Monday, March 17, 2014

Turning Point: by Nathan Chaulk

I am excited to extend my blog today to share a piece of writing from a different perspective.  I often write about my own thoughts and feelings about raising a child with special needs, and I have created the 'Tulip Tales' series, where other parents of children with special needs share their stories and experiences.  This will be my first time sharing something from the point of view of an individual with a disability, and it is an absolute privilege.

Nathan Chaulk is a thirteen year old boy with cerebral palsy.  He wrote this essay for his Grade 7 English class.  Each student was asked to write about a turning point in their lives, and Nathan chose to write about his 'Dream'.  Nathan dictated his essay into an app on his iPad, and his mother typed it for him.  His Mom says, "It is amazing to watch him formulate such wonderful ideas and then use technology to assist him.  This truly was an amazing day.  We are forever changed by our experience with the Sunshine Foundation and the generous volunteers that made Nathan's dream come true."


Turning Point Essay

by: Nathan Chaulk

My turning point was when I received a heated swimming pool as my dream through the Sunshine Foundation of Canada.  At first, the Sunshine Foundation did not know if my dream would be possible because it was too expensive.  The pool, the heater, the decking and the ramp cost more than the foundation could cover.  My family and I were very doubtful that the pool dream would be possible.  My Dad encouraged me to think of other ideas.  However, before I knew it, word spread throughout my community and volunteers came forward to help make my dream a reality.  
My dream was made possible because of many volunteers.  One of the volunteers was an actual carpenter and he led the group of men to build the deck and ramp.  The Sunshine Foundation agreed to provide for the pool and the heater and my parents provided the wood.  The group of volunteers built the deck.  They made the deck big enough for my power wheelchair.  The pool is 18 feet in diameter and it is 4 feet deep.  
The company that installed the pool dropped off water vats to my house one evening.  That made it seem very real.  I was so excited that I was jumping up and down in my chair.  The cost of filling the entire pool was $2000.00.  Once the word spread about this extra cost, the local fire department came to the rescue.  They filled my pool by using the pumper truck.  As they volunteered to fill the pool they were getting some training in how to hook up the hoses to the fire hydrants.  Also, the police department donated the wood for the ramp.  In one day a group of volunteers came together to make my dream a reality.  They built the deck and filled the pool on Saturday and then they built the ramp on Sunday.
Through this experience I have made many new friends.  The volunteers who came together that weekend are now a special part of my life.  We love to get together with them.  For example, my family organized a Christmas party for all the people who helped with my dream.  This special group of people is now a very important part of my life.
I love to swim.  I feel so free when I am in the water.  I can walk and move freely.  I am also a very good swimmer.  The coach from the Paralympic swim team saw me swimming this year and she thinks that I have the potential to go to the Canada Games as a swimmer.  My pool will allow me to practice my skills while I have fun.
In conclusion, my turning point was about more than a pool, it was about the kindness of others towards me.  



Thank you, Nathan for writing this essay and thank you for your willingness to share.  There is certainly a lot we can all learn from your experience.  From the gift of kindness that you received, to the true sense of community that was created around you, it is a wonderful story and a beautiful message.

I hope that you enjoy your pool, and that many happy memories are made there!


The Sunshine Foundation is a national Canadian charity that provides individual dreams to children with severe physical disabilities as well as life-threatening illnesses. The positive impact that they have on the lives of these children and their families is immeasurable. 
In a word, they are awesome.  Seriously, awesome.


  1. That's amazing, what a wonderful thing to read.

    1. Thank you, Katie! I was so happy to be able to share Nathan's story.
      Please continue to follow my blog for more inspiring stories like this one!