Bob McKay: He's limitless
Bob McKay has accomplished an amazing amount in his 27 years of age, and his ambitions are limitless. He’s a former client of ErinoakKids because he has Freeman-Sheldon syndrome, a condition that severely restricts his mobility. But anyone who thinks it restricts his accomplishments doesn’t know Bob well. When he was in kindergarten, a visiting teacher questioned his ability to be a part of the class, because of his physical limitations. His regular teacher invited that colleague to observe Bob interacting well in class. Bob has been an example of limitless abilities ever since.
In elementary school, his rich intellect and robust sense of humour informed ideas others had of what physical limitations can mean.
Throughout his secondary school years, Bob distinguished himself academically, graduating in the top two per cent from the prestigious International Business Technology program at his high school. Bob didn’t let circumstances limit him socially either. He couldn’t participate in intramural sports, but he would be the referee or wasn’t shy about getting involved in other ways. He made it a habit to help other students with their school work and was always well liked for his positive, jovial and outgoing nature. His favourite T-shirt in those days bore the slogan, “Everyone is entitled to my opinion.”
He's been part of the ErinoakKids family for most of his life - first as a client, then as a volunteer, and today as a member of our Board of Directors, which he joined in 2010.
He has coached the ErinoakKids baseball and bowling teams, served as a Goal Support Worker in the ErinoakKids Independent Living Program, delivered the keynote speech at a plenary session of the Canadian Seating and Mobility Conference, won the ErinoakKids Diana Thomson Award for a graduating high school student, and later moved onto York University where he earned an honours bachelor degree in political science and is currently in the master’s degree program at York for international relations.
During the academic year at York, Bob lives in residence on campus where he shares a specially-equipped suite with a roommate and receives attendant services to help him with personal care, cooking and eating. “It was a big step to independence but, as always, ErinoakKids was there,” says Bob. “Not only did they help find answers to all my questions, but they reassured me that it is possible, that I would be OK, and not to limit myself,” Bob adds.
Today Bob sees it as his responsibility to educate people about the need to look beyond a person’s disability and see the abilities and worth in a person. Bob says, “I was always told I could do anything I wanted and not to let anything hold me back. So that’s what I’ve tried to do.”