By Kristian Rasmussen
The smallest people can sometimes make the biggest difference. Kingston Peters, from Radium Hot Springs, will be doing just that as the Rick Hansen Relay passes through town on April 13th.
Kingston, who doesn’t have use of his legs, will be celebrating his fifth birthday and participating in the Radium section of the Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay at the same time.
Robyn Peters, Kingston’s father, is hoping that his son’s participation in the event will help bring awareness to those living with disabilities.
“I hope that people keep an eye out and realize that there are disabled people in the community,” he said. “They may need a certain amount of assistance from time to time. Don’t be afraid to lend a hand or help out.”
After moving to Radium from Calgary last year, Mr. Peters found his son excell in the small-town environment.
“If anything, he has a lot more opportunities to be in his wheelchair here. Being his age, he never went outside that much [in Calgary]. He didn’t have the physical power to get himself around that much until we moved here.”
But despite this greater level of mobility, Kingston still faces challenges.
“You run into some problems going into businesses and with staircases, but you have to expect that,” Mr. Peters said. “He’s in a smaller wheelchair so it doesn’t matter where you are, or what you’re doing, it’s going to be more difficult.”
“I’m almost in a big wheelchair,” Kingston piped in. The soon to be five-year-old will face another set of challenges as he grows up.
“When he wants to go shopping and getting into stores, the entrance ways are going to be an issue,” Mr. Peters explained.
With Kingston’s world changing as he grows up, Mr. Peters has also noticed a change in global attitudes towards disability,
“I think on a whole society has changed. Everybody kind of all comes together for the handicapped and people with special needs. As long as things don’t stop progressing, and we keep moving a step forward all the time, there will be no issues.”
The Peters are not fazed by the challenges of limited mobility.
“He’s my first child. I don’t know any different, just like he doesn’t know any different,” Mr. Peters said.
The family has used their pioneering attitude to flourish in Radium. The Peters run Flathead Tattoo there, and are becoming well-known faces in the community.
Editor’s note: The A.C.E. Committee would like to inform attendees that Rick Hansen himself will not be at the 25th Anniversary Relay.