NEWS

Verdun sports store owner designs winter wheelchair

02/06/2015 08:27 EST | Updated 04/08/2015 05:59 EDT
An eight-year old boy from Verdun is having an easier time getting around this winter.

David Coronatta has cerebral palsy and epilepsy, so he uses a wheelchair.

Snowy streets and icy sidewalks meant he was often housebound in the winter, until his mother, Nathalie Richard, reached out to a local sports shop owner.

Richard went to Laurent Gagnon, the owner of Sports Campus in Verdun, trying to find a better way.

"It’s quite difficult to go anywhere," Richard told Sue Smith on CBC's Homerun. "We have been looking for a solution for years."

Richard says available winter wheelchair units are very expensive, not easy to find and often imported from the United States.

Gagnon says he was able to piece together a set of skis that attach to David's wheelchair from parts he already had available at his shop.

"It was basically a puzzle and all the pieces were in the store," he said.

Now, Richard says she is able to travel around the city with her son at a fraction of the cost of other commercially produced units. 

"He’s sliding on the snow now, so I don’t get stuck anywhere," she said.

Richard also runs a non-profit foundation called L'Étoile de Pacho for parents of children with disabilities.

"Everyone is looking for solutions during winter and no one has a big budget," she said.

Gagnon says he is not planning to make money with his invention, and would consider patenting the design for Richard's foundation so he could continue building the units for parents. 

"I’m not trying to profit on the backs of kids. I think it’s necessary for them," he said. 

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