In celebration of National Physiotherapy Month in May, and in collaboration with community partners throughout Central Alberta, the Team Jigger Foundation is pleased to announce their ‘Chair Aware’ event is back for its third year!
This fundraiser is geared towards identifying and understanding the barriers and struggles that the mobility challenged face each and every day.
From May 29th to June 3 rd, 2023, participants will experience a momentary glimpse into the lives of the mobility challenged by dedicating themselves to a wheelchair and attempting to make it through a portion of their day as they normally would. Seemingly simple tasks, such as crossing the street onto a sidewalk, shopping for groceries, fueling a vehicle or entering their place of work may present a new level of complexity that would otherwise go unnoticed.
“We have had an incredible response to the event in the last two years,” says Jason “Jigger” Lunn, founder of the Team Jigger Foundation. “People who sign up to spend some time in a wheelchair all share a similar experience: a profound shock at how many barriers, hurdles and inconveniences they have never experienced as an able-bodied person.”
Confined to a chair himself after a high speed collision in 2011 that resulted in a STARS Air Ambulance ride and months of recovery, Lunn founded the Team Jigger Foundation to provide needed resources and fill the gap between injury and rehabilitation.
“Our foundation works on three fronts,” Lunn says, “First, to raise awareness of accessibility issues and barriers in our community and throughout Central Alberta. Second, to provide mentorship, resources and assistance to those born with or experiencing a loss of mobility or function. And third, to acquire specialized physiotherapy equipment that has been modified for paraplegics, quadriplegics, brain injury recoveries, MS patients, those with balance or cardiovascular issues, amputees or degenerative conditions – you name it – we want to ensure they have access to equipment not normally available at a physiotherapist or hospital to help contribute to their recovery physically and mentally, and to reach the peak of their adjusted ability.”
Those pieces of equipment are not only uncommon, they are also expensive. That’s why participants of Chair Aware will be soliciting donations in addition to experiencing the sometimes-frustrating restrictions of a wheelchair.
For the third annual event, Chair Aware participants are encouraged to register as teams and challenge their friends, neighbours and fellow businesses to join them in discovering a perspective they may not otherwise be aware of.
‘For most, the experience is a powerful one,’ says Lunn, ‘Seemingly little things, like small curbs, inclines, heavy doors, counter heights and environmental hazards become magnified in difficulty from a seated position that requires a sense of coordination and balance.’
Team members will experience 2-3 hours in a wheelchair and are encouraged to attempt every day activities, such as fueling their vehicle, grocery shopping or grabbing a quick coffee.
‘Chair Aware is an incredible way to bring awareness to our communities, and to begin helpful conversations on accessibility and inclusion’ adds Lunn, who is happy to welcome the support of the Lending Cupboard in Red Deer. ‘We have plenty of wheelchairs available, and hope to have as many seats filled as possible.’
The success of the previous Chair Aware events has permitted the Team Jigger Foundation an opportunity to promote their efforts in acquiring specialized physiotherapy and recreational equipment, which makes National Physiotherapy Month even more special.
‘Chair Aware will always be held in May, in part to recognize the efforts of the many physiotherapists who work with individuals of all circumstance in reaching the highest quality of life they can.’ says Lunn, who credits the many physiotherapists and specialists he has worked with since his incident as a major part of his recovery. ‘We can do great things alone, but we can do amazing things together.’
The Team Jigger Foundation Chair Aware Event runs May 29th to June 3 rd, 2023 throughout Central Alberta. Anyone interested in participating as a team or individual, donating or volunteering can visit www.teamjigger.com or call (825) 640-8326 for further details.