In SCI BC News

As the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, we know the holidays will look very different this year. It can be a lonely and frightening time, especially for those who are more vulnerable because of health concerns…including people with a spinal cord injury.

a man in a wheelchair and his wife smiling together at a big event
Dan McLean and his wife, Colleen.

But you can make sure they have the critical support they need. Your generosity will help those struggling with the challenges of a spinal cord injury. Someone like Dan.

Last spring, Dan was excited to spend a day out turkey hunting with his brother. But the adventure ended tragically when his brother’s rifle went off by accident, lodging a bullet into Dan’s spine. Just like that, the 51-year-old family man was paralyzed from the chest down and will never walk again.

A whirlwind of hospitals, doctors and nurses followed. Then a few weeks later, rehab at GF Strong. Dan spent the next two months there learning a new way of life.

Medical staff try to prepare you for what’s ahead. But we know it takes someone who has travelled their own journey accepting life in a wheelchair to truly make a difference.

Dan found that someone in Ryan, our friendly Peer Program Coordinator at GF. “He was always there in the morning with a smile on his face. It was good to go in, have a coffee and talk about my new life. He’s been through this himself and understands.”

And it was three simple words that made the biggest difference – “it gets better”. Dan never forgot that. This is the power of peer support.

Dan and a furry companion.

Back in Kamloops, colder weather and concerns about COVID prevent Dan from venturing out too much. He admits that he’s starting to feel a bit stir crazy. But our virtual Zoom gatherings help, and Dan is a regular.

“It’s a great way to keep peer connections going. And I can bounce questions off the other guys about being a new para. The Zoom meetings have been a great help not only with expert advice but socially too. They lift the spirits for sure.”

Dan learning some wheelchair rugby moves from our Peer Program Coordinator Scotty James.
Dan at one of our online Zoom events.
Dan and his wife celebrating at a wedding.

With Christmas just around the corner, Dan will be spending a quiet holiday with his loving wife and two kids. It will be different than last year, but that’s okay with him. After what he’s gone through, Dan knows what’s important. Family tops the list. But being there for others is a close second. He doesn’t want anyone to face the devastation of a spinal cord injury alone – especially this time of year.

I’m asking you to send a holiday donation to Spinal Cord Injury BC today. Your gift, big or small, will help our most vulnerable neighbours right away. You can also send a special gift by honouring someone you care about with an eCard or by making a donation in their name.

Your support helps those with a spinal cord injury thrive during these trying times. We can get through this together. Please keep in mind that only funds received by December 31st are eligible for a 2020 tax receipt.

Wishing you and your loved ones a joyous and safe holiday season.

With thanks,

Ed Milligan
Chair, SCI BC Board of Directors

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