Day 99 - James (2nd person I approached)
April 09, 2014 - James was born and raised in Canmore, Alberta.
“I went to elementary school and lived in Canmore until high school. Then I moved and went to school in Rimbey, which is also in Alberta,” James said. When I asked why there was a move, James told me “It’s a long story.”
James was born with Spina Bifida, a developmental disorder of the spinal cord. Spina Bifida effects about 1 in 1000 births worldwide. He has used a wheelchair since he was five years old. After completing high school, James moved to Vancouver to study social work.
“I spent four years at Langara College studying. I wanted to be a social worker. Langara wasn’t the most accessible environment for someone in a wheel chair. But in the time that I was there, they made great improvements.”
James tells me that he helped establish increased accessibility on campus. After graduating from Langara, James worked as a Social worker for just over four years.
“I like school and learning,” says James,
“So I decided to go back to school, and studied Journalism at Capilano College. I have to say the accessibility at Capilano College was excellent. It was a good campus for getting around in a wheelchair.”
The journalism program was four years long, but owing to some health challenges, James missed a lot of classes. After five years at Capilano College, James had to drop the journalism course all together.
“I had too many health problems and it just wasn’t working out for me, I had missed too much of school, so I decided to stop.”
James has spent time working with children with autism, but otherwise has not been able to work owing to his medical situation.
“I spend most of my time reading. I enjoy Tom Clancy, James Patterson, Robert Ludlum and Stephen King. I try to get out every day, especially on nice sunny days like today,” James says. He lives in an extended health care facility, but hopes to move out of there soon.
“I don’t like living there much at all. I’m hoping to move out to the Fraser Valley and get out of the city. My sister lives out in the valley as well. We’re close and I’d like to live nearer to her.”
I told James I was going to take his picture until he gave a smile - I love the laughter I got from that! #notastranger