Willy MacLeod and his group of volunteers have mastered many impressive skills, including woodworking, electrical work, welding, sewing -- and helping other people.
A DesignAbility Program volunteer in Welland, Ontario, Willy works to develop one-of-a-kind products for children and adults with physical disabilities.
For example, he and other volunteers created a computer lap table that can be raised or lowered with the push of a button, so its user can stand or sit more easily. To help with balance, they also installed a stability bar.
Then there was the brick-like device that raises or lowers a couch or chair to help people with movement difficulties get into and out of their seats independently. "Sometimes even a small adjustment makes a world of difference," says Willy.
And he should know. Willy is a C6 quadriplegic. Yet his disability has not stopped him from reaching out to help others.
In 2004, his work won him the Ontario March of Dimes’ Judge George Ferguson Award for contributing in an outstanding way to improving the quality of life for people with disabilities throughout Ontario.
"Of all the committees I’ve served on, this is one of the most rewarding,” says Willy, adding that, because his team is responding to real needs, “the volunteers actually want more work."