It’s a cross between a dog sled and a wheelchair.
With one wheel and handles on either end for volunteers — known as Sherpas — the TrailRider allows a rider to be maneuvered over all types of terrain.
Rocks, roots, logs? No problem.
It is with Prince Rupert’s new TrailRider that Morgan Foisy and Jessie Gibson hope to help people with disabilities cover new ground.
“We know as rehab professionals that even daily equipment needs are a struggle,” Gibson, a physiotherapist at Northern Health and Acropolis Manor, said during a presentation to the Prince Rupert Rotary Club.
The two health care professionals joined forces to create the Kaien Coast Riders.
Last spring, Foisy raised money to purchase Prince Rupert’s first TrailRider through a GoFundMe page. She earned $600 for the $5,500 used chair. The rest of the money came from a donation by the North Coast Occupational Therapy Ltd., a private practice in the city.
Now that Foisy and Gibson have the TrailRider, they are hoping to partner with an existing society to help with the remaining requirements they need to use it. More fundraising is needed for safety equipment to go with the adaptive chair, such as a first aid kit and a mummy bag to help regulate a rider’s temperature.
Both women have seen TrailRiders in action. Gibson described a trip from when she volunteered with the BC Mobility Opportunities Society before she moved to Prince Rupert. A group of volunteers woke up at 3 a.m to guide a woman to a mountain range in time for the sun to rise.
Likewise, Foisy, a physical rehab assistant who provides at-home care, volunteered with Adapted Adventures in Kelowna to help people with disabilities kayak, snowshoe and hike.
“When I moved away from Kelowna and moved up here, I saw that there was really a huge need for adaptive sports in the north. That’s what guided me to fundraising for a TrailRider,” Foisy said.
Before the TrailRiders can begin to tackle new paths, volunteers will need to be trained and waivers readied for the riders and Sherpas.
Funds for the $3,000 insurance will be raised on Dec. 16 at Cowpuccino’s annual rock-paper-scissors tournament. All of the proceeds from the $20 entrance — which comes with a pint brewed by the Wheelhouse — will help push along the TrailRider project.