Passionate local voice for accessibility, disabled goes silent

by Keith Corcoran

  • <p>FILE PHOTO</p><p>Alex Peeler, pictured in 2016, died July 6.</p>

A significant local voice for the disabled, who passionately promoted accessibility and inclusion, has sadly gone silent.

Alexander Eugene (Alex) Peeler, 27, of Conquerall Bank, died July 6. Peeler lived with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a disorder that steadily weakens a person's muscles as they age. Those with DMD can't produce the muscle protein called dystrophin, causing muscle cells to weaken and gradually break down.

Several agencies, touched by Peeler's contributions, went public with expressions of sympathy.

Peeler was Bridgewater's event's coordinator at the time of his death. He had helped organize Christmas, Canada Day activities and music concert series' over the last year in town. The flag at Pleasant Street town hall is lowered to half-staff in Peeler's memory.

"Alex was an inherently positive person, caring, and wise beyond his years. His energy and enthusiasm for our community constantly inspired the staff and committee volunteers with whom he worked," the town said in July 7 social media post.

"He will be deeply missed and our thoughts are with his parents, Brian and Shelley, and his entire family during this incredibly difficult time."

The Nova Scotia League for Equal Opportunities, a provincial organization advocating for persons with disabilities, also expressed sadness. Peeler served as the group's chairman since 2018.

"In addition to pursuing his videographer dream, Alex was also serving on Nova Scotia's Accessibility Directorate's Advisory Council and the Council of Canadians with Disabilities," the group said in a social media post in response to Peeler's passing. "Our hearts go out to Alex's family, friends, and colleagues during this most difficult time."

Easter Seals Nova Scotia, another group that backs persons with disabilities and supports inclusion, also offered condolences.

"Alex was a frequent camper of Camp Tidnish and was a fierce advocate for the disability community," the organization said on social media. "Our deepest sympathies to Alex's family and friends."

Peeler also founded a social media company that championed similar causes, Squeaky Wheel Productions, which came into being in 2016.

His digital media talents offered an avenue for stories about individuals overcoming adversity.

"It is through activities like these that we will continually strive to make the world a better place now and in the future," reads information on Peeler's online site.

Peeler spoke to LighthouseNOW at different times over the years about his DMD and issues surrounding mobility.

"It's hard to do things and some things you get tired quickly," he said during an interview in 2007, when he was 15 years old. "Sometimes I get tired after a day of doing stuff, and really basic stuff, too."

Peeler participated in LighthouseNOW's 2016 series of stories about housing.

"It's great to have a home that's accessible for you, but I mean, if you don't have access to the appropriate amenities or they're not accessible then that can cause some issues," he said at the time.

"Accessibility is accessibility, whether it's your house or the local community, it's about eliminating barriers," said Peeler.

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