KAWARTHA LAKES-Easter Seals Ontario, now in its 99th year of operation, kicks off its annual campaign, March is Easter Seals Month, with a goal of bringing heightened awareness of the increased challenges faced by children and youth with physical disabilities and their families particularly during the pandemic
“It has been almost a year that children with physical disabilities and their families have been without services like therapy, personal care and respite support, and it’s taking its toll,” says Kevin Collins, President and CEO, Easter Seals Ontario. “The kids have been isolated at home with very little social interaction, and many parents have had to quit their jobs to provide around the clock care. They are emotionally and physically exhausted.”
Children with physical disabilities are part of the vulnerable sector and many are at high risk for contracting the virus which means they are isolated at home with little, if any, outside care or support. The pandemic has elevated the importance for these families to have essential mobility and accessibility equipment, such as stair lifts, ceiling lifts, commodes, and bath chairs, at home to properly care for their children.
“We’re all facing barriers these days. However, everyone should have the ability to live safely in their home,” continues Kevin Collins. “Without access to lifting devices and ramps parents are having to lift their growing children, risking injury to both. Items like bath seats not only provide safety but are also necessary for personal hygiene and offer older children independence and dignity.”
Easter Seals Ontario’s Equipment Funding Program aids families in purchasing essential mobility and accessibility equipment that not only offers greater safety and independence but also improves the child’s and the family’s quality of life.
The focus during March is Easter Seals Month is to educate the public on issues facing children with physical disabilities and their families. It also kicks off the organization’s annual fundraising campaign. It is only through the generosity of donors, sponsors, and those who fundraise on their behalf that Easter Seals is able to positively impact a child’s quality of life and be there to support families when they need it.
Easter Seals’ fundraising campaign kicks off with its annual mail program containing the organization’s traditional “seals” arriving in homes across the province this week. However, many of the organization’s other fundraising initiatives are still on hold due to the pandemic making the need for support even greater.
“The pandemic forced us to postpone or cancel many of our fundraising initiatives, but the kids can’t wait – they are struggling and need our help now,” adds Collins. “It’s easy to make a donation online at www.EasterSeals.org. Any support will be meaningful and will help change a child’s life.”
Easter Seals Ontario programs include funding for essential mobility and accessibility equipment, fully accessible summer camp opportunities at its two properties, Camp Merrywood and Camp Woodeden, online virtual camp programming, public awareness, and information resources. Easter Seals provides its programs and services thanks to the generous support of its donors and sponsors. For more information or to donate, visit EasterSeals.org or connect on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.