An off-road wheelchair used to transport people with disabilities made a strong impression at the recent grand opening of Manzanita Hut.
The TrailRider made it possible for two people to attend the event, located at the end of a steep trail leading to the bluffs. Volunteer sherpas pushed and pulled the chair along the trail, assisting people to reach the top.
CC Duncan, who has formed Powell River Mobility Opportunities Society (PRMOS), had brought a TrailRider to the community last year, in an effort to generate interest and raise $7,000 to purchase one for Powell River. She had to return it at the end of May to BC Mobility Opportunities Society (BCMOS) because not enough money could be raised.
Meanwhile, Powell River Parks and Wilderness Society was planning a grand opening of the fifth shelter on the Sunshine Coast Trail. Duncan was asked if the TrailRider was available on that day, but it had been sent back already.
Duncan called Pat Hull, Rona Building Centre manager and a supporter of the project, who arranged to pick up another TrailRider from BCMOS in Vancouver.
Hull’s son, Steven, was the first rider up the hill at the grand opening. The second rider was Ron Como, who had been a caretaker at Inland Lake Park.
A volunteer, Todd Cross, trekked up and down the hill each time with the TrailRider, Duncan said. Duncan’s husband, Raymond Lavoie, also pitched in for sherpa duties, as did Pat. Much laughter and conversation were part of all the trips.
“The sherpas are committed to sign up for more events,” said Duncan. “We’re not short of sherpas or participants and we can’t thank them enough for making this a first for us, for Ron and Steve, their families and friends. We are just short of the TrailRider.”
The TrailRider had to be returned to BCMOS, Duncan said, for programs that run throughout the summer. “Our goal is to have similar programs here in Powell River, giving more opportunities to Ron and Steve and many other families and friends to experience this again, or for the first time.”
Interested readers can still contribute toward purchasing a TrailRider for Powell River. Donations can be made online. Donations requiring receipts should be made through the “Giving Page,” set up through BCMOS. First Credit Union in Powell River is also accepting donations for PRMOS.