Wheels of Change was born when a group of nine friends began sharing stories with one another about life with a spinal cord injury. Stories about UTIs and catheter funding. Stories about wait times for wheelchairs and other equipment. Stories about inadequate snow removal and inaccessible doctor’s offices. Stories that reflect the real struggles that exist for those of us living with spinal cord injuries.
Soon stories became frustration and frustration became commitment. Commitment to helping change the narrative for ourselves and for others living with spinal cord injuries across Canada.
We are an organization with nearly 100 years of lived experience with spinal cord injuries. With a diverse group of members from different backgrounds and with unique injury levels and years spent in a wheelchair, we know first hand the issues faced by the disability community.
To ensure that every Albertan living with a spinal cord injury feels hopeful, empowered, and understood.
To educate stakeholders on relevant issues, to advocate for the needs of people living with spinal cord injuries, and to collaborate with community partners to identify and improve gaps in supports and services.
Driven By Values
In June 2010, Steve was in a motorcycle accident that left him with a T6 spinal cord injury. Since then Steve has committed much of his time to the spinal cord injury community making lifelong friends along the way. He works at Spinal Cord Injury Alberta as a peer coordinator and has his own medical supply company that he started to help fill a much needed void in the community. Steve has also been active in research to help people with spinal cord injuries find a better quality of life. He’s taken part in many research studies with the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta and is currently participating in a clinical trial in the United States called ESTAND. Steve’s passion for equality and the need for recognition of real life challenges for those living with disability shows through with his dedication to Wheels of Change. Steve looks forward to being a voice in making a difference in the spinal cord injury community which will positively impact the next generation through the Wheels of Change.
At the age of 13 Brittney was in a snowmobiling accident that left her a complete T6 paraplegic. After graduating from university and having kids Brittney began mentoring other parents with disabilities. As a young mom she helped launch a local chapter of a national non-profit called the Tetra Society, which provides assistive devices for people with disabilities, and managed that for 5 years. After leaving the non-profit world Brittney began a career as a teacher. Brittney is passionate about nutrition and has become a health advocate for the disability community. Most recently Brittney started a YouTube channel called Empowered Para to help inspire others living with spinal cord injuries to live happy successful lives.
In January 2015, Tyler got an infection that pooled behind his spinal cord, causing the spinal cord to detach from the nerves. He is now a T4-T7 incomplete paraplegic. Since his injury Tyler has been involved in fundraising for others within the spinal cord injury community, involved with research studies from the U of A and Glenrose Hospital, and sharing his story at public speaking events. Tyler is married and is the owner of a heating and cooling company in Leduc. When he is not working he enjoys going to concerts, visiting Las Vegas and spending time with family and friends.
In December of 1999 Kasey was snowboarding and broke her neck resulting in a C6-7 spinal cord injury. Since then she has rediscovered her love of sports and has tried numerous adaptive activities in including sit skiing, wheelchair basketball, handcycling, wheelchair rugby and mountain biking.
Kasey was employed at for SCI-AB for 5 years, she worked with clients, facilitated cooking classes and was the hospital liaison. After many years of travelling and competing in adaptive sports, she has since settled down and now has a child and works as the Patient Liaison for Neurosciences at Foothills Medical Centre. Kasey’s hope is to bring many years of living with an SCI and collaborate with like minded individuals to make a positive impact on the SCI community in AB and beyond
Brad was born with Cerebral Palsy and given just 24 hours to live. A natural fighter straight from the womb Brad defied the odds and made his way out of the hospital after 76 days and 20+ surgeries. 28 years later Brad continues to push the limits of what society believes is possible for those living with disabilities. He is a passionate disability advocate, successful business owner, and a motivational speaker. Brad is the co-founder of Wheeling for Hope, a charity aimed at helping people with disabilities reclaim their freedom and independence, as well as the Canadian Ambassador for Echoes for Hope, a charity founded by Luc and Stacia Robitaille of the LA Kings, to help alleviate barriers faced by young adults so they can reach their full potential.
Riccardo has been living with a spinal cord injury since April 2019. After a normal day, he went to bed and in the morning, he woke up paralyzed from the chest down – overnight a vascular tumor bled inside his spinal cord causing the paralysis. Since this life changing event, Riccardo carried on his job as piano teacher with a new attention towards disabilities. He strongly believes that music should be for everyone, so he is actively looking for adaptive solutions to transform his beliefs into reality. He always had a strong sense of justice, so he decided to join the Wheels of Change group to address the many unmet disability-related human rights.
Bean Gill worked as an x-ray technologist when she was paralyzed by a virus in July 2012. Now happily divorced and running a growing non profit organization called ReYu Paralysis Recovery Centre she is changing the way the public sees people with disabilities. She advocates for equality in ALL aspects and uses her loud voice to raise awareness. Some of her accolades include: Global’s Woman of Vision award, Top 40 Under 40, RBC’s Women of Influence Award and she is the reigning Miss Wheelchair Canada…..a few steps forward in her plan to change the world