BC SCI Network Member, Musician, Digital Jumpstart Program Recipient
“I want people to realize if I can do it, anybody can do it.”
Jaycee is a talented musician based out of Agassiz. She plays with the Vancouver Adapted Music Society (new window), one of six societies supported by the Disability Foundation (new window). Music played a big part in her recovery from surgery to remove a brain tumour.
“Because I wanted to speak properly and use my hands, I took a guitar I hadn’t touched in literally decades, 35 years or better,” she explains, noting that she had to re-learn the songs with a lot of patience. She has undergone many amputations on her leg and has worn a prosthetic leg since she was 19 years old. As a result of the brain tumour, Jaycee now needs to use a wheelchair. She lives with her service dog, Faith.
Jaycee wanted to find part-time work and felt she needed to improve her computer skills. Having previously participated in Neil Squire’s programs, she reached out and enrolled in the Digital Jumpstart program. She started lessons with program coordinator Gordon Watt, learning how to use Microsoft Word, Excel, and how to organize her files so her desktop didn’t get so cluttered and she could find them. She also learned how to be more aware of scams and ransomware.
Through the program, she received a wireless keyboard and mouse, a device that brightens her keyboard to make it easier to see, and a headset. With the confidence gained from her lessons, she was able to hook up the keyboard and mouse by herself.
“It was so simple,” she explains. “But there was a time I would have never touched that, I would have phoned a tech guy up and paid him to come to the house to do that.”
When Jaycee found that typing was hurting her hands and making it hard for her to play guitar afterward, Gordon introduced her to Dragon Professional Individual, allowing her to talk into her computer to create text instead of typing. She now even uses it to write songs on the computer. “[Gordon] was so patient with me,” Jaycee shares. “He was such a great teacher that he was smart enough to know I was interested in music, and he would say, think about it like you were doing a song. He was able to reach me where most people [can’t]. I was really impressed.”
Thanks to her time in Digital Jumpstart, Jaycee is no longer “afraid” of her computer and feels comfortable using it for a variety of tasks. She looks forward to finding part-time work, and is interested in volunteering with Makers Making Change (new window).
“I want people to realize if I can do it, anybody can do it,” she says of Digital Jumpstart. “[Neil Squire] helped me beyond what I thought. They actually have me thinking my goals might be possible. And that’s a big plus for me.”
By working collaboratively, sharing resources, knowledge, and infrastructure, the BC Spinal Cord Injury Network helps make BC the best place for people with physical disabilities to live, work, and be active.
The network is comprised of the following organizations: BC Wheelchair Basketball Society (new window), BC Wheelchair Sports Association (new window), Disability Foundation (new window), Neil Squire, and Spinal Cord Injury BC (new window).
This post originally appeared on the Spinal Cord Injury BC (new window) website.