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Sitting Gracefully

Posted on 02/08/2009 12:00am

Fernie Free Press
2009-08-02

Grace Brulotte, Grade 7 of Fernie, will travel to Vancouver next March with her mom Janice to become one of five student reporters at the games through the 2010 Legacies Now program.

Grace was born with Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita, a rare congenital disorder that contracts and twists the body's joints.

She is writing for The Free Press about her preparations for the Paralympics next year, and this week writes about her recent trip to Vancouver to get a new seating system for her wheelchair.

By Grace Brulotte
For The Free Press

On May 11 my mom and I got on a plane to Vancouver. We went there to get a new seating system for my wheelchair. I need a custom seating system for my back because that way the curve in my back won't get worse and so it's more comfortable for me.

We went down there for five days, which I thought was great because I would be missing five days of school, but with that came five days of homework.

When we got into Vancouver I got a little plane sick so we went to our hotel right away. We stayed at the Easter Seals House, it is a hotel for kids who are handicapped but I don't call myself handicapped I call myself handicapable.

Our room was like a suite, it had a kitchen, a stove and a fridge. There was a Safeway across the street from the Easter Seals House so we walked there to get food for 5 days.

The next day we got on the Handi Dart to the Sky Train to get to the Ability Store. The Sky Train is a little freaky at first but as I kept getting on it got easier and easier. When we got to the New Westminster station the elevator was broken so we went to the Columbia station.

When we got there our Handi Dart was about 45 minutes late. When we finally got to the Ability Store Russ, the man who was making my seat was there waiting for us. The whole thing began.

I got measured and stretched and rotated as they tried to figure out a good position for my back to sit. We were done at 1:00 in the afternoon.

Then we walked down to the Sunny Hills hospital to see a doctor named Dr. Beauchamp to get a second opinion. He told me that everything was all right and that I had nothing wrong with me. After the appointment we got on a bus and went back to the Easter Seals House and relaxed for a while.

We got on a bus an hour later to go to see my sister who had moved to Vancouver a couple weeks before. She was happy to see us and we were happy to see her. We walked down to a beautiful Chinese restaurant and ate our supper.

The next day was the same routine, we got on the Sky Train to the Columbia station and again our Handi Dart was late.

When we got to the Ability Store they sat me in a bean bag chair and when they got the shape of my back they pumped air into it and it hardened. Then Russ had his work of shaving down the rough edges of the seat and covering it with cloth. I don't know if it's as simple as I wrote it to be, I'm sure it is much harder. But the whole day of excitement made me sick so Russ paid for a taxi back to our hotel. Mom laid me down on my bed and I relaxed the rest of the day.

The next day was the last day we were in Vancouver and we did the whole thing over again except this time the elevator was broken in the Columbia station so we went to the next station and then took a taxi over to the Ability Store.

Russ was double-checking everything before he put the cover on and then he disappeared into his workroom for about an hour or so to put the cover on. Then he mounted it onto my wheelchair and we were done finally.

We got back on the Sky Train but instead of going to the hotel we went to Metro Town, it's a huge mall in Vancouver. I almost fainted when I saw all the stores, but that's just me being dramatic.

We got on the Sky Train and went back to the Easter Seals House to pack our things. Our taxi picked us up at 4:00 and we left beautiful Vancouver.

I hope you enjoyed my article and reading about my trip to Vancouver.