(ANTIGONISH, N.S.) - On the road to getting his first motorized wheelchair, Cullan Chisholm made a recent stop at the Keating Centre. Donning his blue and white X-Men jersey, the three-and-a-half year old took centre stage prior to the home team’s Jan. 4 game versus the UNB Varsity Reds.
Joined by his parents, Wade and Monique, the young hockey enthusiast dropped the ceremonial puck before the game. Proceeds from the X-Men’s 50-50 ticket draw that night were donated to a fundraising effort to help Cullan get his new set of wheels.
His proud mother said talk of equipping Cullan with his first motorized wheelchair began with his IWK health care providers in the fall of 2012.
Family and close friends learned of the power wheelchair options being explored, including the associated costs. “I think the head piece alone is roughly $7,000; that’s just the piece that goes around so he can control the wheelchair,” Chisholm noted.
Community member Dee Melong suggested some fundraising options, including a bottle drive in the Havre Boucher area, where the family resides.
Along with the price tag for the motorized wheelchair, she said costs associated with adapting the family vehicle and home have to be considered.
She noted a ramp for the back of the van will be the first step. To accommodate a motorized chair, Chisholm said adjustments will have to be made to the ramp at the family home, along with modifications to its interior.
When Chisholm gave Melong the go-ahead to proceed with a bottle drive fundraiser, she said she expected “the few thousand dollars” raised would help out with the van ramp, or whatever else the benefits may not cover.
Chisholm said the family was blown away by the response to the bottle drive, which started leading up to the Christmas holidays and continued after the New Year. “We had no idea it would explode the way it did,” Chisholm said.
Along with the bottle drive, Chisholm noted several organizations and individuals have made contributions to the fundraiser. “It has been amazing,” she said, noting totals continue to be tabulated.
“We think we are going to meet the fundraising goal,
which is unbelievable,” she added.
Any monies collected above and beyond the cost of the wheelchair and related equipment will be put towards ongoing maintenance and other issues.
“As a parent with a child with severe physical disabilities, it is nice to know that stress – one of the many stresses that I have – is off our shoulders should something break,” Chisholm said. “The thing people often don’t realize is when you have a child as young as Cullan in a wheelchair – this is his first of many power wheelchairs as he grows."
Chisholm said having the monies from the fundraiser and other contributions will make things much easier. “We are so thankful for everyone’s generosity. It is so, so helpful. It all means so much."
“To be honest, Wade and I are really overwhelmed. We had no idea it would explode like this; we don’t know where to turn or who to thank because so many have done so much,” she added.
If people would like to contribute to the fundraiser for Cullan, call Delores Melong at (902)234-2435.
Courtesy of Corey LeBlanc