Relay for Life needs better wheelchair accessibility

"I was told that people in wheelchairs could bypass the hill and cut across the grass. I have a few problems with that."

Gyro Park is a central, grassy, shady location rendering it a very nice place to hold Trail’s Relay for Life.

A major targeted demographic for this event would be the cancer survivors themselves.

At the beginning of the Relay for Life, the survivors commence by walking an honourary lap that is supposed to promote hope and good feelings.

The problem is, though, at Gyro, half the track is sloped. I personally know many survivors that are in wheelchairs, or that need walkers to get around.

How are they expected to participate in the walk when they can’t get themselves around the track?

I was told that people in wheelchairs could bypass the hill and cut across the grass.

I have a few problems with that.

First, my aunt Kim, who has been in a wheelchair for almost 30 years makes a point of counting out how many laps she can do by herself. Now, she is either cutting off half the lap, or she is needing to be pushed up and down the slope; neither of these things contributing to the feeling of independence that the Relay for Life once gave her.

Second, have you ever pushed yourself across grass in a wheelchair? I have, and let me tell you that it is a very uncomfortable, exhausting experience. The notion that the committee is expecting the cancer survivors, and other long-time participants to struggle at an event where they once thrived is just appalling.

I realize there are many reasons the committee decided to have the Relay for Life at Gyro Park, and I could argue many of them, but I’ll leave it at that for now.

I understand that those without physical disabilities don’t see the difference between Hayley Park and Gyro Park, but that’s why I felt that this letter needed to be written.

I hope I have raised at least some awareness towards the harm being done by hosting the Relay for Life at Gyro Park.

Kennady KeraiffTrail