Our history

A young man named Samuel Fleurent Beauchemin who wanted to help his older brother Guillaume who suffered from Duchenne muscular dystrophy founded Le Pont vers l’autonomie foundation in june 2013. Guillaume was born with this disease and it hindered his abilitity to perform daily tasks, forcing him to ask for help to do simple things like pouring himself a glass of juice.

At the age of 8, Samuel was taking care of Guillaume who had completely lost his mobility. Becoming a prisoner of his own body, Guillaume was more dependent than ever and could not live a normal life. “I was always there to provide him with the best quality of life possible,” remembers Samuel. One day, while going to the hospital for a regular check up, Guillaume discovered the existence of a robotic arm that could help him to do all the little daily tasks that he was not able to do by himself.

The robotic arm, Jaco, created and built by Kinova and costing 40 000$ represented the first step for Guillaume towards better living conditions. Guillaume's health condition was deteriorating and Quebec health insurance could not cover the cost of a robotic arm. Samuel started to raise money to buy Jaco for Guillaume so he could benefit from a little more autonomy while fighting his degenerative disease.

In February of 2013, after 8 months of fundraising, Guillaume finally got his Jaco. Tragically, after all this hard work, he could not benefit from this newfound autonomy as Guillaume died a mere 2 weeks later. In December of 2014, the foundation gave Guillaume’s robotic arm to a thirteen-year-old boy that also suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy. It was the best Christmas gift he could have ever dreamed of.

Presently, the foundation allows 3 people to use Kinova robotic arms. We are constantly organizing fundraising activities in Quebec in order to respond to the high demand of robotic arms from people living with severe mobility limitations.

Our mission

Our mission is to improve and enhance the quality of life of people affected by severe mobility limitations in Canada.

We are giving them back self control and autonomy while allowing them to independently complete daily tasks. This also offers an immediate relief to the burden on their families.

Our foundation is unique. We are the only organization in Canada providing care and support to people suffering from severe mobility problems by providing a robotic arm loan service. With Jaco, the difference is dramatic: it helps them become more autonomous and independent even if they spend most of their time in a wheelchair.

The foundation's robotic arm loan service is completely free of charge. There is no comparable service in Canada. The robotic arm is installed on the wheelchair and can be controlled by a joystick. It allows the manipulation of certain objects that have been previously out of reach, giving back confidence and partial autonomy to the affected person.

What is a motricity deficiency?

Motricity deficiency is a loss, a malformation of skeletal muscular or neurological systems responsible of the body motricity. This deficiency is present when it is diagnosed permanently and when it provokes important limitations in daily life.

Common deficiencies:

  • Paralysis
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Neuro muscular disease
  • Muscular dysthrophy
  • Spinal muscular athrophy
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Tetraplegia
  • Ataxy
  • Head trauma
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • And much more other types

In Canada, nearly three million people are affected by motor disabilities. Of these, 30 000 people would greatly improve their living conditions if there were equipped with a robotic arm such as Jaco.

In Quebec, nearly one million people are affected by motor disabilities. Of these, 10 000 people would greatly improve their living conditions if there were equipped with a robotic arm such as Jaco.

Type of disability for adults and children with disabilities by sex, Canada, 2006

Who can ask for help?

Children and adults affected with particular diseases causing major physical limitations in Quebec such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy or quadriplegia.

Jaco: allowing your world to always be within your grasp

Jaco was designed to be easy to use by individuals whose spirit is restrained by significant physical limitations.

With Jaco, you can pick up objects from off the floor, reach into an over-counter cabinet to retrieve or store items, open doors & drawers, and hold objects for use or viewing.

In engineering terms, every joint and every motor on Jaco is considered one degree of freedom. In total, it has 6 degrees of freedom. The robotic arm gives the possibility to people to be able to complete very simple things that would be impossible otherwise such as drinking coffee, opening doors and shutting off the lights.

More information on Jaco:

  • Light weight (12 pounds 9 ounces)
  • Water resistant
  • Extremely durable
  • Controlled with a joystick to allow you to drink, eat, opens doors or pick things off the floor without assistance
  • Built with 4 modes of operations: horizontal mode, vertical mode, wrist rotation, wrist articulation and Grasp and pin functions

Jaco is easy to use and allows people living with a severe mobility limitations to be more independent, safer and more confident in completing their daily tasks.

The impact of our work in their lives

  • Best suitable environment
  • Increase the period of time without daily assistance
  • Significant decrease of unmet needs
  • Immediate relief for the family
  • Independent mobility
  • They can serve themselves a drink!
  • Provide more confidence and security
  • Provide a safer environment
  • Bring hope and a better quality of life

Our clientele

The foundation is currently providing 3 Jaco robotic arms:

  • To one lady in Trois-Rivières affected with type 3 spinal amyotrophy
  • To a 13 year old boy from Bois-Francs region affected with Duchenne muscular dystrophy
  • To a 24 year old man from Sherbrooke affected with Duchenne muscular dystrophy

By offering therapeutical services to families and caregivers we give them the opportunity to:

  • Have access to adequate services
  • Prevent exhaustion
  • Help them accept and live with those losing autonomy
  • Enhance the quality of life of caregivers

To achieve its mission, Le pont vers l’autonomie foundation has set specific action priorities: to promote more autonomy for people deprived of motricity living in Quebec:

  • 1: people living in a vulnerable situation and in dangerous conditions.
  • 2: people living with limitations to which Jaco can answer can improve their work efficacy.
  • 3: In an education environment, students affected by a severe disease can find hope, facilitate their integration with school, improve their academic and professional paths and prevent school dropout.

People that benefit from our help need to show motivation and determination to fight against their handicap.

Greatest accomplishments to this day:

Our foundation has completely changed the daily life of three families through the acquisition of their robotic arms.

The director of the foundation is a University winner in the category of Mutual Aid, Peace and Justice at the 16th edition of the prestigious competition “Forces Avenir” of the University of Montreal.

With the help of young, motivated students and valued volunteers, we have accumulated more than 6000 thousands hours of volunteering. The foundation has grown at this speed through innovation and determination!

Make a donation today

We currently have 30 applications submitted for robotic arms around the province of Quebec. These people need our help. We need your help! Help us to give them more freedom in their daily life and to provide them with security and support.

Help us to build the bridge towards autonomy and make a donation today!

English web site under construction.