Day Trip Inspires New Adventure
Richard Kent is a 30 year old local Winnipegger who is an avid sports fan. He loves the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Jets, Goldeyes and Manitoba Moose. Like most people, he enjoys listening to music and a few years ago went to his first live concert where he saw Bruno Mars. Shortly after, he saw Shania Twain as well. He is also passionate about his family and one of his biggest supporters is his sister, Chelsey.
Richard was born two months premature and 5 months later, diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy (CP). CP is a group of permanent movement disorders that appear in early childhood. People like Richard and their family need support. Over the years, the Society for Manitobans with Disabilities (SMD) has helped Richard in many ways. “SMD helps people like me. They helped me with my wheelchair.” At a young age, he required a wheelchair and attended a physio program provided by SMD.
In 2017, Richard attended a day program called Equal Opportunities where a group of them went to watch the Drop Zone event. It was here that he saw someone in a wheelchair rappelling 272ft down the exterior of the Manitoba Hydro building and “Something clicked!” explained Chelsey. “He came home that night and told me he wanted to do that.” Richard is unable to walk without assistance, and will never be able to drive a car, but this doesn’t stop him. After seeing another person in a wheelchair rappel down the building, he thought this was something he could do. “He isn’t afraid of anything and isn’t afraid to do Drop Zone.”
One year later, Chelsey and Richard fundraised over $1500 so that he could rappel. In August of 2018, Richard found himself safely strapped into his wheelchair soaking in the beautiful city views as he rappelled down 272 feet…smiling the entire way.
Chelsey has worked for 10 years in the disability field as a direct support professional. “Richard is my biggest motivator in life and is the reason why I work in the field,” she says with pride. “When Richard told me he wanted to do Drop Zone, I knew I had to support him, even if that meant coming down the building tandem style!” When Richard touched down safely, she was swept with emotions and extremely proud of her brother.
To register for 2019’s Drop Zone, which takes place on Aug 20th, check out www.thedropzone.ca/winnipeg