Mobilize March -- Travel Blog

Day 18 — Upgrades

After a bit of slugging, I think I’ve finally finished the first concrete draft on my letter to the London City Council. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, now I just have to take the grind stone to it a little tomorrow to shave off some of the flab. As soon as it’s ready to go I’ll make sure to post it on the blog somewhere.

The big plan for today was to get my chair looked at and tuned up before making our big push to Ottawa the week after next. Hilariously, we are practically staying in a hotel directly beside Shoppers Home Healthcare, so the drive over only took about 5 minutes (4 minutes was spent driving past it and realizing we’d gone too far). Once we got in and did some introductions we got down to work. The service tech, Mark, was absolutely amazing. Not only does he know his way around a wheelchair, but he was also a great conversationalist–we had a really good chat. Luckily, we were able to quickly rule out any problems with the motors and brakes (phewf) and after a bit of investigation, Mark narrowed the problem down to the controller, an expensive little piece of equipment that basically runs the entire chair–everything from communicating to the motors my mobility desires to managing the power levels. As it turns out, it appears there were some problems with the power management aspect of the system and the dips (or possible surges) of power is what was causing the lock-outs. After popping in a few new fuses and throwing in some new wiring, the chair was good as new. Jenny, the service manager at this branch, also set us up with contact numbers for the other Shoppers centers we may encounter to make sure we won’t get left behind.

If anyone is reading from Shoppers or who knows Mark or Jenny who work at the Shoppers Home Healthcare on Consumer Road in Toronto, let them know they are doing an amazing job and definitely deserve a few awards. Thank you so much.

We have some exciting news about up coming events. As you’ll notice, our online itinerary is beginning to slowly fill up. I have just confirmed that I will be at the Legislature on Monday morning for Question Period, followed immediately by a meeting with MPP Joe Dickson (Pickering/Ajax).

After this exciting day, I will then be packing up and heading over to Georgetown for a day to spend some time with my favourite former-NHL Referee, Bryan Lewis, and meet up with members of the Halton Hills government. I may or may not paint my face Maple Leaf blue for this one, just so Bryan is forced to admit he is friends with people who like the Leafs, something he will deny until his face turns Maple Leaf blue…suspicious? I think so…

Also, we have been invited to a Port Hope Council meeting in June to help celebrate Disability Awareness Week in their community. My two days in Port Hope/Cobourg are shaping up to be pretty incredible!

Finally, we have confirmed a meet and greet with the Mayor of Kingston when we arrive in town. I was getting a bit nervous that we hadn’t heard back from Kingston yet, but some times the best things in life just take a little waiting for, right? It’s great to hear they’re on board.

Well, I have an early morning ahead of me tomorrow, a camera crew from the CBC are coming over to do an interview, so there’s a chance I will be on CBC News tomorrow night a 6 o’clock (hopefully!). Tune in regardless–it’s a pretty great news cast!

Until tomorrow…

– Jeff

By Jeffrey Preston

Born with a rare neuromuscular myopathy, Jeff has spent his life dedicated to advocating for himself and others with disabilities. With a PhD in Media Studies from Western University, Jeff's research focuses on the representation of disability in popular and digital culture. Jeff is currently an Assistant Professor of Disability Studies at King's University College @ Western University in London, ON.