Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016
On the Road
Baby You Can Drive My Car
ICBC and GF Strong unveil new vehicle to get handicapped back on the road
Lindsay Olsen, ICBC
A specialized van allows paraplegics to drive once again.
new fully-equipped and adaptable minivan funded by ICBC has allowed GF Strong to expand its driver rehabilitation program and allow more patients throughout B.C. the opportunity to develop their driving skills.
The specially modified, wheelchair accessible training vehicle is already in use and provides increased access for assessment and practice for a wider range of program participants, particularly those who are confined to wheelchairs or have conditions such as spinal cord injuries or multiple sclerosis. The new vehicle is an improvement over an older model that was 15-years-old and due for replacement.
"Thank you to ICBC for investing in this valuable driving rehabilitation program, which is helping people every day to regain strength, hope, and independence," said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. "The team at GF Strong is doing a phenomenal job at helping to re-train clients to drive, and this investment will go a long way towards expanding this valuable program which helps people to get behind the wheel again with safe and smart driving skills and confidence."
"We're proud to support the expansion of GF Strong's driver rehabilitation program to help more patients develop or re-learn the driving skills they need to gain more independence," said Mark Blucher, ICBC's president and CEO. "We're committed to supporting programs that help British Columbians who have been injured in a crash live healthy, active and productive lives."
"Rehabilitation helps people gain greater health, well-being and independence after illness, injury or surgery," said Terry Lake, Minister of Health. "The new modified training van is already in use for training individuals in the GF Strong driving rehabilitation program - and it's especially important for those who have mobility challenges, spinal cord injuries or multiple sclerosis."
The driver rehabilitation program provides assessment, clinic and on-road rehabilitation, and low and high-tech vehicle modification recommendations to drivers who may have physical, cognitive or visual disabilities. The program also includes a team of occupational therapists, licensed driving instructors and RoadSafetyBC representatives.
For Abraham Wong, using the new specially modified van through GF Strong's program has helped him gain his independence after a spinal injury left him paralyzed. "Taking part in the program has been a huge plus for me. It has given me a lot of opportunity to do things and see things that I never would have thought possible. There's no such thing as 'I can't do that' now. I go out and do it."
GF Strong helps British Columbians learn how to drive again and it's one of the few places where these skills can be acquired, noted Barbara Grantham, VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation's president and CEO. "This community gift helps drivers return to navigating their life beyond the program. For this, we thank ICBC for its generosity."
Watch a 4˝ minute YouTube clip of Abraham Wong and the van here.
GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre
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