The past few days have seen Idahoans come to the aid of a Meridian man whose wheelchair was stolen while he cheered on the Broncos during Boise State’s Friday night football game against Virginia.
Some turned out on Monday to search the area around Albertsons Stadium — a search that turned up empty — while others donated to a GoFundMe to replace Nathan Ogden’s $4,000 custom chair.
Among the donors was Ryan DeLuca, the founder of BodyBuilding.com and a prominent Boise businessman. Late Monday night, he pledged $20,000 to the fundraiser — half of the total goal for the project, which is also raising money for people who need wheelchairs in underdeveloped countries.
Ogden said he was “absolutely awestruck,” by DeLuca’s generosity, noting that he’d never met the man and didn’t even have his contact information on Tuesday morning.
“He not only has donated $20,000 to get me a new wheelchair, but has also offered to match any donations up to another $20,000 all to go towards wheelchairs for underdeveloped countries,” Ogden wrote in a Facebook message.
Ogden, who is quadriplegic after breaking his neck two times, has previously raised money to donate chairs to impoverished countries in an event called Chair the Hope. He said donations from DeLuca and 28 others have proved that the community is willing to pull together during rough times.
“There are people in this world that make noise with their bad choices, but we know together we can silence that noise through exceptional acts of kindness,” Ogden said.
The Statesman has reached out to DeLuca for comment.