Dale Unick can barely make it out of his camper and stumbles on the two metal steps as he comes outside and gingerly sets his aching body down on a picnic table.
Unick, a senior in his 60s, is nearly crippled with pain everyday.
Just last year he was fit and healthy, but last December, while riding his bicycle on Dogwood street, Unick accidentally swerved into the path of a truck and was hit. He suffered two fractured hips, back and spine injuries, which cause him pain every day.
Ironically, Unick’s bike, and his only mode of transportation, had barely a scratch.
“There was not a ‘bruise’ on it when I picked it up,” said Unick. “Just the chain had come off, but I can’t ride it anymore anyway.”
Unick attempts to take his bike downtown from his home in the Little Rock RV Park on the Island Highway, to do grocery shopping and pick up other essentials but by the time he makes it back home, he’s pushing his bike and can barely move.
“I sit here and I watch him go out and he comes back and can barely put one foot in front of the other, it’s unreal,” said neighbour Jean Bowerman who lives beside Unick. “It’s so blatant the pain on his face, I see his whole body screaming in pain. I just can’t stand to watch him come home on that bike anymore.”
Which is why Bowerman, along with help from RV park manager, Kathy Fairclough, is trying to raise money to buy Unick a scooter so he can get around with as little physical strain as possible.
“He’s low-income and he’s got no family to help,” said Bowerman. “As far as I’m concerned, this is a basic need that he’s not entitled to and that really bothers me.”
Unick, who was found at-fault in the accident and is a senior living off a pension, has no money to buy a scooter himself, and hasn’t asked for one either.
Bowerman has taken up the crusade on her own and has donation jars at Campbell River Electric Wheels (1841 Island Hwy.) and Spokes (13th Ave.) and will also take donations where she works at the Husky gas station on the Island Highway.
Bowerman has already shopped around and knows Unick needs a four-wheel scooter. It also needs a good battery so he can get to town and back, and it has to travel at least seven miles per hour in order to get up the steep hill on the highway near Hidden Harbour.
Those type of scooters cost around $2,500 but Bowerman would also be happy with a secondhand scooter, even if it needs work to get it up to par.
“We don’t care if it’s secondhand. If someone has one they would like to lend that would be great,” said Bowerman. “If someone has one, we could still supply the batteries and if it needs work there are enough mechanics around the RV park to fix it up.”
Bowerman has also been searching Craigslist, without success, but said if she does find one, she’ll go anywhere to pick it up if it means getting Unick off his bike.
Anyone able to help Bowerman can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org