More MS news articles for Nov 2001

Major renovation aids woman with two disabilities

Nov. 18, 2001. 11:15 PM

Laurie-Jean Barry longed for several years to cook and go outside like any other woman.

It wasn't because she is deaf.

Rather, it was because her Traynor Avenue home in Kitchener, built in the 1960s, doesn't accommodate someone like herself who has been forced by the additional burden of multiple sclerosis to spend much of her waking hours in a wheelchair.

But, after burning herself several times trying to reach her stove controls and finding it impossible to manoevre her wheelchair onto the deck without the assistance of her husband, she became understandably "very frustrated," she said Sunday.

Now, however, the 32-year-old housewife can do both with ease thanks to a $58,000 major renovation to the couple's home, a renovation which the Ontario Cultural Society of the Deaf has supported - and continues to support - through fund-raising projects.

Members of the society and friends came to the Barry home Sunday to view the bright and cheerful enlarged kitchen and deck area, both now totally suited to Laurie-Jean's needs. The renovations allow her to cook, wash dishes and get items from the refrigerator and cupboards with ease from her wheelchair.

They also learned that more than $10,000 has been raised so far through the society's efforts and from private donations to help pay for the renovations.

Barry spoke briefly to the gathering, communicating in sign language while an interpreter translated for the few people able to hear her. She said she had contacted numerous service and other organizations to help finance the renovations but got no satisfaction or was told it would be at least a two-year wait.

"I got fed up and frustrated,"said Barry who often had to boost her four-year-old daughter, Kellie-Ann, onto counters to reach into cupboards for her.

Bard Joanne Cripps, a family friend and society member, told the group CCIWEBKitchener-Waterloo. The queen-size quilt with a Canadian theme will be ready for a raffle beginning in January.

Cripps said tickets can be obtained through e-mails,, or by faxing (519) 651-0834.

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