Grand­mother rais­ing funds for wheel­chair ac­ces­si­ble van

Rose March-Coates has four months to raise the re­main­der of money needed to pur­chase much-needed ve­hi­cle

The Labradorian - - Front Page - BY DANETTE DOO­LEY danette@nl.rogers.com

Rose March-Coates of Happy Val­ley-Goose Bay is reach­ing out to the com­mu­nity in her ef­forts to raise money for a wheelchairac­ces­si­ble ve­hi­cle to help her grand­daugh­ter live life to the fullest.

Sophia Coates has spas­tic quad­ri­plegic cere­bral palsy. The six-year-old has the cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties of a three-year-old.

March-Coates has full cus­tody of her grand­daugh­ter.

Although her cur­rent ve­hi­cle is in good shape, she said, it can­not be retro­fit­ted to be wheelchairac­ces­si­ble.

As Sophia grows, she said, it’s get­ting more dif­fi­cult to trans­fer her grand­daugh­ter from her wheel­chair to the car and then pack away the wheel­chair and other items – in­clud­ing the child’s walker – that she also needs ev­ery day.

Sophia, who can walk with the as­sis­tance of a walker, is a Grade One stu­dent at Pea­cock Pri­mary School. While her grand­daugh­ter can­not speak, March-Coates said Sophia has no trou­ble com­mu­ni­cat­ing in other ways.

“Sophia is very, very smart. In the evening, when it’s bed­time, and I tell her it’s time to go to bed, she’ll ac­tu­ally pick up her toys her­self now. I’ve been at that for years with her. We’ve done a lot of hands-over-hands, and now she’s grad­u­ated to do­ing it her­self,” the proud grand­mother said.

Sophia also rec­og­nizes when it’s time to eat, said MarchCoates.

“When she’s hun­gry, and she knows it’s get­ting close to sup­per­time, she’ll go over to the ta­ble and bang on it,” she said. “And she’ll come over to me, look up at the re­mote to tell me it’s time to turn the TV off.” In ad­di­tion to play­ing in­doors, Sophia also loves go­ing for drives, at­tend­ing birth­day par­ties, and spend­ing time at the playground.

“I had to move in De­cem­ber and I’m not near any play­grounds now. So, I have to put (Sophia) in the ve­hi­cle and go (to a playground),” March-Coates said.

March-Coates has a bad back and, although not di­rectly re­lated to Sophia’s care, the lift­ing ag­gra­vates her prob­lem.

“I need help,” she said. “Sophia is get­ting big­ger and big­ger all the time. Even now, I have prob­lems get­ting her in the car be­cause she’s get­ting taller and she doesn’t bend her legs prop­erly for me to put her in her seat.” Count­down

March-Coates said a wheel­chair-ac­ces­si­ble ve­hi­cle runs about $57,000. She has been ap­proved for a grant from the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment for $25,000 to­wards the pur­chase of the ve­hi­cle.

How­ever, she said, she must use – or lose — the money by Fe­bru­ary 2019.

March-Coates has sent let­ters to lo­cal busi­nesses and has al­ready raised about $9,000 with help from the com­mu­nity.

Since re­cent CBC coverage, she’s heard from more in­di­vid­u­als, com­mu­nity groups and busi­nesses who want to help.

March-Coates is de­ter­mined to raise the rest of the funds (over $20,000) she needs, by the cut-off date.

“It’s only me and Sophia,” she said. “She’s my main pri­or­ity. She’s my baby girl and I love her to death.

“I’m try­ing to do this to make her life a lit­tle eas­ier.”

Any­one who would like to make a con­tri­bu­tion to the ve­hi­cle can do so by vis­it­ing HYPERLINK “http://www.gofundme.com” www.gofundme. com and search­ing Sophi­aMarie’s Mo­bil­ity.

SUB­MIT­TED

Six-year-old Sophia Coates has spas­tic quad­ri­plegic cere­bral palsy.

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