Corner Brook woman gets a second wheelchair surprise

Samantha Cull got another wheelchair surprise when a viewer saw her story on CBC and wanted to help.

Samantha Cull will receive a donated electric wheelchair after manual chair accidentally taken

Samantha Cull is getting a donated electric wheelchair to replace her manual one. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

Samantha Cull got another wheelchair surprise when a viewer saw her story on CBC and wanted to help.

The 26-year-old student from Corner Brook had her wheelchair stolen from her driveway when a person passing by thought it was garbage. 

Her manual chair was next to a pile laid out for the city's Cleanup Week. It was quickly returned once the person realized their mistake. But that story got one man's attention.

After seeing Cull's story, Randell Hayes of St. John's called her and offered her an electric wheelchair.

"I was pretty excited about it. The one I have now is falling apart. The one he sent us a picture of is in pretty good shape," Cull said.

More independence

Cull has transverse myelitis, an inflammation of the spinal cord that affects her organs. She has only one lung, with 20 per cent capacity. An electric wheelchair will completely change how and where she can go.

Samantha Cull's friend posted a plea on Facebook to have the new wheelchair transported across the province. (facebook )

"It will give me a lot of independence. I will be able to get to a lot of places on it," she said. "The one I have now is manual, and I have to push it with my feet because I can't use my hands."

The electric wheelchair has several buttons and knobs that control direction and speed.  

She is currently on a two- to three-year wait list with her occupational therapist's office for an electric wheelchair.

Very grateful

"I was speechless when he offered it to me. Why would a stranger be giving me this? I'm very grateful this gentleman has donated this one to me,' she said.

Hayes didn't want to speak to CBC about the donation but just said his brother-in-law recently died, and his family wanted his wheelchair to go to someone who really needed it. 

Cull's friends posted a picture of the new electric chair on Facebook, asking if anyone could bring it — it weighs about 200 pounds — across the island for her.

The moving company Household Movers saw the post and offered to bring it to Cull; they're picking it up in St. John's on Thursday and shipping it to Corner Brook.

About the Author

Colleen Connors

CBC News

Colleen Connors reports on western Newfoundland from CBC's bureau in Corner Brook.