January 24, 2014 at 12:54 AM
Langley paramedic wants to help friend in need
Kimberley Ashdown charms everyone she meets, said Langley B.C. Ambulance paramedic Vincent Ford.
“She is always a happy young lady,” said Ford, who has gotten to know Ashdown over the years, having taken her to the hospital via ambulance on numerous occasions. “I visit her regularly on days I’m not working. She always has a big smile on her face.”
The Langley woman has cerebral palsy and requires a wheelchair. She is dependent on her family to function and relied on the family van to get out of the house, to appointments and for fun.
The wheelchair lift van Ashdown’s parents use to get Kim around has broken down.
“Kim’s parents can’t afford to fix it again,” said Ford. “It’s a real shame because it means Kim has to spend a lot more time at home and she spends a lot of time lying in bed.”
For years Ford has been an instrumental volunteer with Kimz Angels, organizing the fill the ambulance campaign to help babies and families in need. This Christmas he wanted Kim Snow, of Kimz Angels to meet Kimberley.
“Well, I melted and we just have to help Kim,” said Snow.
Up until a few months ago, Ashdown was doing really well, getting out and meeting friends and going on outings with her family. Through a program, she volunteered every Monday at the Greater Vancouver Zoo and does activities in the community, like bowling with friends.
She lives with her parents and siblings and they have been providing care for her around the clock. But since the wheelchair lift van broke down, Ashdown spends more time staring at the same walls at home.
“She gets bored stuck at home all the time,” said her mother Dawn.
“A lot of oil leaked out of the van and the oil pan was bone dry so I don’t dare to start it,” said Kim’s dad Graham. “We bought the van in 2000 and already have put nearly $8,000 into it. We just can’t afford to put anymore into it.”
The van is a 1998 Ford Aerostar.
Because of the van, the whole family was able to spend Christmas 2012 at a friend’s place for a few days and Kim loved it, he said. They also have taken her to parades and numerous outings that she really looks forward to.
“It’s different scenery, something new,,” said Graham. “We try to take her on the bus but it’s very difficult to do that,” he said. Graham said he had to quit work a while ago to take care of Kim full-time.
His wife Dawn has bulging discs in her back and knee issues so can’t lift Kim.
Kim can’t sit up without help and recently had a G-Tube put into her stomach for extra fluids so she doesn’t become dehydrated. Through all her challenges, she wins the hearts of everyone she meets, said Ford and her parents.
“Kim is the most charming girl. She remembers things from long ago that I don’t even remember,” said Dawn.
She has a place in her heart for Ford and even insisted of having a picture of him and her hung in her room, said Dawn.
Handy Dart does pick up Kim three days a week to attend a day program so that helps her get out but the van was the family’s only form of transportation.
“It would be so great if the community could come together and help Kim out,” said Ford. In the meantime, Ford said he is willing to paint her bedroom to give it new life.
If you would like to help towards getting Kim a working van or know of how to help email. If you would like to donate to Ashdown, you can do so at the Langley TD Bank. Ask for the donation to go towards the Kimz Angels account, specifying that it is for Kim Ashdown.