Eighteen-year-old Ryan Sasseville had dreams of excelling on Northern snowmobile race circuits. But on Christmas Eve in 2013, one accident changed all of that.
After trying a jump Ryan realized his snowmobile was not going to land properly, so he jumped off. Ryan actually landed on his feet, but then fell onto his back and didn’t get up.
The impact caused Ryan’s back and spinal cord to compress and then shatter.
He spent the next 10 days motionless in a bed at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto, where he underwent intensive reconstructive back surgery.
Ryan no longer has any mobility in his legs and uses a wheelchair to get around.
Once he was back at home, Ryan committed himself to helping people with physical disabilities. Earlier this year he raised over $10,000 for Easter Seals’ 41st Snowarama in Timmins. The event brings snowmobilers together to raise funds for vital mobility equipment such as walkers, wheelchairs and communication devices as well as opportunities for kids to attend Easter Seals camp.
“Anything to help is just awesome,” said Sasseville. “That was how I looked at it before, and now I see all the expenses in the healthcare field. It’s crazy – just my wheelchair, it’s a $12,000 wheelchair. Anything I can do to help out other families and help children make the most of life is awesome.
Before his accident Ryan had participated and donated in Easter Seals’ Snowarama for years. Now, for Ryan, Easter Seals hits even closer to home.
“After being in the hospital, I didn’t really know what the future held,” said Sasseville. “I didn’t even know I’d be able to drive a truck, but that’s my truck out there (in the driveway). It’s totally customized for me and I can drive around whenever I want. The fundraising, that’s what makes me be able to do all this stuff anyone else can do.”