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N.S. college students build ramp for man battling Huntington’s disease


The students at Nova Scotia Community College were seen meticulously measuring and securing the final bolts to a ramp outside a Halifax home on Wednesday.

The ramp is for Brad Carmichael, who lives with Huntington’s disease. It’s a progressive brain disorder that affects movement, mood and thinking skills.

“All of a sudden, it was for a purpose and it was going to mean something, and it just made the project that much more,” said NSCC instructor Josh Boulton. “It made you want to work harder and do a good job for that reason.”

Over the past several months, Brad has faced increased difficulties with his mobility.

“Everyone comes to a point in their life where gravity is the bane of their existence,” he said.

Brad and his mother, Peggy, were signing medical discharge papers from the Canadian Military when his former combat engineer regiment asked if there was anything they could help with.

Peggy asked to help replace the set of steps outside their home which caused injuries and other accessibility issues that prevented Brad from leaving his home.

Brad’s former combat engineer regiment reached out to NSCC with the request in May.

Not too long after, the college connected with the Carmichaels and they began building a month later.

“There were four of us here and we’ve been here for six weeks,” said Boulton.

With the new ramp, Peggy said this will change how often Brad will be able to leave the house.

“Instead of just taking him out for special occasions, or when it’s a big deal, we can take him for walks and go out for more outings,” she said.

“And enjoy it on every occasion,” added Brad.

After weeks of anticipation, the Carmichaels say they are extremely excited by the final product.

“(It) makes life so much easier,” exclaimed Peggy as she pushed Brad’s chair through the ramp.

Boulton said it has been a significant build for his students.

“It was a chance to do something that really has meaning and value. You’re building something that you can walk away and be proud of and years down the road say, ‘I built that.’”

As for Brad, he is already planning out his days thanks to the ramp.

“I’ll be poolside!” he exclaimed.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories

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