I was just 17-years old, camping with my sister and friends, during a large storm when a freak accident occurred and a large tree fell on our tent.
I was left pinned underneath the tree, and I couldn’t seem to move my legs to get out. It was a dramatic night and it honestly felt like I was in a horror movie as the lightning and thunder continued to rage around us. After a few hours, I was able to be rescued and was air-lifted to the hospital. This is when I was informed that I had broken my back and my spinal cord was severed. I lost the function of my legs and had become a paraplegic.
It was a hectic time while I was in the hospital. There was so much going on with surgeries, rehabilitation, learning how to cope with being in a wheelchair, and so much more. On top of everything, our family home was not accessible at all. There were stairs everywhere which meant I was unable to go home.
My dad knew that we needed help with the accessibility in our home and he turned to Easter Seals Alberta. With their help, we were able to formulate a plan to get me home from the hospital. Easter Seals donated stair-lifts so I could get around in my home and be a little bit more mobile. While it was great and it allowed me to be at home, it didn’t really give me the independence that I craved as a 17-year old. I still needed someone to help bring my wheelchair down to the level I was wanting to be on.
But, then we were told that Easter Seals was partnering with a local elevator company to provide an elevator in a family’s home and that our family was the first recipient of the program and that we would be receiving an elevator! We were shocked, surprised and overwhelmed with too many emotions because having an elevator was the only solution for me to be independent in my home. The “Give a Kid a Lift” program started, and after five short weeks of renovations our house was entirely wheelchair accessible meaning I could go up and down stairs and be on whatever level I wanted to be and could go out with friends and come home and not disturb my family! I was mostly free to roam my home, and it felt GREAT! This would not have been possible without Easter Seals and Garaventa lifts and all the tradespeople and architects who donated their time and money to make our home accessible! We were overwhelmed with the support and still to this day I feel tears of gratitude when I think about how this elevator has helped me! It’s so hard to go from running around your home to being stuck in a wheelchair the elevator truly impacted my life and allowed me to get my independence back.
Now all these years later I have had time to reevaluate and decide my future, and I am so happy to be able to be back at Mount Royal University and pursuing a career in public relations. Once again, Easter Seals is supporting me on my journey as I am so lucky to be a recipient of the Phyllis Davidson Scholarship through Easter Seals and am able to use the scholarship money to put towards my schooling costs.
I feel so fortunate that my Dad connected with Easter Seals all those years ago, and I can truly say Easter Seals has had such a positive impact on my life and my families life. I am grateful beyond words for the difference you make in our community, in our city and in our country!