Two Side Stix users stand atop a mountain. Components from the specialized crutches were manufactured at Foreman Machining in Sidney. (Side Stix photo)

Sidney-built crutches help disabled adventurers conquer the world

Sidney company manufactures specialized parts for an inspirational American’s crutch firm

Crutches that were partially made in Sidney have helped users reach the top of Mount Kilimanjaro and the icy tundra of Antarctica.

Side Stix was founded by American Sarah Doherty in 2003, who lost a leg in a car accident when she was a child. She is a former U.S. Alpine Skiing paralympian who got frustrated with traditional crutches, as she found them too fragile and clunky for her active lifestyle. Together with her partner, Kerrith Perreur-Lloyd, she set out to develop durable crutches for active people.

ALSO READ: Victoria Disability Resource Centre helps people find jobs

The company’s customers have amassed a litany of achievements, from off-road triathlons in Hawaii to disabled soldiers ascending mountains in Peru and Nepal. Perhaps their most popular ambassador is Nicolai Calabria, a young man who enjoys parkour and plays in a soccer team.

Whenever a pair of crutches is shipped to a new place around the world, a little piece of Sidney goes with them, as up to 75 per cent of the specialized crutch components are manufactured on the Saanich Peninsula.

Chris Foreman, owner of Foreman CNC Machining Ltd in Sidney, was tasked with developing and then making a better crutch.

“Originally the handles were one piece – formed (bent to that angle) and then welded on. But that is a critical flaw, and is in almost every other type of crutch design and that’s why they fail,” he said of the early challenges.

“The heat affected zone from the welding changes the mechanical properties of the material and creates a stress fracture. So we decided to use technology how aircraft are built, so the pieces are technically fixed and bonded.”

Foreman and his team produce a wide variety of industrial products from their Sidney workshops, and they brought their technical know-how to this project.

Apart from being able to change the crutches’ cosmetic look with wraps and colours, they also come with more practical accessories, such as snow and sand baskets, which allow users to operate on difficult terrain.

ALSO READ: Feds sued for short-changing disabled veterans and alleged cover-up

Side Stix’s website has testimonials from customers happy with Doherty’s invention and Foreman’s work. Canadian, Capt. Kim Fawcett wrote, “Hi Sarah, Just wanted to tell you that I placed third at the World Championships last weekend. My Stix worked great and I can’t thank you enough.”

Just Posted

Stories from the old Edge dairy farm on Panama Flats

Emily Carr once offered a painting to pay her dairy tab

Runners invited to get set for the 40th annual Goodlife Marathon

More than 9,000 runners expected to pack Victoria streets in October

Noted playwright and Theatre SKAM team up on latest production

Charles Tidler interprets dozens of urban interactions in Victoria with 7eventy 7even

Moose Hide campaign takes message to Canadian schools

Campaign launches new K-12 education platform

Fire destroys South Island Concrete building in Sooke

No injuries resulted from large structure fire

VIDEO: Thousands enjoy Family Day fun in Saanich

Cedar Hill Recreation and Arts Centre hosts Family Arts Festival

Lost a ring? This B.C. man will find it for you

Chris Turner founded The Ring Finders, an international directory of metal detector hobbyists

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

Steelhead LNG stops work on Kwispaa LNG project near Bamfield

Huu-ay-aht First Nations ‘deeply disappointed; Steelhead says funding is the problem

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

‘Violent’ B.C. man wanted on Canada-wide warrant

Prince George man with ties to Vernon sought by police

Homicide police investigate assault turned deadly in Surrey

60-year-old man died at hospital after assault

Most Read