Volunteers helped a family by building them a new washroom.

Creating a momentum of pride

Sooke Harbourside Lions and volunteers help local family

When one hears the phrase, “it takes a village to raise a child,” visions of children in impoverished countries living in mud huts comes to mind. But, the phrase is more personal than that for some people.

One of those people is Susan Percival, an education assistant in Student Support Services at Edward Milne Community School. She is also a Sooke Harbourside Lions member.

Percival, who was hesitant to have the focus on herself, spoke for all of the people involved in a project that has made an incredible difference in the lives of two young siblings. The project began with an email and 250 emails later the job is complete.

Young adults Victoria, 18 and Robert, 20,  both have Freiderichs Ataxia, a rare, recessive genetic disorder, which confines them to wheelchairs and affects their gross motor skills resulting in abnormal speech, changes in vision and hearing. The prognosis is not good and there is no cure.

At 19 Robert suffered a stroke and went from being a walking, talking, skateboarding dude to someone who depends entirely on others. Victoria, who is two years younger, is beginning to see the effects of the disorder.

“She is a beautiful, witty, and determined young lady,” said Percival of Victoria. Victoria is in her grad year at EMCS and dreams of moving out and living on her own. She is not deterred by the fact that she is in a wheelchair.

Both siblings, through the Assistance Dogs through Lions Foundations of Canada were able to get assistance dogs. Fabio and Radar, are both black standard poodles and assist the teens daily by opening doors, picking up objects and barking when assistance is needed. The Sooke Harbourside Lions host the Purina Dog Walk each year at Whiffin Spit. This year’s walk is on June 17.

Percival said, “They are great ambassadors, they create awareness of what assist dogs can do.”

Percival, who visited Victoria, at her home between Sooke and Langford, to play cards couldn’t help but notice the difficult and dangerous bathroom arrangement the teens were forced to use. The rental home they live in was not suited for wheelchair reliant people and such normal tasks, such as bathing, were dangerous in the old-fashioned crowded washroom. Their mother had to assist them even with those most personal daily tasks.

“They’re just an amazing family,” said Percival. “The mom is a hero to me — a champion. She does what she does with a smile on her face.”

Percival couldn’t look away so she took the idea of the project to the Sooke Harbourside Lions and began a process which has created a whole bunch of community heroes.

She wanted to create an accessible, open concept bathroom with $1,000 secured from the Sooke Lions Club.

“We created a momentum of pride,” said Percival. “One person took four months out of his busy life.”

Percival is talking about Dave Dare of Road’s End Contracting who agreed to take the project on.

“I was the stage manager and David was the conductor,” said Percival.

Dare assessed the situation, drafted a plan and offered to take on the entire job from recruiting trades to ensuring things got done.

The demolition, construction, plumbing, electrical, etc., was all done by trades people.

“Every trade I spoke to said they were glad to help,” said Percival. “They were so pleased to think they were helping.”

The seemingly impossible $20,000 renovation got done for just $2,500. Expensive specialized equipment came from the Cowichan Independent Living Loan Cupboard for a fraction of the cost.

“I’m so proud of these folks,” she said.”It was synchronistic.”

The Sooke Harbourside Lions will be fundraising for the remaining $1,500 which was required to complete the project.

“It’s what the Lions Clubs do,” said Percival.

Just Posted

Announcement for Sooke Road improvement expected this week

Premier promising ‘preliminary’ work, with more on the way

Dozens rally outside Premiere’s office for sick Sooke boy

Six-year-old Landen Lanthier needs $19,000 a month to treat rare form of arthritis

Sooke’s Most Wanted

The following individuals are wanted by the Sooke RCMP as of Jan.… Continue reading

Victoria airport reaches nearly two million passengers in 2017

This year expected to see additional growth

Community rallies behind Sooke boy with rare condition

Dozens called on government to cover cost of drug for six-year-old Landen Alexa

VIDEO: B.C. Lions sign defensive back T.J. Lee to contract for upcoming season

The four-year veteran had a team-high four interceptions and 49 tackles last season with B.C.

How an immigrant to Canada helped Donald Trump prove his mental health

Test that cleared Trump was developed by doctor associated with McGill and Sherbrooke universities

Premier touches on multiple topics ahead of Asia trade trip

Housing and childcare are expected to be the focus of the BC NDP’s first budget in February.

Wanted by Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers for the week of Jan. 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Premier offers condolences to family of boy, 15, killed in Vancouver crossfire

John Horgan: ‘No stone is to be left unturned until we find the perpetrator of this heinous crime’

LETTERS: Sooke roads not racetracks

What can we as a community do about the blatant law breakers… Continue reading

Vernon to host largest Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games in 2019

Games to be held Feb. 21-23, with more than 800 athletes expected to take part

Ex-BC Liberal staffer focused on ‘favourable’ ethnic communities in scandal: lawyer

Former communications director Brian Bonney’s sentencing hearing for breach of trust is underway

Most Read