Accessibility is very important to me as a designer and as a person. I was diagnosed with MS 17 years ago, and started using a wheelchair to get around 4 years ago. There are many barriers to me everywhere I go in my wheelchair, and I am always trying to open people’s eyes to them with my design and in my day to day interactions.
Five years ago my husband and I built our own house on the river in Washago. We built it using universal design principals so it could be used comfortably by a person who relied on a wheelchair for mobility. Hallways are wide, handles, outlets and switches are accessible, doorways are wide, the shower has no door and is large enough to be open to the rest of the bathroom and the powder room has room for a wheelchair in it. Our kitchen island has a lower part to it that I can wheel up to use the sink, light candles, open wine, or feed the dogs.
Recently our outside walkway settled so we had to retrofit our front door sill for me to be able to roll over it smoothly; here is a picture of how we did that. So I can be independent, there is no bump over a half inch in our house and I can roll around easily, often carrying things on my lap.
I have been involved in the Orillia MS Walk for about eight years and this fundraising event is very important to me. This year, the Walk has a Silent Auction at Brewery Bay in downtown Orillia from April 24 to May 4; please stop by there and bid on some amazing items all donated to help raise funds for MS research and assistance for those with the disease. The Mandarin MS Walk in Orillia is on Sunday May 5. It’s all about taking a walk….because you can. My sister’s team is called the Johnnie Walkers and I would love it if you would make a donation to them ….let’s make MS history. Just click on the link and then on a team member’s name to make a donation to that person- thank you!