Community leaders "switch chairs for a day" in support of CPA (Alberta) and Calgary Health Trust

CALGARY – The second annual Chair-Leaders Enabling Access Event in support of the Canadian Paraplegic Association (Alberta) and Calgary Health Trust will see community leaders in Calgary “switch chairs for a day” on Friday, May 4, opting to take a seat in a wheelchair rather than a desk chair. The event will help participants gain first-hand experience about the accessibility and mobility obstacles those with disabilities face on a daily basis.

"Through my work, I’ve had the pleasure of working with persons whom rely on a wheelchair for mobility. This left me with the assumption that I understood the barriers in our environment, but it was the wrong assumption,” explains Teren Clark, CPA Executive Director. “Spending a day in a chair while conducting my usual work made me realize I had much to learn about barriers in my community. I am really excited to participate in the event again this year.”

Participants will go through their entire day in a wheelchair. The event will begin with an obstacle course race at Calgary Rotary Challenger Park at 8:30 a.m. before all participants are loaded onto Handi-Buses to be shuttled off to their workplace for the day.

“I too have assumed that, because there are wheel chair ramps and lowered curbs, the difficulties that individuals with disabilities face have been addressed, but that isn’t the case,” says Sally Flintoft, CEO, Calgary Health Trust. “This experience will highlight those issues and it will also help raise funds to support the Neuro Rehabilitation Program at Foothills Medical Centre and CPA Alberta’s programs and services.”

Funds raised from the 2012 event will be shared between the Canadian Paraplegic Association (Alberta) to expand and enhance its programs and services and Calgary Health Trust in support of the Tertiary Neuro Rehabilitation Program at Foothills Medical Centre.

The program, which serves patients and families from southern Alberta to interior British Columbia and western Saskatchewan, involves comprehensive rehabilitation services and is a highly specialized interdisciplinary approach that addresses medical, physiological, functional, psychological, and social issues.

Media are invited to attend the Kick-off obstacle course event on Friday, May 4, 2012 at Calgary Rotary Challenger Park to take pictures and interview Toby Redfern, Manager of Programs and Services, Canadian Paraplegic Association and Sally Flintoft, CEO, Calgary Health Trust.

Calgary Health Trust connects donor passions with health care needs. Together we are touching lives in our community every day by raising funds for enhanced technology, programs and services at the Foothills Medical Centre, Peter Lougheed Centre, Rockyview General Hospital, Women’s Health, Carewest continuing care centres and other community health programs and facilities. For information on Calgary Health Trust, visit www.calgaryhealthtrust.ca.

The Canadian Paraplegic Association (Alberta) was founded in 1961. Since then, it has been a leader in offering support, direct service, information and advocacy to Albertans with spinal cord injuries and other physical disabilities. Whether it be assisting a newly spinal cord injured child or adult, lobbying for better public transportation, or helping to create a more inclusive community, CPA (Alberta) embraces the approach that there is more than one way. For more information, visit www.cpa-ab.org.

For media inquiries, contact:

Calgary Health Trust                    

Nanica Brown                        

Communications Advisor, Calgary Health Trust                               

W: 403-228-7419            

E: nanica.brown@calgaryhealthtrust.ca            

CPA (Alberta) - Calgary Office

Cal Schuler

Community Development Coordinator

W: 403-943-0900

E: cal.schuler@cpa-ab.org