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‘I can do what I used to do’

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LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. — Deanna Belt, a member of the Lake Elsinore Ward, Menifee California Stake, had decided during the last decade that there were many things she would never be able to do again. But then a group of mostly LDS students set out to help their teacher and changed her life.

Sister Belt, a career technician at Elsinore High School here, inherited arthritis about 20 years ago and has needed the aid of a wheelchair for the last 10 years.

Last year 40 members of the CTR Club, a service club organized in 1996 at the high school by LDS students and others to re-enforce right choices, started to raise funds to purchase Sister Belt a new motorized wheelchair.

"I was grateful for their gesture, but I thought the students were taking on an impossible task," said Sister Belt. "I have tried so many times to raise funds for scholarships and I know how difficult raising money can be."

The desired motorized chair came with a $5,400 price tag. The students needed to raise half the money — the cost not covered by insurance.

"There were so many people who wanted to help," said Stephanie Shatzer, a senior at the school. "Mrs. Belt has done so much for students over the years that everyone who knew her wanted to be involved."

Stephanie said the students distributed fliers, and newspaper articles helped create awareness. At the end of this school year, the students had exceeded their goal, raising an additional $695 for a wheelchair lift.

"I can now do what I used to do years ago," Sister Belt said. "I have been really isolated."

Today, Sister Belt lists going to campus events, getting her mail, going to the grocery store and moving around her yard and home as new joys in her life. All came as a result of the wheelchair.

"It's been a long time since I have done a lot of things," Sister Belt said. "Now I feel more a part of the campus and the world. It's like getting legs again."