Brad and Jan Barnes had their trip to an RV show in West Virginia all planned for September 2001.
Little did they know the fateful date they had chosen would change the course of history – and their own lives so much.
Being in the United States after the worst terrorist attack in history the Barnes were enlisted for disaster relief by the International Red Cross.
They were recruited at their campsite when the disaster team was rounding the troops.
Fast forward more than a decade later and they’re retired in Prince Edward Island where they continue to help people in need, now as volunteers for the local Red Cross health equipment loan program, which is sponsored by the Government of Prince Edward Island.
The Health Equipment Loan Program (HELP), is a national program of the Canadian Red Cross that provides health equipment to individuals dealing with illness or injury.
The Prince Edward Island government has committed $200,000 to get the program off the ground here and help empower thousands of people each year to live more independently.
The Barnes are happy to be able to give their time to help.
“It doesn’t take a lot of your time and it is the right thing to do,” Jan Barnes said.
The former Ontario residents who have retired to St. Peter’s Bay spend about four hours a week doing everything from fixing and cleaning the equipment to marketing the program.
“We aren’t that far – God forbid – from needing some of that equipment,” Jan said.
The program assists seniors with mobility issues, allows people to return home from hospital earlier, and supports those in palliative care who wish to spend their final days in the comfort of their own home.
For anyone who needs medical equipment to live safely at home, the Red Cross provides aids such as:
- Bath seats and benches
- Commodes and toilet seats
- Crutches and canes
- Bed handles
- Other durable medical equipment