When you donate to Easter Seals Ontario, you give a gift that stands the test of time. Easter Seals, which can only operate because of donors like you, is here throughout life’s challenging stages with programs that help kids with physical disabilities focus on what they can do rather than on their limitations. Brigid is a unique child who has benefitted from the generosity of Easter Seals’ donors.
At three weeks old Brigid had a stroke. Since then it’s been a wild ride of doctors’ appointments, misdiagnoses and stress. Now 12, Brigid has been diagnosed with a mitochondrial disorder and needs a wheelchair for mobility. In addition, she has regular seizures, gastrointestinal issues that require her to use a G-Tube for nutrition, a skin disorder and kidney problems.
Her mom and dad, Allison and Dale, have labelled Brigid’s rare condition Purple Checkered Penguin Syndrome. “Most people know what each condition is on its own, but no one has ever seen them all together before, until now,” says Allison.
Brigid’s diagnosis is so rare that many doctors are unfamiliar with how to treat it. As a result, Dale and Allison have become experts and there have been several times that specialists have turned to them for ideas on how to treat Brigid.
The main challenge of raising a child like Brigid, other than managing her complex physical disabilities, is the cost. She requires a power wheelchair to get around her home, her community and her school. However, the power wheelchair didn’t fit into their family vehicle, so Allison and Dale had to purchase a second wheelchair, a manual one that they could fold and unfold in and out of their family van. The cost of a power wheelchair can reach up to $32,000 and a manual wheelchair can be as much as $5,000.
Living in Canada you may assume that these types of expenses would be covered by the government. In fact, the government only partially covers the cost of some essential mobility equipment. Most families can’t manage the overwhelming costs on their own and that’s when they turn to organizations like Easter Seals for help.
Through the generous support of donors like you, Brigid’s parents were able to purchase a bath lift so she could get in and out of the bathtub more easily and safely. Easter Seals families can incur personal expenses of over $40,000 a year to raise a child with a physical disability. As Allison says, “That can be overwhelming for a family like ours. For the first nine years of Brigid’s life, I couldn’t work. I had to stay at home and care for her needs.”
The costs are extraordinary and far exceed what most families can afford. Allison says, “Without help from Easter Seals for Brigid’s equipment, we wouldn’t have money from Bridge Consolidation Department available to cover our monthly living expenses or do a few things together where we can be like a regular, every day family.”
Give Brigid and kids like her the chance to BE KIDS by making a donation today!
It’s not just equipment that you help with either. Because of you, every summer Brigid is able to attend one of our two fully accessible summer camps. It’s here where she can meet kids like herself, as well as increase her independence, self-confidence and social skills. “She loves camp more than anything,” says Allison. “She’s made a lot of friends there, many of whom we learned live in our community. So when she comes back home, she has built a social network she wouldn’t have otherwise had without going to camp.”
However, there are tremendous expenses associated with running a fully accessible summer camp for kids with physical disabilities. It costs $2,500 for a child to experience a full 10-day session at camp. It is only thanks to people like you that hundreds of kids throughout the province are able to attend Easter Seals camp each year.
Please make a donation today so that no child or youth with a physical disability is left behind.