Grand Rapids man with brittle bone disease raising money to get new wheelchair

Posted at 6:28 PM, Feb 05, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-05 18:28:36-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Over the past 49 years of Scott Becker's life, he has broken bones between 500 and 600 different times.

He was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as brittle bone disease.

While he spent his earlier years connected to a walker, he now spends much of his time in a wheelchair that's been with him for the past 13 years.

"It's been maintained relatively well," Becker said. "I've made modifications but it's at the point now that it's not repairable anymore."

Due to his condition, Becker isn't able to ride comfortably in a standard wheelchair.

"You feel every single crack and bump in the sidewalk," Becker said. "It's bone jarring at times."

He's now got his eyes set on a Mike Box Design chair. It's about 15 pounds lighter than the one he uses currently and is easier to maneuver. The only problem is, it costs $4,000, and his health insurance won't foot the bill.

"They consider it a luxury item and that's clearly not what I'm wanting," Becker said. "It's my every day's my legs."

While Becker makes money by creating lights for wheelchairs, it doesn't bring in enough to meet his needs. So, he started his own fundraising through GoFundMe.

He's one of thousands of people collecting donations for things like memorial expenses, medical costs and even college student loans. More than $600 million have been donated through the site since it began in 2010, according to GoFundMe.

Becker created his account less than two weeks ago and is now halfway to reaching his goal.

"I'm really grateful to what everybody has been donating so far," he said. "I look forward to possibly getting the chair in a couple of months."

While Becker's still got a couple thousand dollars to raise, he's already planning on getting his chair in the color, "plum crazy purple."

When it comes to fraud and choosing to donate, GoFundMe suggests donating to people you trust and personally know.  It also said that because crowdfunding creates such a robust paper trail of account holder activity, fraud on GoFundMe is nearly nonexistent.