Posts Tagged "changed"

7Mar

The invisible injury: How concussions have changed our lives | CBC News

by admin

There’s a good chance you know someone who is living with a concussion — even though it might not be easy to discern.

Acquired brain injury is the leading cause of death and disability for Canadians under the age of 40. 

As part of the CBC Vancouver series Brain Trust — which investigates the world of concussions, CTE and the medical research that informs their treatment — we asked our audience to share their stories of living with brain injuries. 

An overwhelming number of people responded from all walks of life: athletes from both contact and non-contact sports, people who had suffered workplace injuries, car accidents, slip and falls, cycling injuries, and more. 

Watch the video above to see some of those stories. 

Concussions also put a demand on the healthcare system. 

Every year in B.C., approximately 14,500 people visit emergency rooms because of concussions. 

Numbers from Ontario and the United States show concussions occur at a rate of about 1,100 per 100,000 people.

The estimated health service cost of concussions in Ontario is over $11 million annually.

Learn the science behind concussions and why they can be so dangerous:

Neuroscientist Naznin Virji-Babul explains the science behind concussions and why they can be so dangerous. 3:22

19Jan

‘I was very ignorant’: How being paralyzed changed one woman’s view of how the world treats disabled people | CBC News

by admin

A wheelchair user from Fort Nelson in northeastern B.C. is pushing for better accessibility for all, based on her own experiences struggling with moving around. 

Two years ago, Kristi Leer severed her spinal cord in a vehicle crash. Since then, Leer has used a wheelchair to get around. 

Leer says the experience has been eye opening.

“You know when I got in this chair, I’m going to be very honest, my attitude toward persons with disabilities and wheelchairs was very ignorant, and when I say ignorant, I mean not knowing,” Leer told host Carolina de Ryk on Daybreak North.

“The thing was I realized everybody in a wheelchair is the same as you and I … The problem is the space we’ve allowed for all the humans in the world is not designated for a wheelchair.”

Leer says one example is when she tries to park her car. Leer continued her work as a traffic instructor after the accident, in part by using a specialized vehicle that she can drive while sitting in her wheelchair. 

Kristi Leer next to her car. She estimates she needs about 12 feet of extra space near her car to get in and out safely. (Submitted by Kristi Leer)

However, the vehicle requires a lot of space around it so that she can get in and out of her car safely. To get in, she presses an automatic button on a remote to extend a five-foot ramp out of the drivers side. The wheelchair itself is around three-feet wide. 

“[Any parking space] needs to have an extra, I say, 12 feet beside of it for me to park in,” she said.

And those spots are hard to come by. Leer tries to park next to empty spots, but if she returns to find someone has parked in it, she has to find that person, so that they can move their car.

Advocating for change

This week, Leer met with the South Fraser Active Living group in Vancouver. The group has already petitioned local municipalities about changing their parking space bylaws. 

Leer has already reached out to the provincial and federal governments. 

B.C.’s Social Development and Poverty Reduction Minister Shane Simpson said Leer’s experience highlights the need to make the province more inclusive and accessible. 

“We’re developing the province’s first accessibility legislation, which will be informed by the ideas, experiences and feedback we heard from people like Kristen,” Simpson said. “We know there’s more to be done, but our government is making accessibility a priority.”

His ministry says one aim of the legislation would be to create accessibility standards. 

Leer said she’ll be reaching out to her mayor and council next. 

“When you can’t get around in your area, there’s no point in being anywhere and people are staying home because of it,” Leer said.

Kristi Leer of Fort Nelson went off the road in 2018, severing her spinal cord and putting her in a wheelchair. Now, she’s fighting to improve accessibility in B.C. 7:55
19Jan

‘I was very ignorant’: How being paralyzed changed one woman’s view of how the world treats disabled people | CBC News

by admin

A wheelchair user from Fort Nelson in northeastern B.C. is pushing for better accessibility for all, based on her own experiences struggling with moving around. 

Two years ago, Kristi Leer severed her spinal cord in a vehicle crash. Since then, Leer has used a wheelchair to get around. 

Leer says the experience has been eye opening.

“You know when I got in this chair, I’m going to be very honest, my attitude toward persons with disabilities and wheelchairs was very ignorant, and when I say ignorant, I mean not knowing,” Leer told host Carolina de Ryk on Daybreak North.

“The thing was I realized everybody in a wheelchair is the same as you and I … The problem is the space we’ve allowed for all the humans in the world is not designated for a wheelchair.”

Leer says one example is when she tries to park her car. Leer continued her work as a traffic instructor after the accident, in part by using a specialized vehicle that she can drive while sitting in her wheelchair. 

Kristi Leer next to her car. She estimates she needs about 12 feet of extra space near her car to get in and out safely. (Submitted by Kristi Leer)

However, the vehicle requires a lot of space around it so that she can get in and out of her car safely. To get in, she presses an automatic button on a remote to extend a five-foot ramp out of the drivers side. The wheelchair itself is around three-feet wide. 

“[Any parking space] needs to have an extra, I say, 12 feet beside of it for me to park in,” she said.

And those spots are hard to come by. Leer tries to park next to empty spots, but if she returns to find someone has parked in it, she has to find that person, so that they can move their car.

Advocating for change

This week, Leer met with the South Fraser Active Living group in Vancouver. The group has already petitioned local municipalities about changing their parking space bylaws. 

Leer has already reached out to the provincial and federal governments. 

B.C.’s Social Development and Poverty Reduction Minister Shane Simpson said Leer’s experience highlights the need to make the province more inclusive and accessible. 

“We’re developing the province’s first accessibility legislation, which will be informed by the ideas, experiences and feedback we heard from people like Kristen,” Simpson said. “We know there’s more to be done, but our government is making accessibility a priority.”

His ministry says one aim of the legislation would be to create accessibility standards. 

Leer said she’ll be reaching out to her mayor and council next. 

“When you can’t get around in your area, there’s no point in being anywhere and people are staying home because of it,” Leer said.

21Dec

A single-vehicle crash changed her life. Now she strives to be a living warning against impaired driving | CBC News

by admin

Nearly 20 years ago, Lynette Welch was into her second straight day of drinking when she climbed behind the wheel of her powder blue Chevy truck and drove from her brother’s house to make a run to the liquor store. 

It was Aug. 10, 2000. Welch was 31 years old and married with two young children, living in her hometown of Williams Lake, B.C.

Welch turned her pickup down Horsefly Road, a long, winding backroad with worn centre lines and gravel shoulders leading into grassy ditches. Speeding, she lost control on a curve.

The Chevy lurched off the road and rolled four times, the cab crushed a little more with every rotation. No one else was involved or hurt in the single-vehicle crash, but Welch arrived at the hospital braindead and only survived after emergency surgery.

Lynette Welch’s blue truck was totalled after her crash on Aug. 10, 2000, in Williams Lake, B.C. (Submitted by Lynette Welch)

Welch hasn’t driven since that crash nearly 20 years ago. She lives alone on disability in an apartment in Williams Lake, unable to work because of her traumatic brain injury and a paralyzed arm. She has trouble with her memory and, in her words, she doesn’t walk correctly.

She’s 51 years old, divorced and has only seen her two grown children, on average, once a decade. 

Welch posts old photos of the wreck and its backstory several times a year, especially around the holidays, warning others how much they can lose, or take away from someone else, if they choose to drive drunk like she did.

“I lost my life, in a sense,” said Welch, speaking by phone from her home. “That’s what people need to realize: It costs you so much and it could cost other people, too.”

Welch was an alcoholic at the time of the crash, drinking in secret in her laundry room as a way to cope with stress and a failing marriage. She worked as a licensed daycare provider.

She said the choice to drive the day of the crash wasn’t really a conscious decision at all. She just did it because she felt she could.

“I just drank because I got away with it … I never, ever was confronted about it,” Welch said.

Lynette Welch in hospital after her crash on Aug. 10, 2000, in Williams Lake, B.C. She was in a coma for about a month. (Submitted by Lynette Welch)

Welch was in a coma for more than a month after the crash. She and her ex-husband separated soon after.

A judge granted him full custody of their children after they divorced, a ruling Welch attributes to her history of alcohol abuse. The children and their father soon moved out of province and have seldom returned to B.C.

“I have a bit of a relationship [with my kids], but nothing like I could have had, that’s for sure,” said Welch. “Now they call their step-mom ‘Mom.'”

Lynette Welch with one of her children before her crash on Aug. 10, 2000 in Williams Lake, B.C. She has seldom seen her two children since the crash and her subsequent divorce. Her husband was granted custody and moved away from B.C. (Submitted by Lynette Welch)

Welch dumped her last drink down the kitchen sink on Sept. 22, 2003. She spent years speaking to teenagers in her community through the Prevent Alcohol and Risk-related Trauma in Youth program, known as the P.A.R.T.Y. program, which runs throughout B.C. to expose young people to the dangers of impaired driving by showing them the potential consequences. 

Impaired driving is the third-leading cause of crashes in B.C., behind distracted driving and speeding. One-third of deadly crashes in the province between 2008 and 2016 involved drugs or alcohol, according to the BC Coroners Service.

Now, Welch posts her story on Facebook and encourages others to share it with their networks. 

“It always brings back memories of my decision whenever I share on Facebook, but it’s more important that people see the message,” she said.

“I’m not just standing, shaking my finger, saying you really shouldn’t drink and drive … You can see, physically, with me, why not to drink and drive.”

“I lost one life when I crashed that truck and even if I reach one person … I think that’s why I was maybe allowed to live.”

1Nov

Location changed for Nelson conversation on accessibility, inclusion

by admin

The location for the accessibility consultation meeting in Nelson has been changed to the Prestige Lakeside Resort and Convention Centre.

On Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, will host an in-person session for people with disabilities, their friends and families, accessibility advocates and self-advocates, as well as organizations, experts, businesses and individuals to help define what future legislation to make B.C. a more accessible and inclusive province could look like.

The meeting will be held at the Prestige Lakeside Resort and Convention Centre, 701 Lakeside Dr., Nelson, from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

All are welcome to attend, participate and offer feedback about their experiences with accessibility, inclusion, barriers and what matters most in the development of accessibility legislation.

To register for a meeting or to learn more about the proposed legislation, visit: engage.gov.bc.ca/accessibility

People can also provide their feedback through an online questionnaire at the above link until Friday Nov. 29, 2019, at 4 p.m. (Pacific time).

28Jul

Dr. Peter Centre has had to reinvent itself as the face of HIV changed

by admin


Longtime AIDS survivor Frederick Williams (left) and Scott Elliot, executive Director of the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation. Photo: Jason Payne/Postmedia


Jason Payne / PNG

Every Wednesday night at the Dr. Peter Centre 38 men gather to meditate, laugh, listen to music, share a meal and talk about their lives.

The men are long-term HIV survivors.

“A lot of us thought there wasn’t a hope in hell that we would survive,” said Frederick Williams, 55, who tested positive for HIV in 1986. “I had waves of friends that died and died quickly.”

Williams said many survivors missed out on romantic relationships, on friendships, and work opportunities, and experienced isolation and stigma.

“We were told don’t bother to go to university or plan a career, you won’t be here,” said Williams.

For the past year Williams, who is on disability, has been participating in the Dr. Peter Centre Evening Program, a clinical pilot project designed to serve the special needs of men over 50 living with HIV. 


Longtime AIDS survivor Frederick Williams.

Jason Payne /

PNG

Since the introduction of antiretroviral medication, HIV has become a manageable chronic disease, but it is still a very complex medical condition, with significant social stigma attached, said Scott Elliot, executive director of the Dr. Peter Centre.

Isolation, PTSD, loneliness, internalized shame and a lack of acceptance in their own communities are just some of the social challenges many still face.

“Thirty years ago no one thought they were going to live,” said Scott. “There was a lot of trauma.”

The Dr. Peter Centre was founded by Dr. Peter Jepson-Young in 1992 to provide comfort and medical care to AIDS patients.

With the advent of antiretroviral therapy, and as the demographic most affected by HIV shifted from gay men to the  intravenous drug-using community, the Dr. Peter Centre pivoted its programs to service that community.

“Among the HIV community we now serve 80 per cent have mental illness, 80 per cent have substance abuse and 100 per cent have chaotic life circumstances,” said Scott.


Scott Elliot, executive Director of the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation.

Jason Payne /

PNG

The cohort of “aging gay men with HIV” no longer fit the model of services the centre provided, said Scott.

As data emerged showing long-term HIV survivors experience unique health challenges, the Dr. Peter Centre became concerned this demographic was again experiencing neglect.

“They are aging faster, getting co-morbidities such as neurological difficulties, bone density issues, depression, challenges with the pill burden — all things we expect with age, but showing up earlier among this population,” said Scott. “We saw a need and wanted to help reach out.”

Since its inception in 2017, the program has been a huge success, said Scott.

The 38 participants have a say in the program and even developed a self-reported quality of life survey index that included questions the participants felt were most important: physical and mental health, as well as social connection and support.

“They’ve made new friends,” said Scott. The dinners are a highlight, with frank conversations that flow from lighthearted joking, to politics and trends, to managing the pill burden, to deeper issues around stigma and shame.

“This is a place where we can talk about anything. We don’t have to explain ourselves,” said Williams who the program has prompted a “calming” and a “recovering of self.”

“To be alive after all these years is amazing, but it’s hard to relate to society knowing we experienced this epidemic, we lived it, we survived it. It’s a great place to vent, and we have a lot of fun.”

The fun includes music, art, trivia games and a big social dinner prepared by the Dr. Peter Centre chefs.

“We even take the leftovers home, and hopefully we’ve made a friend or two,” said Williams.

The Dr. Peter Centre is now looking at developing a similar program for women aging with HIV.

dryan@postmedia.com


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13Jun

Automatic door openers, curb cuts and hope: What’s changed since CBC’s Access Denied series | CBC News

by admin

Ashley Martin-Hanlon couldn’t hide her enthusiasm as she approached the coffee shop. 

Last time she went there, she had to ask someone to open the door for her. 

Now there’s an automatic door opener. 

“Ooh, button. This is new,” said Martin-Hanlon, before powering on through. 

It’s one of several improvements that accessibility advocates reported to CBC in the months following our Access Denied series. The stories highlighted how people with disabilities are sometimes excluded from day-to-day activities.

Automatic door openers can give independence to people with mobility disabilities, so that they don’t have to ask others to open the door for them. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC )

 

The owners of the Jumping Bean franchise on Elizabeth Avenue were under no obligation to install the new door openers. 

Co-owner Karl Reid said they also plan to renovate the restrooms within the next couple of months to make them work for all customers.

What an awesome response. It’s nice when you’re able to show someone something and instead of getting defensive, they jump to immediately put it right.– Ashley Martin-Hanlon

At the moment, there’s not enough room in the accessible stall for someone using a power chair to turn around and close the door. That’s even though the business had complied with the accessibility regulations in effect at the time.

The owners’ new franchise on Kelsey Drive in St. John’s is fully accessible, including a large washroom that Martin-Hanlon could navigate with ease. 

The recently-opened Jumping Bean coffee shop on Kelsey Drive in St. John’s has a washroom large enough for anyone using a motorized wheelchair. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC )

“What an awesome response,” said Martin-Hanlon. “It’s nice when you’re able to show someone something and instead of getting defensive, they jump to immediately put it right.”

Numerous new regulations under the Buildings Accessibility Act in Newfoundland and Labrador should also make a difference.

The regulations came into effect in April, and include requirements for newly-constructed buildings to be equipped with automated door openers and more accessible public washrooms.

Gary Hall demonstrating the new curb cut outside his apartment building in St. John’s. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC )

New curb cut makes big difference for wheelchair user

Gary Hall of St. John’s is celebrating an improvement that has a direct impact on his life.

A contractor has installed a new curb cut outside the entrance to his apartment building in the Pleasantville neighbourhood of St. John’s. 

Hall uses a manual wheelchair. The building has an elevator and his apartment is accessible. 

But when he’d call accessible taxis, the drivers would have to haul his chair to get it up over or down from the curb. 

Now there’s a slope the wheelchair can navigate, instead of a sharp drop. No more lifting is required. 

“The curb cut makes a huge difference,” said Hall. “If I’m in an accessible cab, they don’t have to tip me back and put me over the curb.” 

That’s important for a man who loves socializing and taking part in community events, whether it’s the St. John’s Pride Parade, Shave for the Brave or playing basketball. 

Gary Hall celebrating Pride Week in St. John’s in 2017. (Submitted by Alex Tsui)

Contractor consults on accessible housing 

Hall is lucky enough to have an accessible apartment.

Suitable housing remains a pressing issue for many other people living with disabilities. 

Kim White of St. John’s wrote about that in a commentary for CBC.

After it ran, a contractor who does home renovations geared toward people who want to stay in their own homes as they age requested a meeting with White, who alternates between using crutches and a wheelchair to get around. 

Kim White washes dishes in her St. John’s apartment. (Sherry Vivian/CBC )

White said she was happy to offer tips and insights that could help the contractor in his work.

White said another couple also got in touch with her, seeking advice on how to make the condominium they rent out more accessible. 

“It really sends a message that people are starting to understand that there are things that they can do,” said White, who has been advocating for years for more inclusion for people with disabilities. 

Making spaces and events more ‘autism-friendly’ 

The Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador is also reporting progress.

Communications manager Tess Hemeon said the group is seeing an increased number of calls from people looking to make their events or spaces more ‘autism-friendly’.

Empower, a resource centre for people with disabilities, reports a 100 per cent increase in demand for its services between 2016-2017 and 2017-2018.  Those services include helping people who are trying to find jobs. 

Executive director Kimberly Yetman Dawson said the InclusionNL program is at maximum capacity. It provides supports for employers who are looking to hire people with disabilities. 

Tess Hemeon is the Advocacy Manager for the Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador. (CBC News)

Community group installs automatic door openers

There’s more: The St. John’s Retired Citizens Association contacted mystory@cbc.ca to report that its building on Bennett Avenue now has an automatic door opener.

Club president Cyril Hayden told CBC there used to be a post between the two front doors.

The post is now gone, and a larger, single door is now in place, complete with an automatic door opener that a person using a wheelchair can reach.

Hayden said the total bill was just under $15,700. The provincial government covered $10,000 of the cost through a grant, while the City of St. John’s offered a grant to cover the remaining costs.

The club offers music, exercises and games for more than 200 members. 

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador 

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