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Luke Anderson’s life changed dramatically at age 24. The passionate athlete and University of Waterloo grad missed a 25 foot jump while mountain biking in the BC Interior. He landed head first, breaking a number of cervical vertebrae and permanently injuring his spinal cord. His crash and resultant paralysis requires Luke to use a power wheelchair – a much different way of life than what he once knew.

The active, extreme sportsman had to learn everything all over and re-integrate into society – using a wheelchair. He constantly came up against barriers when out with friends or on his own. During the first few years, he tried to develop a thick skin and not let the non-inclusiveness of many venues affect him.

The turning point came when he started working full time for an engineering firm in downtown Toronto. The office had three steps that required him to call for help every morning. His colleague and friend Michael Hopkins, escorted him over the three small steps most mornings. On the way up the elevator, they would rant about how widespread this problem was.

Around this time, a local movement called the “Good Bike Project” was growing in Toronto. This movement generated considerable political and media attention around the importance of bikes in building healthy communities.

Luke decided to do something bold that would start a conversation about the issue of accessibility.  Thanks to a donation from the Home Depot and help from family, friends and store employees, they built fifteen brightly colored ramps for businesses in the Junction. This was the beginning of the StopGap Project.

Publicity from this led to interest from other communities/community leaders wanting to join the cause. Luke has been featured on Canada AM, CTV News, The Toronto Star, Metro Morning and many more media outlets across the province.

Just over a year later, there are 100 ramps in use in communities all over Ontario. Luke has increased awareness about the problem of accessibility but his journey has just begun. Luke’s goal is to build 500 ramps this year and ultimately have every community across Canada involved in the StopGap Project.

We know he will do it!

To learn more about StopGap or start your own Ramp Project, visit stopgapblog.blogspot.ca


 


Comments

Connie
02/11/2013 5:41pm

I think all public buildings.venues,places restaurants etc should have ramps and be more accesseble to those with walking issues,those who are in wheelchairs or have mobility issues.

Reply
02/11/2013 6:28pm

Connie we couldn't agree more! That's why we are so inspired by Luke and StopGap. Thanks for taking the time to drop by and read his story.

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