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A woman in wheelchair reminds community the importance of clearing sidewalks in Utah

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Layton, Utah — A woman is asking you to remember her and her community, as we continue to clear out the snow around our houses this winter.

“I’ll start going and halfway through it will just completely get stuck,” said Christiansen.

Christiansen is talking about using her wheelchair out on the sidewalks.

“There are sidewalks all over town that are just completely snowed in,” said Christiansen.

She may not have paid attention until doctors gave her a wheelchair a year ago.

She is a part-time wheelchair user. Christiansen can walk around her home but needs the wheelchair out in public to keep her safe.

Christiansen’s body doesn’t regulate body temperature or blood flow regularly, causing her to pass out.

“I was once very independent and very strong,” said Christiansen. “Then I had to sit down and tell myself, ‘That’s enough.’ That’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

It’s why Christiansen has her service dog, Danny, always with her and why clearing the sidewalks after a winter storm can make all the difference. If Christiansen gets stuck while trying to make her way into town, she can get up and push herself but sometimes ends up passing out or collapsing on the ground.

According to a Layton City spokesperson, they have an ordinance in place that requires business owners to have their walks shoveled within 12 hours of the latest snowstorm.

“It becomes really difficult, even scary and embarrassing,” said Christiansen.

She hopes others will remember those who need a clear path.

“A common courtesy from businesses, from the neighborhood, would make it just so much easier for me to feel just that one shred of self-esteem,” she said. “I guess that’s really what it is for the disabled community, that self-esteem to just be able to go to the store on your own.”

 

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