Connor needs help for new wheels

Connor Groenewoud just started junior high school this fall.

And as the only boy in his entire school in a wheelchair, the 12-year old understands other students at times have trouble with the fact that he’s different.

Sarah Groenewoud with makeshift ramps that her son Connor

Sarah Groenewoud with makeshift ramps that her son Connor, 12, temporarily uses to roll his motorized wheelchair into their back of the van at their home in Calgary AB on Friday November 4, 2016. Mike Drew Postmedia

By Eva Ferguson, Calgary Sun November 4, 2016

“There’s a boy in his class, who has his own issues, a learning disability, I think… and he keeps poking Connor with a pencil,” says Connor’s mother Sarah Groenewoud.

“But he’s so empathetic, he says to me, Mom, I don’t mind that he pokes me with the pencil if that’s what he needs to do. But I think I’ll just ask him to poke me with the eraser side.”

After being diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a degenerative muscular disease, Connor’s mobility has become a significant challenge in the last year as he slowly loses his ability to walk, run, and climb stairs without succumbing to total exhaustion.

This past summer the family was able to purchase a $400-wheelchair that fits into the back of their old 2006 Honda Odyssey.

But without an adaptable ramp and lowered rear hatch, Sarah says she struggles everyday to lift the wheelchair in and out of the van, bring it to the side of the vehicle and then load Connor into it.

And while the family has decked out the wheelchair to look like a space shuttle, the sheer weight of it makes it extremely difficult to lift in and out of the van several times daily.

“There are many days where Connor wants to go out a lot to different things, but I just can’t do it. It’s just so exhausting getting that chair in and out of the van.”

The cost of a new, properly adapted van, is close to $80,000, and with only $2,000 available in government grants, Sarah says the family just can’t afford it.

“This family needs our help,” says family friend Nicole Tait.

Family and friends of the Groenewouds have started a charitable foundation called Connors Wheels on Anyone interested in donating can visit The Charitable Foundation of the Family (Calgary).

Tait says the foundation has also started an open Facebook page called Connors Wheels.

Sarah says the daily challenge of watching Connor deteriorate has become increasingly difficult on their tight-knit family.

Sarah says the daily challenge of watching Connor deteriorate has become increasingly difficult on their tight-knit family.

Connor was diagnosed with the rare disorder when he was three years old, after she started to notice he wasn’t running or climbing as freely as other children his age.

“He had a bit of a waddle when he ran. And he’d always stick his chest out.

“I just thought, that’s my Connor.

“But after we ran tests, we knew.”

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is a severe form of muscular dystrophy usually beginning around the age of four in boys and worsening quickly after that. Muscle loss begins in the lower body, followed by the upper body, making it difficult for children to run, walk then stand.

Source Calgary Sun

About The Charitable Foundation of the Family (Calgary)
Everett Koeller founded the Charitable Foundation of the Family, CFF in 1989 as an avenue to perform grass roots work in our community. His objective remains today as we strive to maximize donors’ contributions to helping those in need of our help.

The foundation is committed to maintaining flexible funding criteria to fill the gaps left by other welfare organizations with more specialized programs. Our objective is to assist based on a real need rather than specific criteria. Our supporters are made up of family, friends, business associates and those who believe in the work we are doing.

Also see
Why Canada Helps in

Mobility Menu
Call 403-240-9100