December 13, 2018 9:06 pm
Updated: December 14, 2018 8:34 am

‘It would mean freedom’: Sask. family fundraising for wheelchair-accessible van

WATCH ABOVE: Three of five children in a Saskatchewan family have the same genetic disorder, making day-to-day tasks difficult at times and are hoping to raise enough money to buy a custom vehicle to help make life a little easier.


The motto at the Shabatoski household is simple.

“We try to live our life as positively as we can. Our motto is focusing on what the boys can do and not what they can’t,” said Jackie Shabatoski, whose family lives in Clavet, Sask.

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Jackie and her husband, Dean, have five children: the oldest is Braiden, followed by 15-year-old twins Emma and Sam, then Tyson and Jackson, another set of twins who are 12.

Braiden, Sam and Tyson have muscular dystrophy, a genetic disorder that causes the muscles in the body to become weak over time.

Braiden and Sam are in wheelchairs, which makes travelling difficult for the family.

“It’s a process to get us into the van,” Jackie said.

Without a wheelchair lift, Dean is the only person in the family who can lift the boys in and out of the family’s van.

“I can’t physically take them to medical appointments, I can’t take them to sporting events. I can’t take them to the movies. It’s put a big toll on my husband because he has to be here all the time and try to run a business when you are on call all the time is a little difficult,” Jackie said.

The family is hoping to buy a wheelchair-accessible van, which costs around $75,000.

The van will have enough room to fit the family of seven and include a lift with room to fit three wheelchairs.

The family’s GoFundMe page raised nearly $30,000 by Thursday afternoon.

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“It would mean everything. It would mean us being able to go somewhere, to go on trips. I find that’s the most important. That’s where you bond the most with your family, is all in a vehicle on a road trip,” Braiden said.

“It would mean freedom to be able to go places and do things,” Jackie said.

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