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It’s been 16 years since a moment changed Sean Crump’s life.

“I broke my neck in 2004. I went camping with friends and ran into the water. I did a dolphin dive and there was a sand bar and I hit the sand bar.

“I was 19 so you get used to who you are,” Crump said.

“You feel good about yourself, you break your neck and you have a whole new skin to get used to.”

But the Calgary businessman made his personal journey his life’s work. He wanted to inspire people to change their own perception of people with disabilities.

“That was something eye-opening – people who knew my life, they had a life plan or an awareness of me, and after I broke my neck it changed dramatically and I don’t know it should be,” Crump said .

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About four years ago, Crump started a Universal Access company. It helps companies create spaces without barriers and shows them ways to improve equal access.

“I don’t have the spontaneity anymore to just get up and go somewhere … Now I have to call ahead and make sure it’s accessible.

“That seemed unfair and unreasonable and thought there had to be a better way,” said Crump.

He advises companies and grants them certifications depending on their inclusiveness.

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“The first is the environment: the barriers that physically prevent people from engaging safely,” Crump said. “To know that they have access to rooms and that they won’t be turned away or feel like they don’t belong.”

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Crump had a meaningful interaction with Ben Leon, who owns the Dandy Brewing Company. It was a single conversation that inspired the redesign of his new Ramsey location.

“I had very little understanding of what designing an accessible space was like,” said Leon.

Ben Leon, Dandy Brewing Company.

Ben Leon, Dandy Brewing Company.

Jill Croteau / Global News

“When I first met Sean, he was blunt, but positive and friendly,” said Leon.

“He broke my onion because I was blind to creating an accessible place.”

Beer glass at the Dandy Brewing Company.

Beer glass at the Dandy Brewing Company.

Jill Croteau / Global News

“I offered him a beer and he said, ‘Everything with one handle. ‘I thought he was joking or grinding my gears about the fancy glasses and he said, “No, I have to drink from a handled mug,” and that’s accessibility.

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“From that point on, the lightbulbs kept going out to make people more aware.”

The two made a plan to change the layout of the restaurant and make small changes.

“After this meeting it was child’s play and we designed our entire restaurant so that accessibility is a priority,” said Leon.

Marlin Styner Achievement Award.

Marlin Styner Achievement Award.

Jill Croteau / Global Calgary

Crump is humble to receive the Marlin Styner Achievement Award.

Every year on December 3rd, the Alberta Prime Minister’s Council on the Status of People with Disabilities presents this tremendous achievement by an outstanding person.

“I don’t know if I should be singled out – there are many people doing things to improve this narrative – and I am honored to receive it and hope that I can live up to what it represents, and continue to do what we do. ” Said Crump.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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