Saskatchewan

Sask. family with two wheelchair-bound sons hoping for transportation relief

Three of Dean and Jackie Shabatoski's five children have muscular dystrophy. Their two oldest sons, 26-year-old Braiden and 15-year-old Samuel, are wheelchair-bound and weigh well over 200 lbs. Dean is the only one capable of lifting the boys into their vehicle, and that's putting a strain on his drywall business.

Three of couple's five children have muscular dystrophy

Three of Dean and Jackie Shabatoski's five children live with muscular dystrophy -- a situation that has presented transportation challenges for the Clavet, Sask. family. (Lora Fraess)

A family in Clavet, Sask. is finding everyday trips around town more challenging with each passing year.

That's because three of Dean and Jackie Shabatoski's five children have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

Two of their sons are confined to wheelchairs.

Twenty-six-year-old Braiden weighs 240 lbs., while his 15-year-old brother, Samuel, is 220 lbs.

Their father has to lift his wheelchair-bound sons into and out of the family's van for every trip.

If he was lifting me and my dad got hurt, well I would just feel awful.- Braiden Shabatoski

But Braiden worries his dad could be injured lifting him and and his brother into their vehicle.

"For me, it's kind of terrifying to think that if my dad is lifting me and he gets hurt or he falls or does something to him, it would just be devastating," he said. "Because we rely on him for a lot."

"And, even personally, if he was lifting me and my dad got hurt, well I would just feel awful."

Transportation challenges hurting family business

Dean runs a drywall business.

Braiden says all that lifting is taking a toll on his dad physically and on his drywall business.

"Because, yeah, he's had some opportunities to be out of town for jobs," he said. "But it's too much for him to be away because he does everything."

Dean Shabatoski is forced to physically lift his two wheelchair-bound sons, who both weigh well over 200 lbs., into and out of the family vehicle. (Chanss Lagaden)

Jackie says if her husband isn't around, she can't take her two oldest boys anywhere because she can't physically lift them into their van.

"We love going to sporting events, we love going to movies," she said. "But if my husband's not here, we can't go and do those things because I can't physically get them into the vehicle."

GoFundMe campaign underway for family

Braiden is looking forward to a day when his family doesn't have to make a choice over who gets to go to events and who has to stay home.

"So that we can all be together and go places," he said. "Instead of only a few of us being able to go, we can all go —even just to the city, or to travel anywhere. We would like to be able to have all of us together."

A GoFundMe page has been started by friends to help the family buy a custom-made van with a wheelchair lift.