Linda has plenty of reasons to smile. She has a brand-new motorized scooter, and with it, a new sense of freedom.
"I couldn't ask for better. It saved my life," the 72-year-old said.
Linda has suffered with knee pain for as long as she can remember. It is so bad, she can’t even walk on her own.
Because of her limited budget, she was stuck using an old, unreliable wheelchair for years. That is, until she met Kelli Casto, whose non-profit organization “Saving Our Seniors” provides gently used medical equipment to seniors in need.
"Sometimes they just need a little bit of assistance but they can’t afford it. So we're going to come in and provide it for them," Casto told FOX 13.
As an occupational therapist, Casto sees first-hand the struggles of seniors with limited resources.
"I just saw a need. Every time I would discharge a patient they wouldn’t be able to afford the medical equipment," she said. "Prior to this, I would purchase equipment on my own or rally with other therapists."
Casto started Saving Our Seniors two years ago and has already helped 700 people comfortably age at home.
"I just want to make people happy. I want them to be able to age safely in place and not have to go to an assisted living facility. I want them to be able to stay home and thrive,"” she said.
Casto relies on the community for help and houses donations inside a Clearwater warehouse. So far, she has collected more than 3,000 items, everything from medical equipment to hospital beds to wheelchairs and walkers.
"You come in and you provide a senior a wheelchair and they’re just so happy and grateful," Casto said.
Just ask Linda; her new wheels allow her to do the things she loves most.
"I can get to bingo, which is very important. And I can get around to my neighbors and my friends," Linda said.
And for that, Linda will be forever grateful.
"I don't know how to thank her. I would've never been able to afford one of these, never been able to have one of these if it's were not for her," she said. "Any way I can help her now, that's my goal."