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Letter: All I wanted was a chair

A person holds a letter with the text "letter to the editor" overlaid on the image.
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On Saturday, March 2, my daughter Macy and I attended the EDC tournament at the Sanford Health Athletic Complex. My daughter has Cerebral Palsy, uses a wheelchair and needs significant support. She also loves to watch her cousin play basketball.

I knew that accessible parking at the SHAC was poor so we made arrangements for a ride. What I didn’t expect was what happened when we arrived. The accessible seating was horrible. My daughter would have been sitting on her own unless I sat on the floor next to her. I asked the SHAC staff for a chair so I could sit next to her and tend to her safety and her needs. To my surprise I was told no, that if they gave me a chair, they would have to get others a chair.

I stated that she needs my assistance and truly didn’t believe anyone would have a problem if I were to have a chair next to her. It’s considered a companion chair. I did inform the staff person that I would be taking this further. So, here it is...

The SHAC is a new facility and I’m saddened at how unacceptable it is for those with disabilities. And, how unsympathetic the staff person was when I asked for help. Also, that when there were 26 seconds left in the game another employee did offer me a seat, 26 seconds - a little late by that time. I only wanted a chair. My daughter and I have attended many high school games, and their gyms are far more accessible than the SHAC.

March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness month. Macy enjoys her community and the community is a better place because she is a part of it. I realize that we need accommodations and try to plan accordingly before we attend events. Sometimes we need a little extra help and consideration. It breaks my heart when we are treated like an inconvenience due to her disability.

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Inclusion is going to be our plea and theme in honor of Cerebral Palsy Awareness month. The world will be a better place if we open our hearts and facilities to all of our community members. Even if it means allowing one person in the SHAC to have a chair to sit by her daughter so she can attend to her needs and enjoy a basketball game.

Related Topics: BASKETBALL
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