March of Dimes Canada DesignAbility Program Seeking Volunteers

March of Dimes DesignAbility
Request: A 9-year old boy with spina bifida is unable to use his legs and the mother requested something to aide with exercise and mobility. Solution: A structure was designed and built so that the boy could climb using his arms. A mock up was built to see how steep of an angle he could manage and to check the spacing between the knee blocks. The knee blocks assist him in moving forward by stopping him from backsliding. When he wants to go down he slides down the middle. This solution provides more play space in a confined area, it helps strengthen the boys arms and the climbing gives him a sense of accomplishment . It is painted in his favourite hockey teams colours, the Ottawa Senators.

March of Dimes Canada’s DesignAbility® program offers custom-built solutio​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ns and modifications to the everyday challenges that can be faced by people living with mobility issues. The program is seeking volunteers to work with local residents in need of customized devices and support.

DesignAbility volunteers engineer solutions or product to increase independence that cannot be found on the market.

At no charge except for the expense of building materials, DesignAbility volunteers work to craft creative, custom solutions that help overcome barriers to work, play, personal hygiene and other daily activities.

Joe, a volunteer, has created countless items for clients that help make life a little easier.

One family helped by Joe had appealed to the DesignAbility® program for help with a custom-made bed for their three-year-old daughter Mishaelle. Mishaelle who has multiple disabilities, was still using a crib to keep her safe and from falling at night. However, she was regularly putting her arms and legs through the crib slats, and her head over the top rail and would often wake up and cry throughout the night.

Joe designed a full-sized twin bed for Mishaelle that has a lattice-work ‘gate’ that mom can easily open, and still keeps Mishaelle secure in her bed at night.

“From the bottom of our hearts we want to express our gratitude & thanks for Joe’s kindness – every since he made the bed for our daughter Mishaelle, not only has her life been changed, but we as a family now have peace of mind – and that is because Joe stepped up and said ‘I will help’ – she is now happy and is always looking forward to a good sleep”, says Mishaelle’s parents Pierre and Nahomie.

For more information, or to apply as a volunteer, please contact Crystal McCollom at 1-888-260-5269 ext 237 or email [email protected]

To learn more about the March of Dimes Canada DesignAbility Program, please visit