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‘Definitely a life changer’: Concrete path donated for eight-year-old in a wheelchair

Traversing the gravel driveway in front of Ethan Shannon’s Sunshine Coast home used to come with the risk of getting stuck in the soft terrain. Now, thanks to two local businesses, the eight-year-old got a new breath of independence

It’s the greatest gift eight-year-old Ethan Shannon could have imagined (aside from a trip to Disneyland): Independence.

And a newly donated concrete path offers the Halfmoon Bay resident just that. 

Ethan uses a powerful motorized scooter that weighs hundreds of pounds. In softer terrain, the wheels can spin out and the wheelchair gets stuck. 

“There's been a few times like that,” said Ethan’s mother, May Shannon. 

The Shannons moved from Victoria to May’s childhood home back in 2018, but the home had a gravel driveway and soft path leading to the house.

At least once, Ethan got stuck in the gravel and May – pregnant at the time – couldn’t get the wheelchair unstuck. Luckily, Scott Shannon (Ethan’s dad, May’s husband) was only 15 minutes away, but after that, Ethan would only venture up the driveway when his father was home. 

Though the Shannons had looked into paving the driveway and path to the house, they didn’t have the funds for such an endeavour. They and a family friend, Clayton Klein, were trying to think up affordable ways to make the route accessible for Ethan and the Klein ended up approaching Swanson’s Concrete. 

“They were very generous and said that they would be happy to gift him a path,” said May.

Then, one day in late March, Sunshine Coast businesses Swanson’s Concrete and Denis Turenne Concrete showed up and said they’d do the paving that day.

“Ethan was very happy. He was watching them build it the whole time,” said May.

And the first time Ethan drove up the path, he yelled out “I am invincible!” 

Now, Ethan has the freedom to get from the front door all the way to the road. “Which actually means we’ve got to be more on our toes and make sure we chase after him very fast,” said May. 

May was grateful for the community generosity. “We're very lucky to be in a community like this. There are some things that the city can offer, in terms of programs and accessibility, that we might not have here. But the sense of community has been huge for us. 

“We've been lucky to be supported by such great family and friends.

“It's made a huge difference in Ethan's daily life to be able to know that he can access our neighbourhood so easily.

“It's definitely a life-changer.”