The Calgary Children’s Foundation’s annual Pledge Day is Friday, December 2nd. Donations in recent years have changed many lives in the community, including for one family who received a bathroom renovation.
“We found out we were going to get this reno around Christmas time, and it was the best Christmas present I’ve ever received,” says Katherine Thomas-Brothers.
“It’s just not something we could have afforded.”
Her nine-year-old son George was born with a gene mutation that results in him using a wheelchair for mobility. His mother often carries him. As he grew, so did his equipment.
“George weighs about 60 pounds now,” Thomas-Brothers says, adding that bath time has become downright dangerous.
“When he’s slippery and wet, he’s impossible to get off the ground safely.”
But redoing the bathroom was simply not possible for the family to do on their own due to the “astronomical” cost to do it properly.
But that all changed when Thomas-Brothers got a call from the organization ARK (Accessibility Renovations for Kids) and the contractor SHIFT, which specializes in this type of construction.
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“It was like winning the lottery,” she says.
“It’s very fulfilling because you get to see something from concept to completion,” explains ARK’s Sue Trefry.
Her organization applies for grants from the Calgary Children’s Foundation. She has never been rejected.
“You will see how meaningful it is for the families.”
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ARK teamed up with SHIFT for the bathroom project. In a twist of fate, the bathroom reno was a revisit for owner Griffin Simony.
“I was actually out here a few months or maybe a year before talking to the family about these renovations, so it was really great to come back and finish the job for them,” Simony says with a smile. .
Only this time the work was all done for free, including all the dealers who donated their time.
“Honestly, in today’s market, (it would) probably run you in the mid-$20,000s to $30,000s,” Simony says of the estimated cost to build a zero-threshold shower and widen the doors.
Today, the bathroom is a sleek, modern design that suits the needs of the whole family. It also serves as a reminder that giving on Promise Day really makes an impact, says Thomas-Brothers.
“To give them that opportunity to just live a more dignified life and just be able to take care of the child in a safe way, I mean, that’s huge. It’s a wonderful gift.”
Call 770 CHQR on Dec. 2 or go online to the Calgary Children’s Foundation website for more information on how to donate.
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