Update November 20, 2020: The family has installed the wheelchair lift after receiving enough donations. They are deeply grateful for everyone’s generosity.
A Vancouver family is raising funds to install an electric wheelchair lift in their home so their daughter can get in and out of the house by herself.
Five-year-old Sailor is very good at getting around the house and the neighbourhood on her own, but every time she leaves the house, a parent or caregiver needs to carry her and her wheelchair down the stairs.
Her father, Jarrett Vaughan, says it can be dangerous in the winter when the steps get slippery. But more importantly, he wants Sailor to have the same freedom to come and go that her siblings do.
“It’s so she can go out and feel a sense of independence,” he told Daily Hive in a phone interview. “That’s one of the most important things for a kid with disabilities.”
“Her brothers might see a cat and run out and pet the cat,” he continued. “If my wife and I aren’t there right away, by the time she gets us to come out and get her down that opportunity might have passed.”
The family is trying to raise $15,000 via an online fundraiser.
Vaughan has tried applying to many organizations for funding, but understands that Sailor’s lift may get passed over for someone with more urgent needs.
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The family also sometimes gets questioned about why they don’t move to a condo or more accessible home, but he doesn’t think Sailor should have to leave her home or the school where she’s made friends because of her disability.
Sailor also likes the Kitsilano neighbourhood where they live, and her family has even worked with the Park Board to have wheelchair mats installed on Kits Beach so she can enjoy it.
In addition to spending time with family, Sailor enjoys surfing, adaptive skiing, and playing sledge hockey.
“Sailor is a spirited, adventurous little girl. She’s shy when you first meet her but she has an incredible sense of determination and independence,” Vaughan said. “It’s allowed her to overcome enormous adversity.”