It can happen at birth, in old age or anytime during one’s lifespan. But sudden loss of mobility as a result of illness, accident or surgery can be devastating for people who are used to their independence and getting about on their own.
Loss of dignity often comes with loss of mobility.
“No one expects to suffer illness or injury that affects their mobility, their independence or dignity yet it happens throughout northern B.C. every day,” said Prince George Red Cross public affairs coordinator Dena Allen. That is where the equipment loan service can help, she said.
“Each year in northern BC and the Yukon, Red Cross provides the short-term loan of clean, safe, medical equipment to more than 3,600 people of all ages who are living in their homes and recovering from injury, illness or surgery.” Medical equipment like wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, bathtub seats and canes can make the transition easier, Allen said.
The Medical Equipment Loan Service Centre at 1399 Sixth Avenue in Prince George is largely operated by caring and committed volunteers. But it also takes money to clean and maintain equipment and provide customer service, she said. On Monday, the centre accepted a cheque for $10,000 from Ken Kilcullen, general manager of the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group Prince George. Red Cross regional director Chris Bone, who accepted the cheque on behalf of the centre, said the infusion of cash was just what the centre needed.
“We set a fundraising campaign target of $575,000 in December 2004 so this generous contribution allowed us to reach our goal,” said Bone. “This donation by the Jim Pattison Foundation is a welcome boost to our campaign and will help ensure that the medical equipment needs of people in the north are being met.
Funds from the Canadian Red Cross campaign were earmarked for renovations and improvements to the facility, she said, including an expansion of space from 1,000 to 5,800 square feet, a fully equipped technician repair bay and industry standard cleaning facility and a loading dock.
Equipment inventory was expanded and hours of operation extended.