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.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Olympic ski run designer creates upgrades at Canyon Ski Resort

Jeff Ihaksi says free-style and alpine ski venues are Canada Winter Games-worthy

Updated: Collision expert backs version of crash of driver accused of manslaughter

Daniel Newsham accused of manslaughter in fatal 2016 collision

Red Deer artist highlights the dinosaur connection of Alberta birds

Jeff Powers is fascinated by winged creatures

Murder charges laid against woman from the Sunchild First Nation

The 25-year-old female victim was found dead on Dec. 12

WATCH: CP Holiday Train rolls into Lacombe

Kelly Prescott performed for hundreds of Central Albertans

McDavid, Draisaitl with three points each to lead Oiles over Flyers

Oilers 4, Flyers 1 EDMONTON — Connor McDavid had two goals and… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: How to change your beauty routine

Kim XO, lets you in on her style secrets each Fashion Friday on the Black Press Media Network

WHL’s Thunderbirds, Silvertips open to NHL joining Seattle hockey market

TORONTO — The Seattle area’s major junior hockey teams aren’t worried about… Continue reading

Canadian freestyle skier Karker excited for Dew Tour’s modified superpipe

Rachael Karker has a renewed sense of confidence heading into her second… Continue reading

CBS settled with Dushku over ‘Bull’ star’s sexual comments

LOS ANGELES — CBS reached a $9.5 million confidential settlement last year… Continue reading

Kanye reignites Drake feud on Twitter, alleges threats

LOS ANGELES — Kanye West is not sending Christmas cheer to Drake.… Continue reading

Councillors in Toronto, Ottawa vote to allow retail cannabis stores

TORONTO — Councillors in Toronto have voted to allow retail pot shops… Continue reading

Most Read