March 7, 2023
A friendship between two people with disabilities is made possible thanks to technology.
Each Monday, Ricky, a person supported by St.Amant is transported to a magical world of gnomes, beautiful palaces, ancient kings, and villages. As Kellea reads to him, her soothing voice fills the space with a sense of peace and calm.
As they embark on a new adventure together each week, they share moments of laughter – their connection grows stronger and stronger.
Kellea is a volunteer, through St.Amant’s PALS program.
Six years ago, a car accident changed her life.
The busy life she once had came to halt. With a spinal cord injury, she now has a disability of her own. She says “Any one of us could have a disability at some point in our life…anything can happen. I had a plan, I loved my life and my career and everything in between – and then in a split second my life wasn’t the same.” she says.
Because of her accident, Kellea was no longer able to access and do the things she used to do. This experience changed her outlook on life – and she was striving to connect with someone in an accessible way during the pandemic.
This is when she and Ricky met, and thanks to technology, the beginning of a new friendship.
Kellea reads books virtually to Ricky every Monday afternoon. She says “I know we both share disabilities in different ways, but I don’t see them. We go into this fantasy world together, it transports us. We’re where we are physically, but our minds are in a whole other world.”
Shelley De Rose, Activity Worker at St.Amant sees their connection grow stronger with each week that passes. She says, “what they have is special. When I tell Ricky we’re about to set up the iPad, to connect with Kellea – he smirks. He lights up! It’s truly the highlight of his day.”
Kellea makes a difference in Ricky’s life, and he makes a difference in hers. “We started with Robert Munch classics – his favourite is The Paper Bag Princess, he loves the mischievousness of the stories. He laughs so much! Ricky has brought so much joy into my life” says Kellea.
Ricky’s new friend brings him joy and comfort. His support staff says “We can hear Ricky laugh every time she reads to him – everyone here hears it! It’s amazing to see!” says Shelley.
What comes next for Ricky and Kellea? A first in-person visit!
When Kellea is further along her healing journey, she’ll come in person to read Ricky one of his favourite books, she says” I’ll bring him his favourite Robert Munch books, as a gift! One day, we’ll meet in person. I can’t wait!”
Thanks to today’s technology Ricky and Kellea can go on magical adventures together, that are accessible to both of them. Just like a magical adventure, their friendship brings them to new places. A connection – that brings them both so much joy.
To read more stories like this, click here!