Rolling along at the beach isn’t always so easy in a wheelchair.
Even the strongest spirit will have difficulty moving a chair through sand.
WATCH: Accessibility app being tested in Vancouver
But the Vancouver Park Board has just taken steps to make life a little easier for wheelchair users, rolling out accessibility mats at two beaches.
It’s been great news for three-year-old Sailor, who loves coming to the beach now, said mother Ashley Vaughan.
“Sailors, they go out to sea and they go on adventures and they also weather storms and they come through it stronger, and so for Sailor, it’s been a real definition of her life,” she told Global News.
Now, with the help of the mats, Sailor can just roll out.
“We’ll often set up at the end of the beach and she rolls around with her friends,” Vaughan said.
The mats are all about inclusion and making sure “everybody gets to enjoy the beach,” said Donnie Rosa with the park board.
Sailor and her family have spent lots of time at BC Children’s Hospital in the past.
Health isn’t the worry for her that it once was, but she now faces the challenge of a world that isn’t built for her.
Things are improving, however.
“Your natural instinct is to stay home, it’s just easier,” said her father Jarrett Vaughan.
“And the city makes it easier for us to get out.”
The mats aren’t the only initiative aimed at making the beach more accessible.
The park board also has water wheelchairs that allow users to float out in the ocean.
Sailor will have to wait a few years to use them.
But for now, her family wants her to know she can do anything.
“We don’t want her or any other kids with disabilities to have their disability form their identity,” Jarrett said.
- Video report by Geoff Hastings
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