Tetra projects for people with disabilities are a triumph of the community coming together to provide improved access.
Contributions can come in the form of time, talent or treasure. Regina chapter volunteer Gerry Wurtak was asked to create a bike trailer for two-year-old Phalyn Schnieder, who has no muscle function due to mitochondrial disease. “I was at a garage sale and found a child’s bike trailer – and was in the process of buying it when the lady asked me what I was going to do with it,” Wurtak recalled. He told the vendor that he “made things for people with disabilities” as a volunteer for the Tetra Society. “She ripped the price off and said ‘You can have it.’”
Meanwhile, Regina’s Rainbow Youth Centre, donated a child’s car seat to Phalyn’s grandmother Lorraine Schnieder, who had requested the Tetra bicycle project so the youngster could enjoy family outings with her eight-year-old brother. Wurtak welded and bolted brackets to hold the car seat, and made a sunshade that will flip out of the way during transfers and lock into place when the trailer is ready to go. As a final touch, he spray-painted the trailer pink!
“The trailer is amazing,” said Lorraine. “It’s added some variety to their life, something they can do with Phalyn.” Gerry, who spent around three weeks working on the project, says a sense of fulfillment came from seeing the youngster having such a great time when she used the trailer.
“The little girl sat in the trailer and her face changed right away. Dad picked up the bike and took her out for a short ride, and the next week they went for a two-hour ride around the park. Watching how much this little girl loves the bike trailer is the reward – you are always hoping you are helping make someone’s life a little bit easier.”