By Gozde Bayar
ANKARA (AA) - A health application has changed the life of a disabled girl by turning its users’ steps into donations.
Help Steps, a Turkish-origin app, organized a donation campaign for Tugba Ozer, who was born with a type of muscular disease, and has been receiving physiotherapy since she was born.
A total of one billion steps of the app’s users were counted by the app under the campaign to fundraise for an electric wheelchair for the 16-year-old girl who is unable to walk.
“Tugba used a manual wheelchair and she was dependent on her caretaker,” her mother Dudu Ozer told Anadolu Agency.
"She has become more independent, social and outgoing since she received her electric wheelchair.
"Now Tugba is so happy, calling the wheelchair her car, and spending time outdoors with her friends,” Dudu said, adding that she is also more motivated to go to school.
She continues receiving her education at a high school in the Turkish capital Ankara, despite suffering from a rare disease called Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita (AMC), the mother added.
AMC, which refers to the development of multiple joint contractures affecting two or more areas of the body, is observed in one out of every 3,000 to 5,000 live births.
Dudu also expressed hope that people would walk more so that the donations could continue. “You can walk both for your health and help someone even without directly donating money but just through your steps counted by the app during the day,” she added.
- Application helps both for social campaigns and to stay physically active
The World Health Organization suggests that “a goal of 10,000 steps per day has been widely promoted and advocated as a strategy for increasing physical activity among able adults.”
Although technology is often accused of making people inactive and lazy, Help Steps application motivates people to go outside and stay physically active while helping the dreams of those in need come true.
Gozde Venedik, the project officer of the app, stressed that the app is free and available for iOS and Android, adding that it raises funds just through in-app advertising.
Users need to turn their steps into “help-steps” before midnight by watching a short ad, she said.
“We take the ad revenue from Google, allocate some of it to fund the application and transform users’ steps into money.”
Nearly 80 million steps are taken daily and over 80,000 people have downloaded the app so far, she added.
Venedik noted that Tugba, by “lighting the torch” as the first aid recipient, set an example for other people in need, and now many other disabled people, encouraged by this first case, look forward to taking part in the app's campaign.
Another young girl, Umay Ela Ozcan, is now in dire need of an electric wheelchair, Venedik said, adding that the app also collects donations for different non-governmental organizations as well as for the Turkish Red Crescent and organizations working on protection of animals.
“So far, we have bought an electric wheelchair and helped three charities. We also share the invoices from donations on social media to inform people,” she added.
The application is currently available in Turkish, but the developers are also planning to offer it in multiple languages in the coming days.