CLOSED: This engagement is now closed.

Functionning member of society, yet not part of it in its entity.

by Ginette Remillard ,
My husband has Becker's muscular dystrophy. His condition is worsening and he is in a wheelchair. He is a wonderful son, brother, husband, father, computer programmer and a longtime contributing member of society.

It is frustrating when many barriers treat him as second class citizen, yet he pays his taxes.

When we go out, he can't always get in through the front door as there is no proper accessibility into a building or venue. At times, the elevator needs a special key or someone to operate, leaving him waiting behind or having to get the run around of excuses. Also, we can never sit as a family in the designated accessible area at many sporting venues as only one attendant is permitted to sit with him in this designated area. Therefore, our family outings are never a true family outing. We need to take turns between children in order for them to be able to create memories with their father. How sad and pathetic!

On another note, snowclearing and accessibility in winter is left to be desired by many businesses. We have had to bail on many things or plans as he couldn't get through the snow or even enter a building. The bathrooms are not always up to code causing the same effect as mentioned before.

Luckily, our van is wheelchair accessible with a ramp. Yet, many spots are not large enough to accommodate the space needed for him to be able to get out. This causes for us to, again, to have to displace ourselves or always be on the lookout for another way of doing things.

We noticed that even new buildings or businesses do not have any access for him, whether it being a slopped curb close to it or an automatic door? Why is that? This is a 5 year old build? Where is the inclusion in the building code? I don't even want to get into the lack of retrofitted buildings. That is another big issue.

We speak of human rights, I guess a disabled person is not considered a human according to many of our experiences. It saddens me. My children may not have their father around for a long time, and I feel like his time with them and me should be barrier and stress free.

So I ask you, next few times you go out, to look around and really focus on some of these issues, and see how you would fare or feel, if ever you were faced with these challenges.