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Ramp improves mobility for Nanaimo tyke

A.J. Hustins, left, supervises the installation of a wheelchair ramp at the home of Robyn and Steve Bull, while Chris Boyanton and Steve Taylor make it fit just right. Hustins’s company, Nanaimo Precast, made and installed the ramp at no charge for the Bulls’ two-and-a-half-year-old son, who suffers from cerebral palsy. - Dirk Heydemann photo
A.J. Hustins, left, supervises the installation of a wheelchair ramp at the home of Robyn and Steve Bull, while Chris Boyanton and Steve Taylor make it fit just right. Hustins’s company, Nanaimo Precast, made and installed the ramp at no charge for the Bulls’ two-and-a-half-year-old son, who suffers from cerebral palsy.
— image credit: Dirk Heydemann photo

The Christmas spirit of giving has been cast upon a Nanaimo family that could use a bit of a lift.

Robyn and Steve Bull will have an easier time getting their son Nathan in and out of their home thanks to a new concrete wheelchair ramp.

The ramp was designed, cast and installed for free by Nanaimo Precast.

The family was selected for the ramp, worth about $4,000, by staff at the Nanaimo Child Development Centre.

Nathan, 2, is wheelchair bound because of cerebral palsy.

Until now Robyn had to carry her son to and from their car to their home or push his wheelchair over a makeshift plywood ramp on their back steps.

“He’s a big two-and-a-half-year-old, so he’s getting pretty heavy and I’m not a particularly large person,” Robyn said. “He’s just getting heavier and heavier so it’s hurting my back.”

A.J. Hustins, Nanaimo Precast president, said the company was looking for a way to give something back to the community this year.

“I can’t remember who it was, but one of the members of our group said the CDC has a long list of kids in need, so I phoned CDC and said we’re in the concrete precast business, what can we do that will be helpful for one of their people.”

Steven Bowers, Child Development Centre resource development coordinator, said Hustins’s call came out of the blue.

“It was quite amazing. We were all pretty floored,” Bowers said. “We set them up with a family that could make great use of something like that.”

Staff discussed the proposal with several therapists attached to the centre  to see which family would most benefit from a ramp.

The ramp is about three metres long by two metres wide and was installed at the family’s home Friday.

The ramp will serve the family as Nathan gets older and is eventually switched into a much heavier motorized wheelchair.

Word that the Bulls would be receiving the ramp came as a complete surprise since they had no idea the plan to give it to them was even in the works.

“The plywood one is not particularly safe, but I needed something and that’s the difference that the new one makes, of course,” Robyn said. “I was so fantastic to find out. When the CDC called and told us about it we were just thrilled. We really needed a solution.”

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