Shailynn Taylor grew up with her family on the prairie plains of Saskatchewan in the small city of Moose Jaw. Her early childhood was carefree as she ran and played with other children. Soon after Shailynn turned eight years she began to feel tired, her muscles became weak and the simple act of moving around became more and more difficult.
New Wheels Bring New Life to University Student.
Shailynn Taylor grew up with her family on the plains of Saskatchewan in the small city of Moose Jaw. Her early childhood was carefree as she ran and played with other children. Soon after Shailynn turned eight years she began to feel tired, her muscles became weak and the simple act of moving around became more and more difficult. Shailynn underwent tests to determine the reason for her suffering but it wasn’t until months later when the entire family had genetic testing done that they were able to discover the cause.
Shailynn was diagnosed with a degenerative genetic disease called SMA or Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a genetic disorder that manifests as a slow progression of weakness without sensory impairment caused by disease of motor neurons in the spinal cord and brain-stem.
Shailynn explains, “There are typically four types of SMA; Type 1 is the most severe, affecting infant children and in many cases is fatal with a life expectancy of approximately 2 years. Types 2 & 3 will see their degenerative process slow as they move between the types and as individuals grow up into teenagers and through to adulthood.” Type 4 develops further in the adult life after age 30. Shailynn’s diagnosis is between types 2 and 3 with a life expectancy of 20-30 years. However, with medical research improving, SMA is currently one of the diseases that is the closest to a cure. There are many people who are deifying the odds and are living into their 40’s and 50’s because of the many advances in technology.
The diagnosis flipped the Taylor family upside down and they became accustomed to a new way of life. Some challenges included renovating their home to make it accessible for Shailynn’s walker and manual wheelchair as well as finding a vehicle that could accommodate her needs so she could remain active in her community.
Shailynn recently started school at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, BC where she is pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice and looks forward to engaging in further post-secondary studies in law. To prepare for her move to BC, an adequate medical team was found that would support her on a day to day basis. Shailynn’s family drove her transport van across three provinces, including bringing her brand new power wheelchair.
This new wheelchair is top of its class and gives Shailynn the flexibility and mobility she needs to get around. “It gives me way more independence because it is able to rise up so that I can go to the grocery store and clean my apartment by myself. It tilts and the footrest moves and everything so I am able to move my body around and not get sore and stiff from sitting in the same position every day. It has done a lot for my circulation and my movement in general” says Shailynn. The mobility device that Shailynn was using previously was old and kept breaking down, sometimes leaving her stranded and alone. She says “with this new chair, I have peace of mind and that it’s not going to quit on me and I am not going to end up stranded again.”
CanDyne Pump Services Inc. is pleased to be the donor of Shailynn’s mobility device (power wheelchair) and in helping to open up new opportunities for Shailynn in BC. We are excited to be able to meet her in person as she transitions to Mount Royal University for the 2015 -2016 school year.
For more information on SMA, please visit http://www.curesma.ca/