift

immediately changes the lives of entire families by answering prayers and making

dreams

come

true.

American Wheelchair Mission


$150 Sponsors the delivery of a brand new wheelchair

AMERICAN

WHEELCHAIR MISSION

The

wheelchair

The American Wheelchair Mission is a non-profit organization that delivAmerican Wheelchair Mission delivers free wheelchairs to children, teens and adults ersThe free wheelchairs to children, teens and adults without mobility or the without mobility. Since 2003, Knights have sponsored the delivery of more than 30,000 means to acquire a wheelchair. wheelchairs around the world.

ered

by

We deliver brand new, high quality wheelchairs by entire sea containers. Since 2003, Knights of Columbus have sponsored the delivery of more The 35,000 brand new wheelchairs wearound deliver in the 5 sizes (12, 14, 18 & 20ininch seatneed widths)ofwould than wheelchairs world to16, people dire mobility.sell for over $500 in a medical supply store, but because we ship by 110 to 280 wheelchair

at a medical supply store.

Program Highlights

deliv-

the American

Wheelchair Mission would sell for more than $500 Yet because we purchase wheelchairs directly from

containers from the factories directly to the country of delivery, we can do this at an average price of $150 each.

the manufacturer, and ship

We deliver brand new, high quality wheelchairs by entire sea containers.

For entities interested in delivering an entire container of wheelchairs to a specific country or local destination, a gift of $16,500 will deliver a shipping container of 100 pneumatic, mountain The wheelchairs we deliver in 5 sizes (12, 14, 16, 18 & 20 inch seat widths) bike or 110 solid rubber tire wheelchairs to a country specified by the donor, from our list of would selldestination for over countries. $500 in A a gift medical supply because purchase approved of $42,000 will store, deliver abut container of 260we pneumatic, them in bulk ship by 100 280 wheelchair the facmountain bikeand tire or 280them solid rubber tire to wheelchairs. A logo orcontainers short text offrom the donor’s choice will be stitched the back each wheelchair At retail tories directly to theonto country of ofdestination, wewhen cansponsored do thisbyatcontainer. an average price of these $150containers each. of wheelchairs are valued at $55,000 and $140,000. (For special sizes or delivery locations prices may vary)

them 100 to 280 wheel-

wheelchairs we deliver allow children go to school for theof first time, adults to ForThe entities interested in delivering antoentire container wheelchairs togoa tospework to provide for their families and the elderly to get out of a bed that they may have cific country or local destination, a gift of $16,500 will deliver a shipping conbeen confined to for years at a time. We are answering the prayers of entire families.

$150 donation we receive.

chairs at a time by ocean freight containers directly to the country of destination, we can deliver this $500 wheelchair with each

tainer of 100 pneumatic, mountain bike or 110 solid tire wheelchairs to a country Our mission to deliver a wheelchair or mobility aid to every person in the world who is in need specified byisthe donor, from our list of approved destination countries. A gift but cannot afford one. Over 100 million people worldwide need a wheelchair but cannot of afford $42,000 will deliver a container of 260 pneumatic, mountain bike tire or 280 one! Our gift delivers Hope, Dignity, Freedom and Independence. solid tire wheelchairs. A logo or short text of the donor’s choice will be stitched onto backthat of each eachwheelchair wheelchair whenchanges sponsored by container. Atofretail, Wethe estimate delivered and improves an average 10 lives!these containers of wheelchairs are valued at $55,000 and $140,000. (For special Sinceor2007, Knights across the U.S. havemay beenvary) having “Wheelchair Sunday” parish drives to sizes delivery locations, prices

VISIT OUR SITE Amwheelchair.org On our website you will see

raise funds for the delivery of wheelchairs. These drives have sponsored wheelchairs to Guatemala, Haiti, The Holy Land, Honduras, Mexico, Philippines, United States and Vietnam. The Wheelchairs we deliver children to go toare school theus! first time, Knights and clergy participate in theallow distributions and parishioners welcomefor to join

videos of wheelchair distributions around the world,

adults to go to work to provide for their families, and the elderly to get out of a Forthey moremay information mission, please www.amwheelchair.org, contact: bed have about beenourconfined to forvisit many years at a time. orWe are answeringDan theMoberg prayers of entire families. Chris Lewis

photos of people and their families who had their lives

Director of Public Education President 2505 Anthem Village Suiteafford E 602 2600100 E. Seltice Way, Suite A172worldwide need a wheelchair Over million people but Drive, cannot Nevada 89052 USA Post Falls one! OurIdaho gift 83854-7991 answers USA prayers and deliversHenderson, Hope, Dignity, Freedom and dmoberg@amwheelchair.org clewis@amwheelchair.org Independence. (702) 580-0705 (208) 457-0745

changed by the gift of a

We estimate that each wheelchair delivered changes and improves an average of 10 lives!

immediate way.

wheelchair, and stories of our mission that touches lives in a very tangible and

Since 2007, Knights across the U.S. have been having “Wheelchair Sunday” parish drives to raise funds for the delivery of wheelchairs. These drives have sponsored wheelchairs to Guatemala, Haiti, the Holy Land, Honduras, Mexico, Philippines, United States and Vietnam. These drives are also extremely successful tools for recruiting new members. For more information, or to watch videos and download the “Wheelchair Sunday” handbook, please visit the Knights of Columbus page of our website at: www.amwheelchair.org.

Join Us! Join us on a wheelchair distribution trip – Please email

Dan

Moberg

at:

dmoberg@amwheelchair. org for details.

1

www.amwheelchair.org


Wheelchairs for Children in Mexico across Mexico and tend to the needs of children with all forms of physical disabilities.

Distribution Partners: Teletón Rehabilitation Centers for Children / Knights of Columbus A wheelchair allows a child to go to school, go outside to play with friends, and enjoy some independence in their daily lives. There are more than 500,000 children in Mexico who need a wheelchair but cannot afford one. This number is higher than other countries in Latin America, and is the subject of much study on the part of international health organizations. Knights of Columbus have delivered many thousands of wheelchairs into the lives of children, teens and adults throughout Mexico. Working hand in hand with Knights from the United States and Canada, Mexican Knights have brought life changing mobility into their local church communities and beyond.

2

The Teletón Rehabilitation Centers for Children operate 22 world-class facilities

American Wheelchair Mission

Their medical and holistic approach to treating children has allowed them to literally bring children back to life, after a devastating illness or injury. Some 70,000 children have been treated since the start of the organization in 1996, and families across Mexico swear that God’s miracles are performed by the Teletón staff and volunteers on a daily basis.

Entire families celebrate the gift of a wheelchair

Knights in the U.S. and Canada have been working with Teletón centers for a number of years and have shipments of wheelchairs being sent on a regular basis. The American Wheelchair Mission is very proud to work closely with the Teletón centers and hopes to expand our participation in their lifechanging mission.

Without a wheelchair, people crawl along the ground

“Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:14) To join us on a wheelchair distribution in Mexico, please send us an email at info@amwheelchair.org for details. Michigan Knight Bill Gardner was very touched by his experience in Mexico


Nevada State Deputy, David Ryan and a new friend

Angela, 3 moves herself for the first time

Marissa can now go to school with her new wheelchair

Rodolfo, 12 is so happy to have his new wheelchair

Brother Knight, Bishop Rutilio del Riego blessses a wheelchair recipient in Mexico City

A national symbol of love and caring for children

Elise loves her new yellow wheelchair

Rodrigo Figueroa, 2 moving himself for the first time ever

3 www.amwheelchair.org


The Answer to Prayers in the Philippines

4

In what is known as a squatter’s area in Naga City, a 6-month-old boy named James was somehow able to crawl out of his house and onto the narrow gauge railroad track that runs down the middle of his street. The train did not stop and James Distribution Partner: The lost his leg. At the age of Compassionate Francis2, James received his first can Sisters of the Poor mode of transportation in the form of a wheelchair. MothThe Mission of the Com- er Joan explained, “He is a passionate Franciscan Sis- smart little boy and is able to ters of the Poor and their hop for short distances, but founder, Mother Joan Clare he cannot go anywhere withChin Loy, is to feed hungry out being carried or dragging children, care for orphans, himself along the ground. teach school, respond to ur- This wheelchair will allow gent needs of families, and him to go to pre-school and now bring mobility into the start learning.” lives of people near Manila, Naga City and throughout Near the Naga City dumpthe Philippines. site, a mother provides for all of her children and husSince early 2011, Mother band by scavenging the Joan and her sisters have trash from dawn to dusk for imported more than 1,100 food or anything sellable. wheelchairs, and hundreds Her youngest child was born of canes, crutches and walk- without the ability to walk and ers donated by Knights of she cannot afford even the Columbus to help the physi- time off to take him to a free cally disabled people in the clinic. Mother Joan gave the areas they serve. young boy a wheelchair so his siblings could bring him The Sisters run schools, to the school and church the feeding and day care cen- sisters created within the ters around the city dumps dumpsite settlement. in both Manila and Naga, where more than 50,000 The California Knights of people live off the refuse. Columbus have initiated They also have an orphan- “Project Mobility for the Philage that provides loving care ippines,” which will deliver for abandoned children from 560 wheelchairs to the Maall walks of life. nila and Davao areas of the

American Wheelchair Mission

country. Mother Joan and her sisters will coordinate all aspects of the distribution. “The needs of the people here are great,” said Mother Joan, “but with continued prayer and the blessings we have received from the Knights of Columbus, we will be able to improve the lives of many families. God bless you all for your compassion!” “May our love be the remedy that will make our world a better place. May we see all people as our brothers and sisters. Let us reach out to everyone with compassion!”

Antonette, 10 lives at the orphanage and is very happy about her wheelchair

Camille, 15 has had to crawl or be carried her entire life


James, 2 is hopping to get his new wheelchair, near the track that cost him his leg

Erica’s entire school came to see her and two others get wheelchairs

Mother Joan bringing a wheelchair to a waiting family

Squatter’s house in the city of Naga, Philippines

Erica has never had a wheelchair before

Camille can now go to school for the first time

The Compassionate Franciscan Sisters of the Poor deliver wheelchairs at the city dump in Naga City

5 www.amwheelchair.org


Everyone is so happy with their brand new wheelchairs - they have been given the gifts of mobility and independence

Naga City Knights carry a man to his new wheelchair

This lady told us her prayers had been answered

James’ brother helps him with his new wheelchair

Mother Joan’s warehouse in the city of Naga, Philippines

6 American Wheelchair Mission

Knights from Naga City help a man to his home


A Lenten Journey to Haiti been served with prosthetics and orthotics through the clinic, provided entirely by the Knights of Columbus. The next day, the team drove to the most remote village in the Haitian central plateau. The road is inaccessible five Distribution Partner: Project months out of the year beMedishare Hospital cause of heavy rains. There is no electricity, and the vilThe most recent trip to Haiti lagers live in extreme poverby the Knights of Columbus ty. After a grueling five hour and the American Wheel- ride in an SUV, inching its chair Mission took place in way over ruts, sharp boullate February of 2012. Haiti ders and mud, the team aris the poorest country in the rived with a truck full of new Western Hemisphere, where wheelchairs, donated by the most people barely survive Knights of Columbus. on the equivalent of 2 U.S. dollars a day. Compounding At the same time, a young the poverty, a 7.0 magnitude Haitian mother named Moearthquake struck on Janu- nique started her day. She ary 12, 2010, near Port au lives in the Haitian central Prince, Haiti’s most popu- plateau region. She awoke lated city. It is estimated that and took care of household 220,000 people were killed chores and perhaps preand more than 300,000 were pared a meal for her mothinjured. 1.5 million people er, five siblings and daughwere rendered homeless. ter. These simple tasks are painful for Monique because Founded in 1994 at the Uni- she does not have the use versity of Miami, Project Me- of her legs. They atrophied dishare mobilized the first long ago as a result of an medical team on the ground illness during infancy. She in Haiti, just 12 hours after drags herself on her hands the earthquake. and knees, slowly and deliberately, but always with a The first stop for the team beautiful, shy smile on her was the Project Medishare face. Rehabilitation Hospital in Port au Prince. In-country Monique’s neighbors knew physical therapist Jason that the wheelchairs had Miller explained that more arrived. They came to her than 1,000 people have home that morning and of-

fered to carry her to the distribution. “It’s difficult for me to ask people for favors to get me around,” she explained through an interpreter. “I was carried here by many people. One passed me off to another until I got here.” As Monique’s neighbor added, “She is my friend . . . When I see her working so hard, crawling all by herself, she doesn’t have any strength . . . As a man from her neighborhood, I just try to help her. I carry her because of my faith in God.” Monique tentatively crawled to the wheelchair that was assigned to her. With her shy smile, she climbed into it, looked into the eyes of those around her and smiled. “Thank you . . . thank you . . . thank you.” Later she said, ”Now I’m out of my misery. I can get around. I am more independent. When I need to go somewhere, I can go on my own.” The team agreed with the sentiment of Monique’s neighbor as he said: “She is my neighbor . . . I cannot leave her along the way.”

7 www.amwheelchair.org


Devastation from the 2010 earthquake can still be seen

Being carried is this man’s only means of transportation

Florida PSD Bob Read helps a lady into her wheelchair in the Central Plateau

Hundreds of canes, crutches and walkers were also delivered by the Knights

8 American Wheelchair Mission

Monique being carried to get her wheelchair

Florida PSD Bob Read in the Central Plateau delivering wheelchairs sponsored by Florida Knights

Monique is very happy to have her new wheelchair


A Major Impact in the Holy Land The race was now on to distribute the wheelchairs before the rainy season set in, so Knights from California, Texas and Florida flew to Jerusalem to take part in the distribution. Distribution Partners: Caritas Jerusalem / Catholic Relief Services His Beatitude Fouad Twal is the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and represents the Vatican in the Holy Land. He is also the President of Caritas Jerusalem and oversees much of its humanitarian outreach.

Hala Yousef Totah, a registered nurse at the Caritas Center in Ramallah said, “The gift of wheelchairs provided by the Knights of Columbus has had a major impact on the quality of life for many Palestinian Christians. Caritas operates and sup- Wheelchairs are so far out of ports day care centers for reach for most people that the elderly, affordable hous- they leave the country to find ing, job training programs relatives who will care for and educational support ser- them. I know of several hunvices throughout the West dred right now who will find Bank and East Jerusalem. their lives better because of The majority of the people you, and not want to leave involved in their programs after all. God bless you.” are Palestinian Christians, but all groups are welcome.

At the Caritas Center in Ramallah, a wheelchair like the Supreme Knight Carl An- one we deliver would sell for derson wrote a letter to His more than $1,200 U.S. DolBeatitude to ask for guid- lars! This is the wheelchair ance as to the best way to we can deliver with each get wheelchairs distributed $150 donation. The staff to the Christians of the Holy and volunteers do as much Land, as well as others in as they can for the aging need. population, but much help is 12 year old Bara attends rehabilitation needed from us. classes at the Princess Basma CenThe response was enthusiastic, so the American One lady told us that her fam- ter in East Jerusalem. Paul Fehmel watches him try out the first wheelWheelchair Mission began ily has secured the Greek chair he has ever owned working with Caritas Jerusa- Orthodox Church of St. lem and Catholic Relief Ser- Nicholas in Beit Jala since it vices to ship a container of was built in the 1850’s and 280 wheelchairs to the Holy her ancestors go back much Land, sponsored by Knights farther than that. She said, of Columbus in California, “We are the descendants of Texas and Florida. the first followers of Christ, and we deserve to be able to After months of waiting for live in our homeland without clearance from Israeli cus- fighting for our existence.” toms, the wheelchairs were The altar at the site of Jesus’ crucifixdelivered to Jerusalem. ion in the church of the Holy Sepulcher

9

www.amwheelchair.org


A view of the grey dome of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the center of the photo

Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Fouad Twal, meets wheelchair recipients at the Patriarchate in Jerusalem

10

Within minutes, Effa moved herself through the house and out onto the back porch to talk with her sister-in-law next door

American Wheelchair Mission

Dallas Knight, Paul Fehmel helps Jeff Robertson carry a wheelchair in the old city of Jerusalem to a woman confined to her home

Issa had tears of joy in his eyes when he got into his new wheelchair

The Franciscan Church in Cana

Wedding

Paul Fehmel sits with Sr. Maria Cecilia from the Wedding Church in Cana, at the home of Effa, a Palestinian Christian woman who lives down the street and was in dire need of a wheelchair


Mobility Aid for Vietnam nam and has been responsible for distributing more than 1,000 wheelchairs sponsored by the Knights of Columbus.

Distribution Partner: Caritas Vietnam / Archdiocese of Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam is one of the most beautiful countries in Southeast Asia with more than 9 million Catholics, who make up the second largest religious group behind the Buddhists. Catholic churches and strong parish communities are everywhere in the southern half of the country, but the central and northern areas have well established parish councils who volunteer tirelessly to help meet the needs of the very poor populations. Caritas Vietnam has recently been granted permission by the government to operate its charitable mission throughout the country, and is the official distribution partner of the Knights of Columbus. Under the supervision of His Eminence, Cardinal Jean Baptiste Pham Minh Man, Fr. Vincent Vu Ngoc Dong is the Director of Caritas Viet-

The KofC/Wheelchair Mission team traveled most recently to Ho Chi Minh City, Qui Nhon, Danang and Hue to deliver wheelchairs to residents who have never been able to afford a wheelchair. Caritas offices in each city identify the recipients, and Bishop Joseph Chau Ngoc Tri of Danang has taken a strong interest in expanding our mission.

rience, we are welcomed by so many like-minded people who want only to help those in need, that the hands on collaboration with Caritas Vietnam has become one of the most efficient and effective distribution relationships we enjoy anywhere in the world. The Catholic churches are the centers of the communities, and the local priests work with extreme dedication to their parishioners when helping us identify those who can best benefit from the gift of a wheelchair.

A man in Danang named James Phung was waiting for us at his local church with Caritas Danang Director, Fr. Minh. James walks by using two red step stools to shift his weight from one to the other and move himself along the ground. This is how he “walks” to church. James lost his legs in a firefight that took place in his This happy lady could not believe the wheelchair was really hers village in 1972 when he was only 7 years old. For the past 40 years he has needed a wheelchair and is so happy to be on Fr. Minh’s list of recipients. He will work hard to help others with physical disabilities and volunteer more often at the church. There are many misconceptions in the U.S. about the country and people in Vietnam. In our extensive expe-

This happy young man at the My Trung parish is so happy he will be able to go to church more often

11

www.amwheelchair.org


Caritas volunteers help a lady at the Than My Parish to get her wheelchair

Fr. Vincent blesses a wheelchair recipient at the Cardinal’s private chapel

Children at the My Trung parish thank the Knights of Columbus

James Phung “walking” with his step stools

A man is carried from a sampan on the Kinh Xang River to get his wheelchair at the My Trung Parish from Fr. John Baptiste Ciung

12 American Wheelchair Mission

This woman believes she had polio as a child and now has a wheelchair for the first time

His Eminence Cardinal Jean Baptiste Pham Minh Man meets wheelchair recipients in Ho Chi Minh City


Serving Those Who Served A wheelchair user named Karen, who is also a Navy veteran said, “The thought and development you have put into these wheelchairs is inspiring. Being able to raise and lower the arms for ease of transfer is so important. The bright yellow color made Distribution Partner: VA me think of sunshine and Medical Centers and happiness. It might seem related facilities like such a small thing, but these gifts are truly lifesavThe Knights of Columbus ers for the thousands of peoacross the United States ple you have helped through support the opportunities to the years.” assist our nation’s veterans whenever possible. The De- Later that same day, the partment of Veteran’s Affairs Knights traveled to the hill and especially the Voluntary country, and the Kerrville Service directors understand VA Center to deliver anoththat there is always a need er load of wheelchairs. The for additional support for our truck carrying the wheelveterans. chairs was escorted by the Texas “Knights on Bikes,” One of the most visible ways who always make a grand Knights have been able to entrance on large mostly assist the VA and veterans Harley Davidson motoracross the country is to de- cycles. liver brand new wheelchairs to be used by the vets. At Kerrville, Marine Corps veteran James was so takOn a blustery June morning en by the generosity of the at the Audie Murphy VA Hos- Knights and the wonderful pital in San Antonio, Texas, presence of the Fourth Detwo dozen brand new yellow gree Color Corps, that he wheelchairs were delivered was inspired to salute the by a contingent of Knights Knights in thanks. It was an from Boerne and San An- emotional moment for everytonio. Texas Knights have one present. raised money for wheelchairs to help veterans, re- Knights Councils in Marytired clergy and local needs land, Florida, California, Texas well as international proj- as, Arizona and Tennessee ects to countries around the have provided thousands world. of wheelchairs for veterans

over the years and many states are holding “Wheelchair Sunday” parish drives to increase their support of our nation’s heroes. It is with great pride that we are able to Serve Those Who Served and bring some “Sunshine and Happiness” into their lives with the gift of brand new yellow wheelchairs.

A patriotic welcome at the VA center in Kerrville

Karen is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and loves the yellow wheelchairs

James salutes the Knights in gratitude

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www.amwheelchair.org


Knights of Columbus and Wheelchairs Since 2003, Knights of Columbus have sponsored the delivery of tens of

here at home to veterans and their families in need of mobility. Since 2007, Knights across the U.S. have been having “Wheelchair Sunday” parish drives to raise funds for the delivery of wheelchairs. Beginning with Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church

in

California, Gerard

Pasadena, where

O’Brien

Fr.

coined

the phrase “Wheelchair Sunday,” this program has spread across the country and sponsored thousands of wheelchairs. The first 5 parish drives in Southern California raised enough money to sponsor the delivery of 1,000 brand

new

wheelchairs

and added more than 150

Knights on Bikes escort the truckload of wheelchairs

James thanks the Color Corps Commander

Maryland Knights delivering wheelchairs to the VA facility on Veteran’s Day

Wheelchair Sunday If you want the most successful fund raiser possible for the delivery of wheelchairs, then please visit the Knights of Columbus page of our website at www.amwheelchair.org to download the “Wheelchair Sunday” booklet for the complete instructions on how to conduct a “Wheelchair Sunday” parish drive.

You can help make a difference in someone’s life.

Wheelchair Sunday “Easier than a pancake breakfast!”

These parish drives are also the most successful membership tool you will ever experience. We are changing lives, and After seeing our video during mass and hearanswering prayers! ing our presentation, parishioners will have a new understanding of the charitable work being done around the world by the Knights of Columbus. We then invite the gentlemen to join us, and the rest is done by personal contact outside at the information tables. You will change lives with the delivery of wheelchairs, and you will increase membership in your council. It is easier than a pancake breakfast! Since 2007, Knights across the U.S. have been having “Wheelchair Sunday” parish drives to raise funds for the delivery of wheelchairs. These drives have sponsored wheelchairs to Guatemala, Haiti, the Holy Land, Honduras, Mexico, Philippines, United States and Vietnam and added hundreds of new Knights to the councils involved.

new Knights to the local membership. Please visit the Knights of Columbus page of our website to learn how you can host a “Wheelchair Sunday,” or contact Dan Moberg, Director of Public Education at dmoberg@ amwheelchair.org or (208) 457-0745.

Please visit our website to watch videos of Knights delivering wheelchairs around the world, read articles or donate. For more information or donations: Dan Moberg Director of Public Education 2600 E. Seltice Way, Suite A172 Post Falls, Idaho 83854-7991 USA dmoberg@amwheelchair.org 2505 Anthem Village Dr., Suite E602 (208) 457-0745 Henderson, Nevada 89052-5505 USA Chris Lewis, President

clewis@amwheelchair.org

Photos by: Randy Hale and Chris Lewis

around the world, and right

Copyright 2012 American Wheelchair Mission

thousands of wheelchairs

(702) 580-0705

American Wheelchair Mission Touching Lives Around the World  

This newsletter highlights the various partnerships and wheelchair distributions that the American Wheelchair Mission has made over the cour...

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