Barbara is a 73-year-old Kingston, ON resident who lives with osteoarthritis. Her condition results in poor balance and makes walking difficult. For over eighteen years, Barbara has been using a walker to help keep her mobile. Over time, the walker began to break down. However, she needed this equipment, so Barbara continued to use it, even without brakes. The condition of her walker was so poor that she could not even venture into the hall of her apartment building safely. Barbara said that “my old walker made me feel nervous when I was moving around.” Barbara’s occupational therapist began to worry about her safety and urged her to buy a new walker, but her limited income made this a difficult task. Barbara, in need of help, turned to March of Dimes’ Assistive Devices Program.
The Assistive Devices Program (ADP) provides financial assistance to people with disabilities across the province, assisting with the cost and maintenance of basic mobility devices as well as home and bath safety equipment. ADP is one of March of Dimes’ charitable programs supported 100% by donor dollars. Many of the people served live on an income of less than $15,000 per year, meaning that many assistive devices are financially out of reach. At ADP, the program is able to stretch every dollar to its fullest potential enabling staff to provide necessary, life-changing devices to people across the province that so desperately need them – and cannot afford the equipment on their own.
United Way donates a portion of its funds to the ADP program in Kingston and focuses on promoting Healthy People, Strong Communities. Without United Way, March of Dimes would be unable to continue helping people like Barbara. Without this partnership, the expense of a new walker, which exceeded $500, would have prevented Barbara from the peace of mind she now enjoys.
Barbara is happy to have her new, safe walker. Although she uses it primarily for indoor use, Barbara prefers using her walker over her wheelchair so that she can maintain and build strength in her legs. Without the funding she received from March of Dimes, Barbara said she “would have had to keep her old walker and she would have had to use her wheelchair more often.” The new walker is large and comfortable enough to allow Barbara to sit on it when she needs to, which allows her to use it over her wheelchair. Barbara is very thankful for the help she received from March of Dimes.