Freedom means different things to different people. For a kid with a physical disability — a kid like six-year-old Charlie — freedom means being able to be among friends and do what other children can do.
Diagnosed at just two weeks old with dystonic cerebral palsy, epilepsy and cortical visual impairment, Charlie spends most of her days in therapy and addressing her medical needs — even when she is in school. With minimal muscle control and ability to move or feed herself, Charlie is dependent on her mother and caregivers for everything.
The one thing that keeps Charlie’s spirit alive is her connection to her family, her friends and her community.
“She’s such a little social bug,” says her mother, Amber. “She’s very attached to her school friends and loves to play in her baseball league, where she is partnered with a ‘T-Ball Buddy’ to help her.”
The main challenge for Amber, other than managing Charlie’s complex physical disabilities, was transportation.
“As Charlie grew,” Amber continues, “I came to a point where I didn’t want to leave the house. It took two people to help Charlie safely in and out of the van. Everything relied on finding another person to help. Most days, I simply didn’t want to deal with it.”
Cost is another challenge. It can cost up to $40,000 to modify just one vehicle with a wheelchair ramp. For a single mother like Amber, a cost like that was simply impossible to afford, and she almost lost hope.
But, thanks to supporters like you, Easter Seals Ontario was able to provide Amber with the financial assistance
needed to modify her van with a ramp for Charlie’s wheelchair. It was just what Amber had hoped for — and more!
Many kids with physical disabilities like Charlie live in isolation with very little social interaction with other kids their own age. And, caring for children like Charlie can be overwhelming and expensive too — over $40,000 a year just to ensure their basic everyday and medical needs are met. As a result, kids with physical disabilities can miss out on important personal and social milestones in their development.
That is why your support of Easter Seals is so important.
As Amber says, “It’s like a window opened for us.”
“The day we got the van back, Charlie and I immediately went to visit my sister,” Amber continues. “I was able to get Charlie safely into her car seat myself and just go. It was such a lovely day and Charlie had so much fun. She smiled the entire time.”
No child should have to feel isolated or alone. For Charlie, who is non-verbal and communicates mostly through facial expressions and body language, being out in the community, at events, fairs and among her friends, makes, as Amber says, “her whole being lights up with joy.”
Easter Seals tries to help every family like Amber and Charlie’s. Last year, we helped 850 children by providing funding for essential mobility and accessibility equipment and communication devices. But the need for our services continues to grow. At the end of last year, 256 children were still waiting for assistance.
Whether you choose to make a one-time gift or become one of our monthly supporters, know that you are part of something very special. You are part of a dedicated team of supporters who have taken the time to reach out and bring meaningful change for kids with physical disabilities — kids like Charlie — giving them the freedom of independence and the opportunity to participate in social activities.
Together, we can help ensure no child with a physical disability is left waiting alone and feeling isolated. With your help, we can let them know we care — every single day.
Please make a donation now to bring meaningful changes to children like Charlie — kids who just want to be kids.