Lifting Spirits

A 10-year-old Calgary girl has more independence in her home after four local companies banded together in support of the Easter Seals Give a Kid a Lift initiative.

Each year the initiative selects one recipient of a home elevator or lift. This year’s recipient was Juliana Alexson who, at eight months old, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and is wheelchair bound.

“It has been awesome,” said Chrissy Alexson, Juliana’s mom during a reveal of the completion of the elevator. “She’s gained a lot of independence going by herself to the floors with her sisters and playing with her sisters and a lot more interaction with her siblings.”

The first of its kind in Alberta, the Give a Kid a Lift initiative is made possible through the support of local businesses. For Juliana’s elevator those businesses were Homes by Avi, Canwest Elevator & Lifts, Garaventa Lifts and RONA Calgary East #251. Canwest Technical Services manager Dave Davies — who came up with the idea after a class assignment requiring a project that would make a difference in peoples lives — dreamt up the initiative.

“It gives you a warm fuzzy feeling inside for sure,” he said. “And the number of people that have to be involved to make it happen and getting all those people on board, it just kind of snowballs.”

In order to construct the elevator in the Alexson’s home, an addition was made to the front of the house and the existing entrance became the elevator shaft. Two holes were cut into the upstairs and main floors and a pit was dug in the basement in order to support the elevator and ensure it would be level with the floor.

Materials for the construction required to accommodate the Alexson’s new elevator were donated by RONA Calgary East #251 and the design was drawn up by Homes by Avi.

“(RONA) asked us if we’d be interested because we are quite involved in the communities that we build homes in, we like to get involved with schools and projects, that kind of thing so this seemed to be something that would be right up our alley,” said Homes by Avi design manager Tracy Orman.

This is the second Give a Kid a Lift project in Calgary, the first “lift” being selected for paraplegic Lorinda Bye last year. Currently, planning is underway for 2013’s recipient. For more information or to donate to the Easter Seals go to Easter Seals Website.

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