ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Medical equipment is normally expensive on its own, but adding inflation and shortages on top of that has made it even worse for some. One Abilene nonprofit is giving people medical equipment free of charge – regardless of their income.

Abilene woman, Michelle Dale, told KTAB/KRBC this medical closet is helping her husband so much. He was diagnosed with sleep apnea in 2006, “You stop breathing at night while you’re sleeping.”

Michelle said her husband’s condition has him reliant on a CPAP machine. 

“The CPAP machine is constant positive airway pressure, and it puts positive pressure on your airway to keep it open,” Michelle explained. 

When the machine was recalled in 2021, Michelle said she panicked because the equipment could not be replaced for a few months. Because the couple was in the process of moving, the added hefty expense only added stress to the already stressful situation.

They were able to get a CPAP machine, valued at around $1,500, which was donated to the Joseph Thomas Foundation’s medical closet in Abilene, and they got it for free.

This help is offered to anyone, regardless of age, diagnosis, or, as the executive director said; income. 

“It’s a very short, simple Google form. You just request it, and if we have it, it’s free of charge,” instructed Meagan Kirk, Executive Director of the Joseph Thomas Foundation. 

Even though the foundation has been around for a while, the closet was just created two years ago. 

“We were finding that there was a lot of families that would outgrow equipment, or their child would pass away,” Kirk reasoned. “And they would have all of this equipment and be like, ‘what do we do with it?'”

However, the equipment donation supply soon grew to be much more than just children’s equipment. 

“We went from serving about 10 to 15 families per year to over a thousand,” Kirk delighted. 

Being able to serve so many families is all through the foundation’s now six closets located across Texas, where the equipment can be shipped around the world.

Locations across Texas include:

  • Taylor County – Abilene
  • Parker County – Weatherford
  • Lubbock County – Lubbock
  • Rockwall County – Rockwall
  • San Angelo

Kirk told KTAB/KRBC she believes those numbers could be higher if more people knew about the Joseph Thomas Foundation and its mission.

“Everybody is either going to get hurt, get sick, or get old – every single person,” said Kirk. “So I’m like, we can help every single person.”

Kirk said she’s hopeful the foundation can help more people like the Dale family – whether they need a CPAP machine, or just a simple blood pressure cuff.

If there is an item that they do not currently have, Kirk said you will be put on a waiting list and called when they have equipment for you.

Click here to request or donate medical equipment. You can also learn more and ask questions on the Joseph Thomas Foundation Facebook page.

The Joseph Thomas Foundation also offers a financial assistance program for whoever may be in need.