Calgary charity transforms family’s home, ignites life-changing impact

Click to play video: 'Family’s home transformed by Calgary charity, igniting life-changing impact'
Family’s home transformed by Calgary charity, igniting life-changing impact
WATCH: Pledge Day is Dec. 1 and involves a 12-hour live radio broadcast dedicated to Calgary kids and local charities doing positive work in the community. Global’s Joelle Tomlinson visited one family who is getting around a lot easier thanks to one of those organizations. – Nov 29, 2023

Every day, Megan Moul and her daughter run through the same affirmations: “Ashley is a strong girl. Ashley is a brave girl. Ashley is a fierce girl. Ashley is… Supergirl!”

It all started when five-year-old Ashley Moul was born with an ultra-rare genetic mutation known as Gould Syndrome. Before she was born, Ashley suffered mini strokes while in utero. It was shocking news for her parents, Megan and Rowan.

“The doctor showed us her scan,” said Megan. “It showed gaping holes in her brain.”

These holes were signs of permanent damage to Ashley’s brain. She was born with cerebral palsy and epilepsy, but her spark has not been dimmed.

Her dad Rowan says that her fighting spirit and sunny disposition are inherent in everything she does.

“Ashley is very much full of joy,” said Rowan. “She takes all the pokes and prods and seizures with a smile on her face.”

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As Ashley grew, a new challenge arose: physically getting around. Her wheelchair weighs 85 pounds, and the Moul family home has three separate levels to access. The difficulty in getting around meant that many times, Ashley had to stay in her room downstairs instead of joining her siblings, dogs and parents upstairs.

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“Getting her up the stairs to get her to school was getting harder and harder,” said Megan.

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The Mouls were nominated to be the focus of a charity called Accessibility Renovations for Kids (ARK).

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The organization is dedicated to helping children living with mobility issues by renovating their homes for free. ARK teams up with partners like Shift Accessibility Contractors to make major modifications to homes.

In the Mouls’ case, contractors installed a custom lift that can take Ashley straight from the garage to any level of the house without crossing a threshold.

Shift co-founder Griffin Simony said that the entire community comes together for these projects. Partners and small businesses pitch in, offering discounted items, labour and volunteer hours.

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ARK co-chair Sue Trefry said it is an emotional experience, and always worth it to see how big the impact is for the families chosen.

“A lot of times families have children that as they grow, they get really heavy. It’s a big load on these parents,” said Trefry. “These renovations really help the whole family.”

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ARK’s benefactors donate more than half the cost of a project.

The Moul family home modifications would have cost them around $60,000. Large organizations like the Calgary Children’s Foundation pay the remaining amount.

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The Mouls say the renovation has given them freedom and independence they could only dream of. Along with the lift, ARK installed ceiling rails in the bedroom, the family room and the bedroom so Ashley can be lifted from her wheelchair into the bed, the lift or the tub.

“We realized how much of a game-changer this was going to be that first day we used the lift to take her to her first day of school,” said Megan. “We were like, ‘this is incredible!'”

Rowan added: “There is not enough support for people with kids like Ashley in Alberta or any province. Having something like ARK is incredible for anyone who can take advantage of it.”

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To nominate a family for an ARK renovation, click here.

ARK is one of the charities that directly benefits from Pledge Day on Dec. 1. It is a live 12-hour radio broadcast happening on the QR airwaves from 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.

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