Central Alberta United Way CEO Brett Speight, presenting award to Carla Riley-Sloan. (Contributed photo).

Disabled Red Deer woman gives back, helping charities that assisted her

Carla Riley-Sloan awarded for volunteerism by the United Way

Carla Riley-Sloan lost vision in one eye and sustained brain damage when she was broadsided by a vehicle in 2004.

Although she can’t drive, suffers from memory loss and balance issues, she hasn’t let the challenges she faces daily stop her from volunteering in the community.

Riley-Sloan, who rarely goes anywhere without her service St. Bernard dog, Benjamin, was recently awarded for nearly a decade of volunteerism with the United Way.

While honoured, she was surprised to receive the framed certificate, saying “I volunteer because it’s the proper thing to do.”

The Red Deer woman explained she wanted to give to some of the groups that have assisted her over the years, including the CNIB, Canadian Mental Health Association, Central Alberta Brain Injury Society and Catholic Social Services.

“I received a lot of help through some of the organizations the United Way supports, and I want to give back.”

On June 17, 2004, Carla Schneider was making her last delivery of the day for an automotive paint supplier. While turning left, her pickup truck was T-boned by a vehicle that was speeding through a red light on 67th Street.

She doesn’t remember the crash. “All I know is that I went to bed ‘normal’ one night and woke up in hospital three weeks later — and all of a sudden, I wasn’t ‘normal’ anymore.”

Riley-Sloan suffered spinal trauma and — by the time she was extricated from her vehicle by the Jaws of Life — she’d inhaled vaporized automotive paint, resulting in toluene poisoning and scarring to her lungs.

She can now has difficulty focusing on printed words, and must jot things down because of memory issues. But with initial assistance from STARS and then several United Way agencies, Riley-Sloan was able to re-build her life.

While she gets by on a disability pension because “it takes me too long to learn new things,”she volunteers with filing at a local business to maintain her mental skills. And Riley-Sloan voluntarily speaks on behalf of the United Way to help sponsors understand that their contributions matter.

“She works for us tirelessly… She always accepts when we ask her to do something. She’s just amazing,” said Christine Curtis, community impact co-ordinator for the United Way.

Riley-Sloan hopes to inspire more Central Albertans to volunteer: “If my story can help someone else decide to volunteer, then it’s so worth it.”



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Trump-Putin summit opens without talk of election meddling

HELSINKI — With a wink and a slouch, respectively, President Donald Trump… Continue reading

Ultra-light helicopter pilot killed in crash near High River

Police say the pilot of an ultra-light helicopter is dead after crashing… Continue reading

Heat warning in effect for Central Alberta

Environment Canada has issued a heat warning for Central Alberta. Residents in… Continue reading

Westerner Days parade set for Wednesday in downtown Red Deer

Over 30,000 people are expected to line up the streets of downtown… Continue reading

Storm rips through Central Alberta

Hail pelts region causing damage to farmland, plus communities in Ponoka, Bashaw and Stettler

CFIA inspects after video shows pigs crammed into B.C. transport truck

The video shows pigs piled on top of one another in a transport truck on a “sweltering” hot day last week

Croatia gears up to give heroes’ welcome to World Cup team

ZAGREB, Croatia — Fans are pouring in from throughout the country as… Continue reading

Statelessness a hurdle for some rescued Thai boy

MAE SAI, Thailand — The 12 boys and coach of the Wild… Continue reading

Lobbying commissioner rejects complaints against firearms panel member

OTTAWA — A federal watchdog has dismissed complaints that a mass-shooting survivor… Continue reading

CREA reports June home sales down 10.7% from year ago, but up from May

OTTAWA — The Canadian Real Estate Association says the number of homes… Continue reading

Red Deer Royals place second at Calgary Stampede parade

Royals depicted life in forest and portrayed destruction by human beings

Muslim candidates running in record numbers face backlash

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — A liberal woman of colour with zero name recognition… Continue reading

Former UK Cabinet secretary seeks new Brexit referendum

LONDON — A former U.K. Cabinet minister from the ruling Conservative Party… Continue reading

Man killed by Chicago police ran away, reached for waist

CHICAGO — A man killed by Chicago police had a gun in… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month