Local Artist Life Changer
Mitch is 45 years old, married and has four cats. Throughout his life he has actively been in involved in the Winnipeg theatre community.
“I was part of an improv comedy troupe; I had my own theatre company; and I was an artistic director for another theatre company, so I was quite active going to a lot of rehearsals.”
At 43, Mitch went into the hospital experiencing some chest pains. His day quickly changed when he was rushed to undergo emergency spinal surgery. He had two vertebras fused in his central spine as well as his neck. In the midst of surgery, he suffered a stroke.
For two months, Mitch stayed in the hospital to regain some stability followed by four months of rehab at Riverview. He then went to the Acquired Brain Injury Program in Selkirk to do long term rehab for one year.
It was an 18 month process that left Mitch in a wheelchair, unable to use his left arm.
Mitch and his wife faced a new barrier of how and when they would return home.
“The only way into the house, was stairs. Before something like this happens you don’t think of these things, and then after something like this happens you kind of relook at your life and your situation,” explains Mitch.
It took 6 months before he was able to return home. To overcome this barrier, they had a power lift installed and a deck built over top of their front steps. A ramp was not feasible due to limited space and building code requirements.
“Getting the lift was key to getting home. I can’t even imagine what it would have been like without it. I probably wouldn’t have been able to come home for an extra year if I was still without the lift.”
When asked about how the Society for Manitobans with Disabilities (SMD) has helped him since the accident he replies, “SMD has helped me with the current manual wheelchair I’m in; I have to wait a bit to apply for a power wheelchair. They’ve helped me partially with the lift. The service has been wonderful.”
Mitch received support to cover some of the costs for his power lift through our Assistive Technology program. However, the program is currently out of funds due to high demand for 2018. Our goal is raise the additional $1,500 required to cover the remaining balance owing on his lift and home modification.
When asked if there’s a message he wanted to get out there he stated, “It can happen anywhere, anytime…it all went downhill within a 24 hour period…now, life is changed completely!”
Mitch pointed out that even though he’s still going through the healing process, he feels very fortunate and lucky it wasn’t worse.
“You just can’t quit, you have to keep going!”
Mitch has slowly been able to get back into theatre and performed at the Fringe Festival. When asked what he’s most excited about he says, “I’m really looking forward to when I can get in and out of my vehicle independently as this will open up many opportunities.”
Like Mitch, a sudden life change can incur costs and barriers never thought of before. The Assistive Technology Program aids those in need and requires your support and generosity in order to assist others.