Funding for a new stroller from the Military Police Fund For Blind Children (MPFBC) promises to open up entirely new paths for Jessica Walker and her family.
Jessica, who attends Grade 9 at Brookwood Secondary and is part of the school’s STRIVE program, and her family will receive funds to support the purchase of an EZ Rider 16-inch stroller.
Fourteen-year-old Jessica has cortical visual impairment as well as global developmental delays in all areas, her mom, Charlene, explained.
“This (stroller) will make a huge difference for Jessica.
“It’ll allow us to go places that we normally couldn’t take her. We are extremely grateful for this. This will make a huge difference in her life, and our life.”
Jessica comes from a one-income family that otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford the stroller.
“We don’t have a wheelchair van so the stroller just allows her to go to appointments, go up the stairs at grandma’s house… you can’t take a wheelchair into all those places,” Charlene said.
“It gives her the freedom to be part of the community. Otherwise she would be very, very limited.”
Cpl. Rodrigo Zerecero-Garcia from 1 Military Police Regiment Detachment Chilliwack visited Brookwood Secondary Tuesday morning for a presentation.
The MPFBC was founded in 1957 and specializes in assisting visually impaired children up to the age of 21. The fund is operated entirely by military police volunteers and has no paid employees. Every Canadian Forces establishment has a local representative and there are regional representatives on the board of directors. All funds raised are used to benefit visually impaired children.
It was founded by Colonel James Riley Stone, a Canadian Army Provost Marshal (military police) whose daughter Moira was afflicted with cancer of the eye, resulting in sudden blindness and, subsequently, death.
“He decided to create this foundation and raise some money for his daughter,” Zerecero-Garcia explained. “He started little by little, like any foundation, and all of a sudden it became a big movement. He realized there was a lot of need for people with visual disabilities.”
The MPFBC will pay up to $4,300 including taxes, where applicable, per child.
“There is a board of directors in Ottawa, and they are the ones who receive our files and they go through them, and realize where there is the most need,” Zerecero-Garcia said. “And then they send the money out.”
The commission representing the MPFBC approved the submission for Jessica’s stroller on Jan. 16.
This foundation is not only for families military members, but for the general public as well, stressed Zerecero-Garcia.
“We’re so happy to be able to help people like Jessica,” Zerecero-Garcia said.