May 15th, 2019
In the Canada I grew up in learning to be self-sufficient, taking on responsibility as I grew, was a major part of my life. Dad was always eager to give us more responsibility around our home as was my mother. Both my parents worked hard to provide for us, and it was only fair that we pitch in as we were able. One of the resources my mother brought to the table was wisdom. She was adamant that I save money instead of spending it. As a result, by the time I was University age I had a bank account with enough money for my first year of college. I managed to work my way through my undergraduate degree and my master’s degree leaving only a $2000.00 debt for my formal education. At the time I felt pretty good about being self-sufficient and there was a certain amount of young man’s arrogance involved.
In later years I began to reflect on what I had become. It quickly became apparent that if it wasn’t for the kindness and the professional skill of others, I would never have managed to be what I am. These include the doctor that repaired a bilateral retinal detachment of my eyes, not once but twice. Without the doctor's help I would have been blind. I now have a piece of plastic holding things together in my left eye, a leftover from that experience. Without the people who provided me with glasses from the time I was in Grade 6, school would have been much more difficult if not impossible. Lately, I have been enjoying the use of two new lenses that an ophthalmologist inserted into my eyes fixing cataracts. I should have died of cancer in 1983 but the skill and insight of an oncologist in Saskatoon Saskatchewan helped me survive. My ears have become a problem as I grow older and I’ve been helped by those who have provided me with hearing aids. These were provided by a government program that paid 90% of the cost. The list of helps and helpers is much longer but you get the point, I am not, and I never have been as self-sufficient as I would like to think
I suspect that very few of us have managed to get through life without significant help from others. I have been very fortunate to have grown up in a place and time where there were resources and people to deal with the kinds of problems I had/have giving me the opportunity to become something that I hope is a gift to God.
This is why I think the AT Catalyst project is so important. There are, in middle- and low-income countries, many people who need help with mobility through wheelchairs and other assistive technology. In short, they need the kind of help I’ve enjoyed all my life.
It would be interesting for each of us to stop for a bit and think about all the times in our lives where God has helped us on our way through the help of others. I would like to invite you to become one of the “others” who provide this kind of help to those who need wheelchairs in low- and middle-income countries. There are details on opportunities to do so at on our webpage: www.atcatalyst.org