Photo Ben Pelosse
Julien Racicot is going to cover the 1200 km between Gaspé and Montreal in a wheelchair to raise funds to help disabled people.
Saturday, 12 August 2017 20:07
Saturday, 12 August 2017 20:07
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A man paralyzed after a car accident wants to improve the lives of people who have had spinal cord severed in an accident. He wants to help those who must sometimes wait years before getting the money from the government to adapt their home.
In Quebec, people whose spine has been broken following a work accident or car receive immediate financial assistance from the Commission of the standards, the fairness, the health and safety of the work (CNESST) or the SAAQ to adapt their homes to their new condition of disability. But 63 % of people who become paralyzed don’t have this “chance” since the accident occurred while they were running a dive or when they fell from a stepladder.
They must go through the home adaptation Program, where the waiting time is sometimes several years. The maximum assistance is $ 16,000 in the majority of cases, this is insufficient to adapt a home. “Some of them, despite their young age, find themselves in a CHSLD to wait until the end of their life, since they do not have the means to get help at home or to adapt their housing. It is inconceivable “, said Julien Racicot.
It is for this reason that Julien Racicot, 36 years, has established the Foundation Adapts-Roof, which makes up for the lack of financial resources available to people who, overnight, become paralyzed following an accident or, for example, because a tumor has reached their spinal cord.
Mr. Racicot knows something since a road accident left him paralyzed from the shoulders to the toes in 1999. He must now move in a power wheelchair and be accompanied 24 hours on 24.
“I’m part of the privileged, and I consider myself lucky since this is the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) that supports me financially “, he explains.
In the case of Julien Racicot is, therefore, the SAAQ who has paid the $ 150,000 in needed renovations of the family house following his accident, house where he still remains with his parents. It is also the SAAQ pays the fees of the medical personnel that accompanied him day and night. “I don’t move at all since my accident, so I always need someone with me. This help me is essential, ” he explains.
According to the national Institute of excellence in health and social services (INESSS), more than 2,000 Quebecers become paralysed each year as a result of an injury to the spinal cord. According to Mr. Racicot, the CLSC is not able to meet all the needs of individuals who have suffered an injury to the spinal cord.
“Several agencies are involved at the level of the defence of the rights of persons with disabilities, but there is nothing to fill the immediate assistance needed by the people who, overnight, become paralyzed,” said Julien Racicot.
By the numbers
Estimate of the costs to adapt a home when a person must travel in a wheelchair.
- The costs vary according to various factors, including the type of dwelling, the degree of disability of the person and its needs.
- Installation of an access ramp, a door opener and an intercom : 16 000 to 20 000 $
- Enlargement of a door frame, from 32 to 36 inches : 350 $
- Adapted bathroom : + 10 000 $
- Kitchen fit (counters are lowered, clearances under the counters, etc) : + $15,000
Source : Julien Racicot
A crossing of 1200 km in electric wheelchair
Julien Racicot is preparing to achieve the greatest course in the electric wheelchair in the country – 1200 km – to raise funds for the foundation Adapts-Roof, which he established in 2005. The adventure will begin on 15 August, in the Gaspé peninsula, and should finish in Montreal 30 days later.
Since his road accident, 18 years ago, Julien Racicot wants to help people in their physical condition who do not have the chance to receive compensation for adapting their housing or pay of the medical staff at home. In this way, it seeks to raise the self-esteem and the autonomy of the people who see their fate turned upside-down suddenly. “I’ve learned to live with my condition, but the process is done quietly. I realized that even if my head wanted to, my body, to him, was not, ” says the man who has had to make many losses.
A drama for all
Julien Racicot claims to be out grown by the accident that cost him the mobility of his body. His accident, however, has had an impact on his loved ones.
“For my family, it has been a tragic event, but from my side, it was an event that changed the course of my life,” says the man.
Indeed, in the wake of his accident, Julien Racicot returned to school and found a passion for real estate.
It has also been at the head of a company that owns more than 300 homes on the South Shore. In 2005, he sold everything to devote himself to his Foundation.
The money raised by its foundation is not for him, but good for those who suffer an injury to the spinal cord and do not have anyone to turn to to cover the costs related to their physical condition. It wants to enable these people to regain a “normal” life. “I want to give them tools and offer them ideal conditions so that they can have the best life possible,” says Julien Racicot.