Team Jigger Chair Aware returns for 2021

Participants in the 2021 Team Jigger Chair Aware event. This year participants have the option to enter as a team of up to four. (Submitted)

Participants in the 2021 Team Jigger Chair Aware event. This year participants have the option to enter as a team of up to four. (Submitted)

The Team Jigger Foundation and MNP are getting ready for another Chair Aware fundraising event, this year with a slight change. This year the fundraiser is now a team event.

The fundraiser s geared towards identifying and understanding the barriers and struggles that the mobility challenged face each and every day.

From May 30 to June 3, teams will experience an eight-hour glimpse into the lives of the mobility challenged by dedicating themselves to a wheelchair and attempting to make it through the day as they normally would. Seemingly simple tasks, such as crossing the street onto a sidewalk, shopping for groceries, fueling a vehicle or entering their place of work may present a new level of complexity that would otherwise go unnoticed.

“The point of Chair Aware is not to belittle or lessen the personal and intimate challenges faced by individuals who live with mobility issues,” said Jason “Jigger” Lunn, founder of the Team Jigger Foundation. “The point is to allow able-bodied people to experience a limitation that is a daily part of life for us, and to take this experience forward with them when considering accessibility and inclusion issues in their future.”

Confined to a chair himself after a high-speed collision in 2011 that resulted in a STARS air ambulance ride and months of recovery, Lunn founded the Team Jigger Foundation to provide needed resources and fill the gap between injury and rehabilitation.

“Our foundation works on three fronts. First, to raise awareness of accessibility issues and barriers in our community and throughout central Alberta. Second, to provide mentorship, resources and assistance to those born with or experiencing a loss of mobility or function. And third, to acquire specialized physiotherapy equipment that has been modified for paraplegics, quadriplegics, brain injury recoveries, MS patients, those with balance or cardiovascular issues, amputees or degenerative conditions.”

“You name it we want to ensure they have access to equipment not normally available at a physiotherapist or hospital to help contribute to their recovery physically and mentally, and to reach the peak of their adjusted ability.”

He that the equipment is not only uncommon but they are also expensive and that’s why participants of the fundraiser will be soliciting donations in addition to experiencing the sometimes-frustrating restrictions of a wheelchair.

The goal of Chair Aware is to raise enough money to fund the purchase of additional modified equipment for the Lacombe-based Team Jigger Foundation.

“Having to ask for assistance was humbling.” said MNP’s Melisa Milne who took part in Chair Aware in 2021. “I had to ask for help to get my coffee from the staff kitchen to my office; A task I’ve done countless times, but on that day, it was impossible to do by myself.”

“We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to participate in such a great event,” says Angela Law, both a board member with Team Jigger and a Partner at MNP. “Most everyone knows somebody who has experienced a loss or decline of mobility through an accident or disease. Not all of us stop to think about the everyday challenges and restrictions that able-bodied individuals may take for granted.”

Anyone interested in participating, donating or volunteering can visit teamjigger.com or call 825-640-8326 for further details.