March is Easter Seals Month, the beginning of Easter Seals Ontario’s annual fundraising and awareness campaign for kids with physical disabilities. The campaign’s primary goal is to generate an increased understanding of the ongoing issues and needs of children with physical disabilities and raise much-needed funds to support the organization’s programs and services.
“Unfortunately, we do not live in a fully accessible world. Children with physical disabilities face challenges on a daily basis that can exclude them from every day life and hinder their ability to socialize and participate in activities like other kids,” said Carol Lloyd, President and CEO, Easter Seals Ontario. “This lack of integration often leads to feelings of social isolation and low self-esteem among these young people.”
Initiatives like the Easter Seals’ financial assistance program helps children acquire the equipment they need so they can be mobile and achieve greater independence. “A wheelchair can enable a child to go to school in their community while a walker can mean a child can play in their neighbourhood park. Having the right accessibility equipment benefits both children and parents.”
Expecting their second child, Fabiana and Stelios Nikolakakis, hoped for a healthy baby. Unfortunately, their son, Gabriel was born dangerously premature and a year later was diagnosed with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. Without their specialized bath chair, it took more than one person to bathe Gabriel, a task that “became a nightmare,” said Fabiana. “With Easter Seals’ help we were able to purchase a bath chair and now we can laugh and play with Gabriel.”
For this family, the support they received from Easter Seals Ontario made all the difference in the world. Fabiana added, “It was more than just the equipment. I felt gratitude for an organization that cares deeply about other families. Easter Seals helped alleviate a lot of the emotional and physical stress my family was going through.”
Easter Seals also owns and operates two fully accessible summer camps with programs that offer kids with physical disabilities the opportunity to participate in thrilling activities, make new friends and enjoy fun and freedom just like other kids.
March is Easter Seals Month marks the beginning of Easter Seals’ annual campaign efforts in communities across the province, including:
• The annual Easter Seals direct mail campaign, containing the traditional Easter “seals”, will arrive in homes across the province during the first two weeks of March. This annual campaign continues to be one of the organization’s largest fundraising initiatives.
• Local TD branches will be running their TD Change for Change fundraiser until March 7th. Bring in your spare change for change in the lives of Easter Seals kids.
• The local broadcast of the annual Easter Seals Telethon will air on Sunday, March 29, from 12 noon to 7:00 p.m. on Shaw, cable channel 10. For more information, visit http://eastersealstelethon.org/ssm/
For more than 90 years, Easter Seals has played an important role in providing support for children and youth with physical disabilities from all ethnic and religious backgrounds. Thanks to its generous donors, Easter Seals continues to offer programs to allow kids to experience freedom, independence and a sense of accomplishment. Easter Seals helps by providing financial assistance for mobility equipment, communication devices and fully accessible summer camp opportunities at its two properties, Camp Merrywood and Camp Woodeden. Easter Seals relies solely on the generosity of donations from the public to be able to offer its programs and services. For more information, visit www.easterseals.org.