RIVER JOHN – Getting to and from appointments, let alone out of the house, is very difficult for River John resident Eric Heighton and his wife Maxine. But, there is some hope.
Recently, the couple found what could be the answer to their mobility question. While on Facebook, the pair came across a contest that offers a wheelchair accessible van to the top three participants.
“It’s for National Mobility Awareness Month,” explained Maxine.
“It’s for all of North America, so my top competitors are from the States,” added Heighton.
After spending 23-and-a-half years as a marine engineer, the handyman and NASCAR fan took his leave from service and built his own home for him and his wife. Then, everything changed.
“I got up sleepwalking one night and fell down the stairs,” said Heighton.
The accident left him a quadriplegic.
Ten years have passed since his accident and Heighton remained positive through the entire ordeal. Making the adjustments were challenging but winning the new van will certainly eliminate the biggest challenge.
“We’ve never had one,” said Heighton. “Getting around is challenging.”
“If Eric has an appointment, and that’s pretty much the only time he goes out, I have to take apart the push wheelchair, put it in the back of the truck,” said Maxine. “I have to put it back together to get him in, take it apart and put it back in the truck. It’s a lot of work and it’s heavy.”
In some cases, an ambulance will come to the Heighton residence in order to transport him to and from the hospital. But Maxine said her husband never loses his positive attitude, unless of course NASCAR is on.
In order to win the contest, Heighton has to have enough votes to either rank first, second, or third among the hundreds of participants.
“On Sunday, we were running in fourth place,” said Maxine. “And the only way to find out is by going to everyone’s individual page. That takes a couple of hours.”
Voting for the contest started March 11 and will continue until May 10. Voters have the opportunity to vote once every 24 hours but can place two votes per ballot.
As of Thursday at 12:30 p.m., Heighton has 10,550 votes.
“There’s still a lot of voting to go,” said Heighton. “It’ll be a relief if we get it. I might get to NASCAR in Daytona.”
To send your vote for Heighton, visit: http://www.mobilityawarenessmonth.com/entrant/eric-heighton-river-john-nova-scotia/.