Paraplegic Ontario man builds wheelchair ramp for stranger
An Ontario woman was able to get out of her home for the first time in four years thanks to a sympathetic stranger.
As a paraplegic, Mike Mulligan knew how difficult it can be to regain independence in a wheelchair. He told CTV’s Canada AM on Tuesday that he wanted to make a difference for people who struggle with physical disabilities.
Mulligan lost the use of his arms and legs in a car crash in St. Marys, Ont. 18 years ago. This fall, he worked with an adviser at TD Canada Trust to open a gym in nearby London, Ont. for people with physical limitations.
His story inspired the bank representative, who nominated Mulligan for TD's Make Today Matter campaign, a project that passed out $720,000 in donations to 24 customers across Canada and the U.S.
In November, Mulligan was surprised by an employee of his branch of TD, who brought him an access card for a bank account holding $30,000.
"It was overwhelming," Mulligan told Canada AM.
Mulligan decided to use the money to make a difference for people who faced similar physical challenges.
He called a colleague at the March of Dimes, where he'd worked in the past, and asked for suggestions. He found out that a former colleague with polio needed a chairlift, but didn't qualify for assistance funding because she works at March of Dimes. He spent some of the money installing a chairlift in the woman's home.
Next, he called MEDIchair, a mobility aid provider. Someone told him about Rossa, a woman who had been denied funding for a wheelchair because her home was not equipped with a ramp. Without a ramp and chair, Rossa was unable to leave her home.
Captured in a 3.5-minute video posted on TD's website, Rossa was introduced to Mulligan, who brought a crew of technicians and TD volunteers to her home to assemble a wheelchair ramp. He also bought her the wheelchair she needed.
Through tears, she called Mulligan an angel, then told him simply, "I have no words."
"The tears were in her eyes and in my eyes. Just being able to make today matter for her changed my life," Mulligan said.