Friends of a Nanaimo woman suffering from multiple sclerosis are working to help her purchase a new wheelchair.
Marguerite Stevenson lost the use of her muscles from the neck down because of her MS and for more than 14 years used a head-controlled, electric-powered wheelchair that allowed her some mobility and a small degree of independence until it wore out and could no longer be repaired.
Since May, Stevenson has used a manual wheelchair that does not fit her well, which is causing her pain, discomfort and provides no independent mobility.
The B.C. Ministry of Health will provide funding, but not enough to replace Stevenson’s old wheelchair that had a number of features that provided her mobility and the ability to make adjustments to manage pain and discomfort.
A replacement wheelchair will cost about $37,300 and the province has approved $22,900, so friends have set up a Gofundme page to help raise the $14,400 balance.
“My wife and I are friends of Marguerite,” said Jesse Musial. “We’ve known her for over seven years. We are volunteers with the Salvation Army and we conduct church services once a month at her care home, so that’s how we met her … we were aware of her situation with the wheelchair, which was going on for about six months and we were kind of staying out of it and then we go to the point where we said this is ridiculous. This is just out of hand where she’s sitting in a manual wheelchair for the better part of a year that doesn’t fit her well and it didn’t seem like any progress was being made with this, so once we got in and started asking some questions and pushing some buttons, things started moving.”
The Gofundme for Stevenson’s new wheelchair was set up in early December and, so far, through the Gofundme and other donations, about $2,700 has been raised toward a new wheelchair that will be purchased through Advanced Mobility Products in Nanaimo.
To learn more about Stevenson’s situation and ways to contribute donations, visit www.gofundme.com/f/a-wheelchair-for-marguerite.