Pandemic moves Sault Ste. Marie’s telethon to pre-taped one-hour special
The work of Easter Seals Ontario has only become more important during COVID-19. Since the pandemic started, many children with physical disabilities have been stuck at home due to their fragile immune systems. With limited or no access to school, social activities, therapy or other support services, they have become physically and socially isolated. As a result, the need for essential mobility and accessibility equipment for these children in their homes is more crucial than ever before.
This year’s Sault Ste. Marie Telethon special airs on Shaw Spotlight Channel 10 and Blue Curve 105, April 5 to 10 and April 12 to 18 at 9 a.m., noon, and 7 p.m. Donations can be made online at www.TelethonSSM.ca.
“For the past several years, my job at the Telethon has been manning the switchboard – directing calls to operators so they can take the community’s generous donations,” shared Rotary Club of Sault Ste. Marie President Megan Wigmore. “With no Telethon day, and no switchboard, this year looks a little different – but I’m thrilled to be able to contribute as one of this year’s hosts from home.”
Past Easter Seals Ambassador Hunter Vommaro has made many appearances on our local telethons. He and his father took part in one of the Zoom interviews for this year’s one-hour special.
“He is getting bigger, and that’s the one challenge that we had a difficult time dealing with, because a lot of his equipment and many of his things he grew out of,” explained Hunter’s father Vince during the interview. “So where do you look to, where do you turn to, when you need another stander, another wheelchair, another bath chair, his incontinence supplies? They get more expensive the older he gets. Those are the types of things that we are challenged with day in and day out.”
Hunter and his family were introduced to Easter Seals very early on by his team of healthcare providers. Hunter was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at only a few months old and relies on mobility and accessibility equipment.
“The relationship with us and Easter Seals has been an amazing one,” shared Vince. “They’ve helped us out so much over the years that it’s kind of difficult to put into words. You want to have as much help as possible but at the same time you’re taken back by the agencies and the number of people willing to lend a hand, and we can’t thank Easter Seals enough for that.”
For almost 100 years, Easter Seals has been a champion for children and youth with physical disabilities. Easter Seals programs and services enable children and youth to live safely and with greater dignity in their homes, access their communities, and experience greater independence and accomplishment by providing funding to help families purchase life-changing mobility and accessibility equipment for their child.
“The pandemic has impacted all of our lives. I’d like to recognize the entire Easter Seals Telethon team who have risen to the occasion and adapted to the pandemic by doing virtual interviews, socially distanced cheque presentations and mailing reminders to our community to give,” said Telethon host Tessa Vecchio. “The Sault Ste. Marie Easter Seals telethon is the highlight of the year to so many. This year, although virtual, we have proven that the children and families we serve in our community continue to need us now more than ever before.”