A boy in St. John’s, Nfld., is the owner of a new manual wheelchair, thanks to the Anglican Foundation of Canada and its Kids Helping Kids Fund.
Ten-year-old James Renouf received his gift following a request to the Foundation by Rhonda Noseworthy, a social worker at the Janeway Children’s Health and Rehabilitation Centre in St. John’s. James, who attends St. Mark’s Anglican Church with his family, has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a condition that leads to progressive weakness and loss of muscle function.
Staff members at Janeway’s neuromuscular clinic, who have been looking after James on a consistent basis, noticed that he was increasingly experiencing fatigue. They recommended a wheelchair to help him stay active.
The cost of wheelchairs and related equipment, though, can have a huge financial impact on families, as Noseworthy pointed out.
“A wheelchair is one thing, [but] there are other types of things that will become necessary as time goes on,” she said. “Accessibility in their home is important. Lots of families live in two-storey houses, [and] then as children get weaker and require wheelchairs, they’re not able to have full mobility within their homes.”
Hearing about the Kids Helping Kinds Fund through a colleague at the clinic, Noseworthy received permission from James’ mother, Nancy, to write a letter to the Anglican Foundation asking for financial assistance to help pay for the wheelchair.
Anglican youth across Canada support the Kids Helping Kids Fund by collecting toonies through different projects. Among the needs that the fund helps to cover are nutritious breakfasts for children, homework coaching, summer camp and choir school, and caring for sick or terminally ill children.
Beneficiaries are not restricted to Anglicans or projects within the church, Anglican Foundation executive director Judy Rois noted.
“It’s just because you’re a human being in need and we can help—we do everything we can,” she said.
Rois—moved by the request made on James’ behalf and following its approval by the Foundation—travelled to the Janeway Centre in March to visit James and his mother.
There she presented them with a photo of the new wheelchair, with James excitedly selecting an Aztec gold and lime-green colour scheme. He also received a Hope Bear, the official mascot of the Kids Helping Kids Fund.
With the wheelchair itself set to arrive in the coming weeks, James will be able to enjoy vastly increased mobility, including participating in school outings.
“This will allow him to go everywhere, which is great,” Rois said.
Nancy Renouf—who said she felt “speechless,” “excited,” “grateful” and “touched” by the gift to her son—expressed her gratitude to the Anglican Foundation for helping cover the cost of the wheelchair, which will free up money for ramps and other alterations to their home to make it more accessible.
“We weren’t expecting it—not the full coverage,” she said. “I knew that we might get some help, but when [they] came back and said they were going to cover the whole thing, it was overwhelming.”
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