Former B.C. firefighter turned actor hoping for a new wheelchair
VANCOUVER -- Mark Stockbrocks always dreamed of becoming a firefighter. He trained hard and got in shape. But just two weeks before starting his new career, at the age of 31, he had a stroke.
After coming out of a coma, Stockbrocks discovered he was now a triplegic: paralysed in three limbs.
“I still have one arm that’s functional, so that really is my saving grace, plus I can speak,” Stockbrocks said in an interview with CTV News Vancouver. “I was told by doctors that it was impossible to walk again but I tried my best for about 5 or 6 years.”
Those efforts were to no avail. Stockbrocks is now bound to his wheelchair, but determined to continue living his life to the fullest. He’s an advocate for accessibility, starting a movement called Access Stickers to highlight whether businesses need to improve. He’s also an actor.
“I’ve done a lot of background and recently, with a collaboration with a couple other actors, we did a short film where I played a security guard in a wheelchair, of all things,” he said.
The next project he’s working on is a wheelchair adventure show. Stockbrocks can speak at least eight languages and wants to show his mobility won’t hold him back.
“The idea is to have a travel show for people with physical and vision impairments, just to demonstrate you can still do it if you have the right support and you do proper planning,” he said.
But right now, Stockbrocks needs a new wheelchair. At 6’4” tall, he says his current one is too small, and he feels like he’s “being squeezed.” It also breaks down often, leaving Stockbrocks bound to his bed until it can be fixed.
He’s hoping for a Permobil VS wheelchair, which allows users to be able move into an almost standing position. He’s launched a GoFundMe page in hopes of raising $40,000 to purchase it.
His other focus is improving accessibility on B.C. film sets. Stockbrocks says once the initial fundraising goal is hit, he and his agent will use any extra money to retrofit a van that can transport disabled actors.
“We’re trying to get him on sets more and more often and make them more accessible, but there’s so many wires and everything,” said Brandi England, an agent with Ignite Artists. “We want to make it accessible with a driver so any actor with Vancouver, not just with Ignite, can get a ride to set and follow their dreams.”
Stockbrocks is a firm believer in doing anything he sets his mind to.
“There really are no limitations, only the ones you set for yourself,” he said.