Malcom has been with the Easter Seals as part of the Sault Ste. Marie Telethon for over 20 years, helping kids with physical disabilities. He has truly helped so many families in need with the most amount of drive and care that you could ever want in a volunteer. Usually raising $2,000-$4,000 a year, Malcolm was able to surpass that during a difficult time this year, and raise over $6,000 to benefit Easter Seals kids! We sat down with Malcom to find out what inspires his dedication to Easter Seals Ontario:
How did you first get involved with Easter Seals?
A number of years ago, Easter Seals was setting up a Sault Ste Marie operation and a local council. My associate Eric Barton was going to be the chairman and he asked me if I would join as the local treasurer. I was told I would just have to review invoices and co-sign checks for local manager Joan Desjardin. It didn’t seem to require a lot of time and effort and I wanted to support Eric so I agreed. Being involved in ball hockey tournament fundraiser and obtaining sponsors and assisting with the local penny power school drive that Eric developed furthered my involvement. Joan then asked me to also participate in the local telethon which I have done now for a number of years. My concern about looking foolish on TV with nobody calling into me led me to solicit donations in advance so I would have some results to show on my panel and it has allowed me to build a base of contacts to approach for donations annually.
Why is supporting Easter Seals important to you?
As the local treasurer, I had the opportunity to see how expensive that much of the specialized equipment that families needed for their physically handicapped child(ren) and it was sometimes necessary to defer assistance for another year when we would run short of funds. This convinced me of the importance of the fund raising efforts and it was reinforced by seeing a number of the children at the annual telethons . I have been impressed by people like Shannon Gowans who has supported the telethon as an adult after having been a recipient as a child.
What is it that makes you stay involved with the organization?
It is primarily my belief that there remains an urgent need for the services that Easter Seals provides to its client families. My task to raise money gets easier every year as I have built up a base of past supporters that I contact each year. (Some people will say when I reach them by telephone to wait while they get their credit card as they already know why I am calling.) Since I moved to Thessalon in 2009, weather becomes a concern as it an hour’s drive each way to appear on the Telethon panel and I am now in my 70’s. I note that my two best years of fundraising have been 2020 when I was able to raise $4850.00 and 2021 when I was able to turn in $6390 and in both years we did not have the usual live telethon. I expect that even if I don’t physically make it to the telethon in future years because of hearing issues, I will still be able to raise pledges in advance that can be turned in prior to the actual telethon.