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An Out-Standing Partnership

November 22, 2019 4:08 pm Comments Off on An Out-Standing Partnership

I am so excited to announce that we have produced our 1,000th standing frame to date. We could not have reached this milestone without the help of Hancock Lumber.”

Scott Mitchell, Executive Director of Stand With Me
Scott Mitchell providing standing therapy to a patient

Stand With Me is a non-profit organization that produces and distributes standing frames to physically disabled children in Guatemala and Peru. At Hancock Lumber, we are excited to continue to strengthen our partnership with Stand With Me, which originated with the start of the non-profit.

A standing frame is a therapeutic medical device that allows its users to stand in an upright position. The health benefits are numerous: enabling weight baring exercise; allowing the heart to pump as it was designed – in an upright position; reducing constipation; improving respiratory functions and more. Additionally, some patients are able to walk or stand on their own after benefiting from standing therapy. The cost of the standing frame, however, is a factor that often turns away those in need. In the United States, a simple standing frame costs about $1,000 and a complex standing frame with hydraulic lifts can cost anywhere up to $9,000. Further, the cost of obtaining a standing frame in low income countries is even higher. 

Recognizing this barrier to access, Scott designed a standing frame in 2013, in an engineering class during his years earning a dual degree from Dartmouth and Bowdoin. He then received a grant from Bowdoin College, which kickstarted his organization in 2014. His organization partners with local builders and physical therapy organizations in Guatemala and Peru to produce and distribute frames to children in need in families that make only about $1 to $20 per day. 

Stand With Me’s standing frames are unique, ironically, because they are made from parts that are not unique. All of the parts that are required to assemble a standing frame can be found at a hardware store for a low price. It costs Scott Mitchell and his team only $87 to supply and produce the standing frames, which they distribute for free to patients who need them. And, unlike other standing frames, if a part wears down or needs to be replaced over time for any reason users can locally access replacement parts easily and affordably. 

The production process in a Stand With Me workshop in Guatemala

As of September 2019, Stand With Me has now produced over one thousand standing frames. To date, Hancock Lumber has helped produce about 350 of those frames and about 100 in 2019 alone. The production and distribution process involves many parties. Scott Mitchell and his grandfather, Robert Mitchell, head fundraising efforts in the United States. Donations from partners, like Hancock Lumber, fund supplies, the cost of building and distributing the standing frame. Stand With Me has local workshops set up in Guatemala and Peru that assemble the standing frame. During its pilot year, Stand With Me was able to make 100 frames. Now, due to increased funding and experience, they can make about 280 every year. Stand With Me works with local partners in each country including Mission Impact, Capacitados and others to distribute the standing frames to patients who need them. 

“Hancock Lumber is proud to support Scott Mitchell and his organization, Stand with Me. Smart, driven, entrepreneurial–Scott has made such an impact in six short years since he founded the non-profit, all while pursuing a dual degree in engineering at Bowdoin and Dartmouth. We look forward to seeing all he’ll accomplish in the future – both with his non-profit and as he pursues his career in neurosurgery.”

Erin Plummer, Marketing Director at Hancock Lumber

As for what’s next for Stand With Me, Scott Mitchell has big plans. Within the next five years, Scott hopes to expand the capacity of his two workshops in Guatemala and Peru and to be able to produce 1,000 or more standing frames per year at each location. Scott also has aspirations of adding an additional location as he now has the ability to train staff in a week or less. Finally, he hopes to significantly improve access to standing therapy by producing a manual, which will instruct users on how to build their own standing frame from home, regardless of where they live.

Some patients are able to walk or stand on their own after benefiting from standing therapy

Hancock Lumber is supporting Stand With Me’s goals for the future by funding the cost of building standing frames, offering professional advice and supporting Scott as he perfects the “do it yourself” manual. 

To learn more about Stand With Me, visit their website www.standwithme.org

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This post was written by Sarah Hancock

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