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New wheelchair, new trail adventures for Quesnel girl born with cerebral palsy

Brooke Brautigam can go on the trails with ease

On the trails, Brooke Brautigam is ready to conquer any rocky, sandy, muddy or uneven path in her new wheelchair.

Brooke, 15, was born with bilateral spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy, and as she grew it became harder for her parents to carry her on their backs for outdoor adventures. Her old wheelchair was difficult for her mom, Jenny, or caregivers to push on sandy beaches and rocky surfaces, leaving Brooke unable to complete some of the trails with her family and classmates.

That all changed on Wednesday, June 15, as an all-terrain wheelchair able to glide over nearly any type of surface arrived from the United States in Utah after a successful GoFundMe campaign that met its fundraising goal, raising $6,850 in seven hours.

Brooke and Jenny happily tried the Extreme Motus again the following day at West Fraser Timber Park, making it easily past a trail bridge.

“She kind likes all of them,” Jenny said as Brooke struggled to answer which trail is her favorite. “She likes going everywhere.”

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Jenny was initially hesitant to reach out for help but finally agreed for her mother and sister to post the GoFundMe after the family had given her some funds to help purchase a new wheelchair for Brooke.

She was surprised by the overwhelming support.

“I thought it would take a little while,” Jenny said. “I didn’t think it would be a day, so it was pretty amazing.”

Brooke’s outgrown backpack was donated to another family, while her old custom wheelchair is still used at home and school.

With her new wheelchair, Brooke and Jenny are already making plans for which trails they will hit next.

“That’s one of our big trips that we’re going to do,” Jenny said of Two Sisters Trail near Wells.

If it had not been for the GoFundMe, Jenny suspects it would have taken them much longer to come up with the resources to purchase Brooke’s new wheelchair.

The family had purchased with their own funds a wheelchair-accessible van last June.

“I’m glad I asked because we wouldn’t have been able to have the adventures we’re going to have,” Jenny said.

She is looking into starting a disabled hiking group for Quesnel and continuing fundraising so that all-terrain wheelchairs will be available for other kids and adults in the community.

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