March is Easter Seals Month is the beginning of Easter Seals Ontario’s annual fundraising and awareness campaign for kids with physical disabilities. Our goal during this month is to increase awareness surrounding the ongoing challenges and needs kids with physical disabilities experience while raising much-needed funds to support the organization’s programs and services.
“Kids with physical disabilities are unstoppABLE,” says Kevin Collins, President and CEO, Easter Seals Ontario. “They simply require essential and often expensive mobility equipment and communication devices to achieve their goals. For example, a power wheelchair alone can cost $32,000, far exceeding the budgets of most families. Without this piece of equipment kids with physical disabilities cannot reach for their dreams, but as soon as they have it, the sky’s the limit.”
For kids like Victoria, who depends on crutches and a walker for mobility, Easter Seals has meant the world. In addition to playing the piano at a concert level, she plays the flute, saxophone, guitar and piccolo. In spite of her disability, Victoria lives life to the fullest. She is active at school and participates in a variety of extracurricular activities while being an enthusiastic student. She has just been accepted into the Life Sciences Program at several top Canadian universities and foresees a career in the medical field where she can help people, especially kids, live a better life.
Through Easter Seals’ financial assistance program, families with kids like Victoria are able to acquire the equipment they need so they can be mobile and achieve greater independence. “Living with a physical disability means that seemingly trivial things that people would do without a second thought, I have to figure out another way to do, or try a little bit harder,” admits Victoria. “I’ve had tremendous support from Easter Seals – they have helped me and other kids with physical disabilities realize that we can do just as much as anyone else.”
“A walker for example, which Victoria uses for longer distances, means that she can move more easily from her home into the community where she can participate in activities, learn and grow,” continues Kevin. “Having the right equipment is literally life-changing for a child with a physical disability. It gives them the opportunity to access society so they can pursue their dreams and be all they can be.”
Victoria is proof that, with a lot of perseverance and some help from Easter Seals Ontario, kids with physical disabilities can become UNSTOPPABLE.
In addition to events taking place in local communities throughout March is Easter Seals Month, province-wide fundraising efforts include:
· 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.
· Between March 24 and April 16, the Easter Seals Paper Egg Campaign takes place in retailers across Ontario including Sobeys, Foodland, FreshCo, Price Chopper, Avondale, Highland Farms, Booster Juice, The Bargain! Shop and Red Apple. Shoppers will be invited to purchase a Paper Egg for $2, which will be displayed in-store for the duration of the campaign.
· The annual Easter Seals Telethon will air on Sunday, March 26 from 12 noon to 6:00 p.m. in Sault Ste. Marie Channel 10 Cable, as well as on Sunday, April 2 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in Windsor-Essex, Sunday, April 9 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in Peterborough and Toronto, from April 24 to 28 on CKWS from 6:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.; 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m., and 5:00 pm. to 6:00 p.m. in South Eastern Ontario, and on Sunday, April 30 from 2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. in Sudbury. For more information, visit EasterSealsTelethon.org.
Celebrating its 95th year, 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 that allow kids to focus on what they can do rather than on their limitations. 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 EasterSeals.org.