College student decorates donated crutches to destigmatize them

College student Natali Avshalomov is making good use of her downtime. 

Avshalomov started the Walking on Sunshine Project, an effort to decorate and donate crutches to charitable organizations. Avshalomov began the project during the pandemic as a way to continue volunteer work while obliging by social distancing restrictions.

Smiley facescolorful paint splatters and pink flowers are just a few of the ways she has added flair and personality to crutches. By giving the crutches a makeover she hopes they will become a source of pride for those who use them.

“Think of it more of an accessory as opposed to a burden. That’s why I want to make them customized, special and unique,” Avshalomov told Spectrum News

The student also wants to encourage others to start taking volunteering into their own hands too. 

“You don’t have to start from a whole organization or being artistic. You have to have the drive to do something and just do it,” Avshalomov told Spectrum News

Her first batch of crutches was donated to the Children of War Foundation, an organization that provides resources to kids affected by poverty and war. 

“So, these children otherwise, if it was not for the medical donation, would not get the crutches they would need,” she said. “It helps a kid gain their mobility and better their childhood with this project, so I think it has a lot of meaning to it.” 

The project also has personal meaning to her. Avshalomov plans on going into orthopedics or podiatry when she graduates. She always imagined she would bedazzle her future patients’ casts, so you might call this just the beginning. 

“It just makes me feel better that I’m helping other people that don’t have the same opportunities,” she said. 

The Walking on Sunshine Project is currently raising money on GoFundMe for its next batch of crutches. 

If you liked this story, check out In The Know’s article on the 21-year-old transgender model who’s speaking out about his deafness.

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