March of Dimes Canada Selects Recipient for the Istvan and Barbara Haas Vehicle Retrofit Initiative

March of Dimes Canada, a charity that provides programs and services to children and adults with disabilities, is providing $15,000 to help a Sydney woman living with a disability to retrofit a vehicle to become accessible. 

Vehicle modifications allow people living with disabilities the freedom of mobility, access and community participation that so many of us take for granted – but modifications can be prohibitively expensive, and out of reach for those with limited or fixed incomes. Kimberley Lovett is the grateful recipient of funding from the Istvan and Barbara Haas Vehicle Retrofit Fund.

Kimberley is a 40-year-old single mother of three living in Howie Center. As the result of a rare spinal cord infection contracted in 2012, when she was eleven weeks pregnant with her third child, Kimberley now needs a wheelchair for all mobility. Her community doesn’t have accessible public transportation for people with disabilities, so Kim has been relying on her parents to take her to her medical appointments, and help drive her children to school and community events. As well, not having her own vehicle has meant Kim hasn’t been able to work at her job as a social worker. The funding will allow Kim to obtain a fully accessible van, so she can work again and most importantly, get back her cherished independence.

“There aren’t the words to properly express my gratitude,” says Kim. “Not having access to transportation has been the biggest obstacle to me getting my independence back, being able to work, take my children places, [and] go to my medical appointments. This (funding) is going to completely change my life. It’s like a window has been opened for me and I have hope again. I will never, ever forget this,” she continues.
Kimberley will be formally recognized at March of Dimes Canada’s annual Rock for Dimes fundraiser, taking place on November 14, 2014 at the Cunard Centre. Rock for Dimes is a battle of the bands fundraiser, being held for the ninth year in Halifax. More information can be found at

“We are very excited to help Kimberley acquire this retrofit that will make her life a little easier and help her get back to the job she loves so much,” says Mary Lynne Stewart, Director of Fund Development and Communications for March of Dimes Canada. “We thank our Istvan and Barbara Haas Vehicle Retrofit Initiative volunteer committee members who were tasked with this very difficult decision for all their help and support.”

Lawtons and Vantage Mobility of Halifax, Nova Scotia will be providing the retrofit.

Through a series of competitions across Canada, the Istvan and Barbara Haas fund will grant between $10,000 - $15,000 to successful candidates, depending on region and need, towards recreational devices or vehicle retrofits. Funding comes from the estate of the late John Haas, who designated that funds be allocated to the acquisition of assistive devices, or vehicle retrofits for people whose needs are both physical and financial, and that the fund would be in memory of his late parents who were Holocaust survivors.
Whenever possible, the candidate(s) will be recognized at a Rock for Dimes fundraiser in his/her province.​

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