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(UPDATE) Kirkwood remembers wheelchair activist Frank Barham

Kirkwood and East Lake Metro ATL

(UPDATE) Kirkwood remembers wheelchair activist Frank Barham

Frank Barham. From the Wheel 2 Live Facebook page.

Frank Barham. From the Wheel 2 Live Facebook page.

Kirkwood is remembering Frank Barham, the wheelchair activist from that neighborhood who was wheeling his way from Atlanta to Savannah when he was killed in a traffic accident.

The Kirkwood restaurant Le Petit Marche is donating 15 percent of Wednesday’s sales to Barham’s charity Wheel 2 Live. On the restaurant’s Facebook page, it said:

“We lost a beautiful soul. Frank Barham, died tragically last week while doing a charity ride to raise money for disabled persons needing quality wheelchairs. An ADA activist and talented musician, his legacy is one that will live on. 15 percent of tomorrow’s sales will be dedicated to Frank’s charity wheel2live.net. Please donate if you can in honor of this extraordinary man who did so much to help others.”

Decaturish asked Le Petit Marche owner Marchet Sparks if she knew Barham. In an email she said, “I have known Frank since 2008 when I first opened the shop and have long admired his courage … He was both as an artist and advocate. We will donate 15 percent of tomorrow’s gross sales in his honor and will be open from 8-5 p.m.”

The 59-year-old Barham was wheeling his way across the state to raise money for people who need wheelchairs. He died when a fuel tanker truck hit the back of an escort van following Barham, which then hit and killed him, according to a WXIA report. The report says Barham was just a few miles short of his 302-mile journey when the wreck happened last week.

Atlanta City Councilwoman Natalyn Archibong, who represents Kirkwood, said in her May newsletter:

“Frank was an amazing man. He was an early activist in the Kirkwood area. He boldly confronted suspected drug dealers. He was not limited in any way by his wheelchair. He was one of the first people to put cameras outside of his house to aid police in eradicating crime in his neighborhood. He was a courageous, kind and tenacious community leader. He made a significant impact on the quality of life in Kirkwood. He will be deeply missed.”

According to the Wheel 2 Live website, it was a serious car accident that left Barham a paraplegic at the age of 24. When a doctor asked him what he planned to do, he said, “learn to play the harmonica.” Barham went on to study music theory and jazz.

Barham’s journey to Savannah was being documented on the Wheel 2 Live Facebook page. Now mourners are posting condolences and remembrances of Barham there.

This afternoon, Kirkwood resident Earl Williamson sent along details about a memorial for Barham being held Wednesday, May 27…

Frank Barham Memorial Vigil & Jam for Wheel 2 Live This Wednesday 5/27

Please join us all at a memorial vigil and musical jam remembering Kirkwood musician and disability rights and access activist Frank Barham this Wednesday 5/27 at 800 East Studios, 800 East Avenue NE, 30312.

Frank died on the final leg of a 302 mile trip by wheelchair intended to raise awareness and funds to provide wheelchairs for persons with disabilities who unable to acquire them.

No. It’s not that easy for some to get a wheelchair without help.

Frank would want you all to realize that and participate.

The vigil and jam will also be a fund raiser for Wheel 2 Live, Frank’s non profit focused on getting wheelchairs to those disabled unable to acquire them.

For details visit the Wheel 2 Live site at http://www.wheel2live.net/

Dena Mellick

Dena Mellick is the Associate Editor of Decaturish.com.