NORFOLK - A nurse saw the need to get medical equipment to patients who couldn't afford it.

Valeria Mitchell started collecting mobility devices like wheelchairs, canes and more and that effort has taken off in a big way.

Equipment closets are now open in Sentara Obici in Suffolk, Sentara Norfolk General andBon Secours Maryview in Portsmouth.

Mitchell, a trauma nurse and head of the F.R.E.E. Foundation Hampton Roads chapter, was spurred to action after seeing people not be able to afford the equipment, especially during the down economy.

Initially, items were stored in closets at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. Soon, Mitchell needed warehouse space.

The equipment is gifted by F.R.E.E. to individuals in need at no cost. You can apply online. Applications remain active for 30 days and you'll need to give a physician's prescription.

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