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Community partners contribute to purchase specialized wheelchair

April 2022

Prairie Mountain Health (PMH) and the Brandon Regional Health Centre (BRHC) Foundation were extremely pleased to acknowledge a generous $15,000 donation from three community groups that contributed to the purchase of a power mobility, power tilt/recline wheelchair for BRHC. Representatives from the United Way, Wheat City Lions Club and Brandon Knights of Columbus were on hand on April 21 to see the new piece of equipment and recognize former patient Byron Charbonneau.

Charbonneau was admitted to the hospital following a stroke that affected the left side of his body. During his stay at the Assiniboine Centre in BRHC, he found it very difficult to use a manual wheelchair. Charbonneau rented a power wheelchair during his time in hospital and found having independence was important for his mental health and rehabilitation. He decided to reach out to community organizations to see what other options were possible.

“In talking with Occupational Therapy, no power wheelchairs were available to loan for use in hospital,” Charbonneau said. “I had to find a nurse or health care aide to wheel me around. I felt trapped in those four walls. My hope is that this helps people in their mental health and helps them progress to do more in hospital.”

Robert Cey, from the Knights of the Columbus, worked with Prairie Mountain Health (PMH), the Brandon Wheat City Lions Club and the United Way to secure funding.

“This was a much-needed piece of equipment and showed how we can collaborate to support health and wellness efforts in Brandon and the Health Region. Future patients will have the opportunity to use the specialized wheelchair during their course of rehabilitation and it’s likely to make improvements to their care experience,” he stated.

“Our United Way Board and Staff understand how important independence and emotional health are to an individual’s recovery rate,” said Cynamon Mychasiw, Chief Executive Officer, United Way. “Anything we can do to provide that support and help long-term recovery for individuals in the years to come is a win for all of us.”

“On behalf of Wheat City Lions, we are glad to be part of this community effort lead by Knights of Columbus and United Way,” added Dennis Hunt, Past President of the Wheat City Lions Club.

Prairie Mountain Health Regional Manager of Therapy Services Jeanette Logan, says patients who benefit from access to a power wheelchair are those who have a neurological or musculoskeletal impairment that also impacts their ability to self-propel a manual wheelchair.

“It would mean more timely access to equipment for people to use earlier in their recovery. It could mean that clients remain out of bed and interacting with their environments more,” Logan said.

“It may also present educational opportunities to patients and their families on equipment available to help inform their decision-making when they are looking to acquire their own.”

Power Wheel Chair Group r

Pictured: (L-R) Dennis Hunt, Wheat City Lions; Raquel Gillespie, United Way; Jim Dyck & Bob Cey,
Brandon Knights of Columbus; Byron Charbonneau, former patient; Jerilyn Dutchak, 
PMH Occupational Therapist; Kim Wallis, Executive Director, BRHC Foundation.

OT Jerilyn showing chair r

Jerilyn Dutchak, PMH Occupational Therapist shows the different ways the chair operates.