What Disability Concerns is All About

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Elly VanAlten is the Regional Disability Advocate for CRC Classis Alberta North.

On September 23 Alberta television stations featured a news item about a young lady who 'climbed' to the top of an 8000-foot mountain in Camrose, Alberta.  What made Kuen Yang newsworthy is that she is a quadriplegic.  Although she has enough movement in her hands to operate a joystick (to control e.g. a computer) and self-propel her wheelchair, she is totally dependent on others for personal care. 

The climb was made possible with the help of friends at the Push to Open Nature Society and the Rocky Mountain Adaptive Sports Centre.  Both organizations are devoted to helping persons with disabilities enjoy the same activities in nature that able-bodied persons participate in.  Forty volunteers took turns in groups of eight carrying her specially-designed carrier up the challenging mountainside to the summit.  The only negative effects she suffered had nothing to do with her disabilities - the shortness of breath and nausea was caused by the altitude!

Getting to the summit was an emotional experience for this young lady, who has participated in other extreme sports in the past and hopes to go scuba diving at  some point in the future.  Although her friends praise her bravery, motivation and willingness to try anything, she is the first to credit her friends with her success.  "The community can make the impossible possible for persons with disabilities," she told reporters.

Isn't that what Disability Concerns is all about - educating people in our churches to make it possible for persons with disabilities to do what may appear to be the impossible?  Do we really make every effort to assist the persons with disabilities among us to really belong and really serve?  If a group of nature lovers can do it, how much more shouldn't we as churches be able to do it in the name of our Lord?

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Elly, your story is great, with the help of people to get a quadriplegic on a hiking trip.   But if you google Camrose Alberta for a 3D view, you will not see any mountains at all anywhere from Camrose.   An 8000 foot mountain is pretty high, and Camrose is still in the prairie part of Alberta.   Should the location have been Canmore perhaps?  

These stories are great!  I am reminded of a girl, Colleen Buitendyk, who has been in a wheelchair all her life with cerebral palsy, who used to enjoy having a two wheel cart attached to her powered wheel chair and pulling little kids behind her in it, across the grass and the gravel parking area at our place.  Or her independance in tearing across the playing field at the local Bible Camp. 

I am reminded of a nephew in a wheel chair with mental capacity issues, who attended his sister's wedding.   When the minister asked her if she would take "this man to be her husband", her younger brother yelled out, "No!"   .... and there were some chuckles.... and no one was upset....   and the wedding went on....

Participant

With apologies to the folks from Camrose, I need to clarify that Kuen ascended a Rocky Mountain in Canmore.