By some small miracle, Hugh Danielson and Brayden Watts stumbled upon a product that could make a difference in lives across the country.
The Red Deer residents are behind Raging Bull Medical Supplies and in the last year acquired the patent rights to sell handle extensions for wheelchairs, exclusively in Canada.
The inventors, Centicare Corporation, are from Minnesota and when Watts met them at the Mayo Clinic in the U.S., a bond formed instantly and they were able to put together a deal.
“We were going down to the Mayo Clinic and just happened to stumble across these things. We had never seen them before,” Watts recalled.
“They had a sticker on them, we talked to them and the company that made them was just outside of town. We met up with the owner and became friends almost instantly. He gave us the exclusive rights in Canada.”
The extensions attach to a wheelchair and they make physical distancing possible when transporting someone in a wheelchair. That becomes especially important in long-term care facilities, where COVID-19 is becoming more and more of an issue as the COVID-19 pandemic drives forward.
“These handles are one of the most urgent needs in these care facilities, that definitely helps in the distancing between the person being transported and the staff member pushing the chair,” Raging Bull said.
Along with being more ergonomically friendly, the new extensions also come in a foldable option, making them easier to store.
The standard model that is sold to hospitals also helps reduce theft, making the overall wheelchair more difficult to fit into a vehicle. The other model has a folding mechanism, which stores easier has just been rolled out by Raging Bull more recently. The folding handles are currently manufactured at Springer Valve and Machine in Leduc with extreme precision.
Watts said their main target had been hospitals, but since the pandemic struck in March, the visits have been few and far between in order to get the product in those facilities.
They are still marketing the product individually but said the big target is going to be when they are able to get it into health care facilities down the line.
“It’s a slow process, selling to the hospitals, there’s a lot of approval they have to get. A lot of that initial sales run, we experienced some of those sales throughout covid, even though we haven’t seen them in quite a while,” Watts explained.
“We’ve been able to kind of keep chill throughout covid, without owing the bank.”
Watts said they are trying to figure out the next steps in getting the product out into the public domain, whether it’s starting a donation page where people can buy them for elders in their family or a different strategy.
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