Having served as a local Easter Seals Ambassador in Sault Ste. Marie for the past two years, 16 year old Ben MacDonald has proven his dedication for representing kids with physical disabilities. That is why he has been selected as a 2017 Provincial Easter Seals Ambassador. Along with his female counterpart, Grace Kennedy of Caledon, Ontario, Ben will spend the year promoting the abilities and achievements of kids with physical disabilities by sharing his personal achievements at fundraising and community events.
Born with Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy, a degenerative neuromuscular condition that causes the muscles to progressively weaken, Ben uses a power wheelchair to get around. In spite of his condition, he refuses to slow down. “My condition has given me a great outlook on life and has made me even more grateful for what I do have,” says Ben.
As a 2017 Provincial Easter Seals Ambassador, Ben says that he has been “filled with an intense desire to be the voice for kids who do not have one.”
Currently in grade 11 Ben’s favourite subject is English. He lives with his parents, Heidi, Scott and 14 year old sister Meghan, and enjoys many activities including going to camp, singing, reading, writing and, like most boys his age, playing video games.
Ben’s greatest passion, other than representing Easter Seals Ontario, is writing, “Because I love committing my ideas and creative imaginings through the written word. I love describing and creatively crafting vivid and realized worlds and tales.” After graduating from high school Ben hopes to begin a career in communications, because that will allow him to further develop his writing abilities and build his speaking and presentation skills.
Last year, Ben attended Camp Woodeden for the first time and confesses that his favourite part of the camping experience was “the many friends I made and the knowledge I gained about what life was like for other kids with physical disabilities.”
Being a 2017 Provincial Easter Seals Ambassador means the world to Ben. He says, “I look forward to meeting new people and continuing to develop an understanding of physical disabilities for everyone. Being able to represent Easter Seals is an honour. Every day on this Earth is a beautiful gift.”
Each year, Easter Seals Ontario designates a girl and boy to be Provincial Easter Seals Ambassadors, a role which asks them to represent children and youth with physical disabilities across the province. As Ambassadors, they speak at public events, educate people about the work of Easter Seals and inspire other kids with physical disabilities to make themselves heard.
For the past 94 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 and communication devices, as well as opportunities to attend fully accessible summer camp at its two properties, Camp Merrywood and Camp Woodeden. Easter Seals helps kids BE KIDS. For more information or to donate, visit EasterSeals.org.