Renee Lamont

Renee relaxing in her newly renovated bathtub.

Schools help 12 year old find peace at home after injury

Nearly two years ago, Renee Lamont’s life changed in a big way. What began as a normal day at school for the 10 year old, turned into one unlike any other.

"In gym class they were practising long jump and she got a spinal cord injury," explains Renee’s father Robert. "It was an interruption of blood flow in the lower spinal cord, resulting in paralysis from the knees down."

Adapting to changes in lifestyle

From that moment, most of what were once simple tasks for Renee, now 12, became increasingly difficult.

"I can't do a lot of the sports that I used to. But I try and do as much as possible," she explains. "Before I liked to play ringette and running and now I can't."

It's not only sports that have changed for Renee, who now uses crutches to get around at school, but also things around the house.

"I wasn't able to take showers anymore, when I would go into the bathtub it would hurt my back," she remembers. "I would have to go in really quickly."

Making home feel like home again

The family undertook major renovations to the house to make it more accessible, including making the front and back entrances more conducive to wheelchair use.

In total, they spent approximately fifteen thousand dollars on upgrades, with Robert and neighbours doing much of the physical labour.

But that didn't include the bathtub, which needed to be re-sized to fit Renee's needs.

"Because of the money that had already been spent it was one of those things that was going to be delayed," explains Robert.

Getting a helping hand from students

That's when they sought help and got it, in this case from students and schools across the country who raised funds as a part of the Rick Hansen School Program.

"With help from the Foundation it made it totally possible to make the bathroom renovation happen right away," says Robert, who adds that the new bathtub now provides a therapeutic escape for Renee.

"It makes me feel really happy that there are things out there to help people in my situation," says Renee.

"I think you just need to look on the positive side. There's help and you will get better and if you don't there are a lot of things that you can do."

If your school wants to make a positive difference in the life of a young person with a disability, check out our Abilities In Motion program in your resource box.