‘A whole new world’: 7-year-old with spina bifida receives renovations, electric lift from ARK

A little girl in Calgary can now get around her house a bit easier thanks to a renovations and a new electric lift — thanks to a program from Accessibility Renovations for Kids.

Seven-year-old Andrea Cerdas Soto has spina bifida, a condition that affects her spine and spinal cord.

She depends on her wheelchair to move around her home, and her parents when going up and downstairs.

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However, last year her family was notified they were going to receive a generous donation, aimed at making their home more accessible.

”It’s just really nice to see these projects wrap up and see the difference and the impact we’re having on a family. Particularly a young child, making their life a little bit nicer and easier,” said Cindy Eberth with Accessibility Renovations for Kids (ARK).

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Following nine months of work, the family’s basement washroom has been completely renovated, and an electric lift has been installed in their home.


The newly renovated washroom installed in Andrea Cerdas Soto’s home.


Loren Andreae/Global News

ARK was behind the project, a volunteer-run organization that rallies foundations and tradespeople to donate their time and resources.

The Calgary Children’s Foundation (CCF) donated $10,000 to purchase the electric lift, while 101 Mobility and Handicare discounted and installed the piece of equipment. The total cost of the renovations is $45,000.

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The improved accessibility is a game-changer for the family.

“That’s going to be a whole new world for us. We have to carry her and she’s getting big and heavy, but now with this stair-lift, wow,” said father Andres Cerdas Jimenez.

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“It gives her so much more independence and makes life so much easier for mom and dad. It generally makes day-to-day simple chores that we take for granted easier. Brushing your teeth becomes a totally different ballgame for a child in a wheelchair,” Cindy Eberth with ARK told Global News.

”It’s just really nice to see these projects wrap up and see the difference and the impact we’re having on a family. Particularly a young child, making their life a little bit nicer and easier.”

The family has lived in their home in southeast Calgary for 13 years, and have installed a lift outside, and flattened their front pathway on their own.

However, the renovations are costly.

“We couldn’t have done it by ourselves, it’s a big help,” said Cerdas Jimenez.

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ARK typically helps two families each year with accessibility renovations.

The foundation hopes to expand to help three or four families each year, using donations from the public, and support from other foundations such as CCF.

ARK accepts both donations and nominations for Calgarians in need on their website.




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