From the moment I was diagnosed at 3 months old with Congenital, Muscular Dystrophy my parents raised me to be a fighter. While my parents acknowledged there would be challenges, they truly believed life with a disability did not have to be a life of no ability. It is because of their undying support that I have been able to accomplish some pretty amazing things in my short life, all because they wouldn’t let me use the word “can’t.” In many ways, it was for my parents that I set off from London in 2008, to honour their hard work and help show the people of Ontario just how “able” someone with a disability could be. On my trip to Ottawa, I hoped to show people that contrary to the popular euphemism “confined to a wheelchair,” wheelchairs are actually about freedom. Unfortunately, wheelchairs are expensive pieces of equipment, the average electric chair running over $20,000, with limited funding to offset the burden placed on families whose youth have disabilities. The result are youth left stuck, immobile in their own homes, watching their friends play as they wait for funding to come through.
Enter Easter Seals Ontario. Easter Seals is an organization that helps fund the costs of these crucial pieces of equipment to help get kids moving again. Over the years, Easter Seals has helped thousands of families like mine purchase equipment that helps us overcome our limitations and live independent lives. Recently though, as our community tightens our collective belts, Easter Seals London had to waitlist two families in dire need of equipment funding last year, a nightmare scenario set to repeat itself this year as international disasters have diverted much of the local moneys to support those worthy causes. The result, however, is more families in London may be waitlisted this year, left in the lurch, waiting for equipment that is needed now.
On May 29th in Springbank Park, supporters of Easter Seals are gathering for the “Walk With Me” event to help raise money to ensure this does not happen. Youth and adults alike from the London community will be using their legs to help kids with disabilities get moving and it didn’t seem right for me to not do my part and help out. It is for this reason that on Friday, May 28th of 2010, I am taking to the road once again, this time driving my electric wheelchair around the circumference of London to raise awareness about the dire need of funding for Easter Seals in London to help us continue to support youth with disabilities in our community. The marathon will take me over 10 hours to complete, start to finish, and will be the longest drive in a single day that I have ever made in my electric wheelchair, totaling over 90km. The trip will be tough and the road will be long, but it’s a journey that would not have been possible without organizations like Easter Seals to help pay for the wheelchair. On May 28th of 2010, I will show London just how able we can be if we have the right support and that’s where you come in.
On Friday, while I’m out on the road, show your support by going to the Easter Seals Ontario website and making a donation online or make a donation to support a friend or family member who is participating in the “Walk With Me” event on Saturday. Your donation will go a long way to getting kids with disabilities in London moving again.