Doctors think seven-year-old Tegan Gaudet has Rett or Angelman syndrome, making her unable to walk or talk. She uses a wheelchair to get around but when she is at home she crawls around.
Her mom Tara is OK with her on the floors inside of her house – the problem is when they try to leave. Tara has hurt her back carrying her daughter and it means in order to get into the van, Tegan has to crawl.
“Lifting her is getting to the point where it’s just not an option anymore,” Tara said. “She can crawl, but to have her crawl on dirty outside stairs or in the garage isn’t even humane in my mind.”
The family is looking to get a wheelchair lift. The one they need costs about $5,000, something the family just can’t afford and getting funding hasn’t been easy.
“We get a lot of support for stuff (government funding)… but it seems like bigger purchases that need to be made for a child like her, there is just no help,” she said.
There are provincial grants to help families with equipment. Programs like the Residential Access Modification Program (RAMP) will give up to $7,500 a year, but grants are only considered for couples with a maximum income of under $46,500, plus $9,600 per child.
The Gaudets were told they are still over the income bracket.
“I wouldn’t consider us a high income,” Tara said. “I just wish they would take into consideration our lifestyle (and) the fact my husband has been out of work for two years and we have six kids.”
Tara says she hasn’t had any luck with charities either so she is turning to the public to share Tegan’s story, to not only raise money for a lift but also awareness.
“The help there is, is amazing… but I met other families out there that have been through this that are worse off than us, that have older children and still don’t have the proper equipment.”
So far, they have raised almost $2,000 on a GoFundMe page. Anything extra will go to savings for a wheelchair van.
“It’s not a want, it’s a need for her to be as independent as she can be and come out and be a part of her community.”