Community comes together
March-Coates speechless so many people have come forward to help make an accessible van a reality
Rose March-Coates of Happy Valley-Goose Bay is delighted that so many people and community groups are coming together to help her raise funds to purchase a wheelchair accessible van for her six-year-old granddaughter.
Sophia Coates has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and uses a walker and wheelchair for mobility.
In a previous interview with The Labradorian, March-Coates said, although her current vehicle is in good shape, it cannot be retrofitted to be wheelchair-accessible.
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.
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 2018.
March-Coates has raised about $9,000 with help from the community and is determined to raise the rest of the money (over $20,000) by the cut-off date.
The Lake Melville Shrine Club is among those stepping up to help with the fundraising. On a post on the Concerning Happy Valley-Goose Bay Facebook page, president Reg Bowers said the club will be contributing $10,000 and will be having fundraising activities to achieve that goal.
“We will be looking to the community for all the help we can get. If you have any fundraising events on the go please continue. We will greatly appreciate your contribution,” Bowers wrote.
Bowers said the club will be ensuring Sophia’s short and long-term goals are met with the purchase of the new vehicle.
Bowers said they’ve had people with experience in dealing with the special needs Sophia’s has and the type of vehicle that would be “needed to make Rose’s and Sophia’s lives much easier.” The club is waiting on a new quote for an accessible van for Sophia and, once the quote is received, Bowers said, club members will canvas all the businesses in town, will host a special bingo and will do whatever else is needed to raise the necessary funds.
The ladies of Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish have also come onboard with the fundraising.
The parish is hosting a luncheon for the family on Oct. 27. Those attending the event are asked to use the church’s back entrance. The event runs from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Fish and brewis or homemade soup will be served. Tea coffee and dessert is also included in the $10 cost — with both take-out and eat-in meals available.
March-Coates said, she’s “speechless” that so many people care and want to help. “(It) melts my heart,” she said. Anyone who would like to make a contribution towards the purchase of the van can do so by visiting www.gofundme. com and search Sophia-Marie’s Mobility.
Donations can also be made directly to March-Coates at [email protected]mail.com.
For more information on the Shrine Club’s fundraising efforts contact Bowers at 709-896-3022
Rose March-Coates is raising money for a wheelchair accessible van for her six-year-old granddaughter, Sophia, who has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy.