Parksville MS sufferer gets high-tech chair, thanks to local generosity

Residents, chair company make a dream of a tilting wheelchair a reality

Vivian O’Connor wants to thank the community for helping her help a fellow MS sufferer.

Vivian O’Connor wants to thank the community for helping her help a fellow MS sufferer.

Sometimes, Christmas dreams really do come true — and it can be particularly sweet if that dream is on somebody else’s behalf.

Just ask Vivian O’Connor, who put out a call recently to help a fellow multiple sclerosis sufferer obtain a tilting wheelchair.

On Tuesday, O’Connor reported that area residents opened their hearts after reading about her appeal in The NEWS — to the point where she feels the need to say, stop!

The appeal was for Dean Jesperson, who is badly affected by MS to the point where he is bent over, meaning he is sometimes unable to either breath or eat properly.

O’Connor, who uses a tilting wheelchair to get around, knew that a tilting model for Jesperson could make a big difference in his quality of life. She made an appeal for a tilting chair through the newspaper and was more than gratified by the result.

“We put out the appeal and people just started calling in,” she said. “I was getting anonymous donations, a couple of them for $500. My daughter’s workplace had a big bottle at the side where people could put donations in for him and another friend had a bake sale, while another had a party and charged $5 to get in and ended up with $1,000. People in The Gardens were phoning up to ask what they can do and St. Stephen’s Church gave money, too.”

Even as the donations rolled in however, O’Connor received a phone call that put her campaign over the top.

“Right out of the blue, Motion Specialties, the ones that deal with my wheelchair, phoned and said there was a man who was going to donate a chair,” she said. “It has a tilt on it.”

With the chair secured, O’Connor said the funds raised — about $4,000 —will be used to outfit it with extras, such as a new cushion for the seat.

“All those extra things are so expensive,” she said. “Now, we don’t need any more. Anything else he needs for the chair we can purchase.”


The experience, she said, has given her a warm, seasonal glow.