Archive for the ‘Charities and Foundations’ Category

This past weekend was the Variety Show of Hearts Telethon and we were invited to attend. I am the proud mother of a young girl who with the help of her family, friends, and community, raised $8891.78 for Variety this year. The experience of fundraising was rewarding for all of those involved, although at times exhausting. This was a huge accomplishment that will benefit so many children. 


We couldn’t have lucked out more with the weather. Sure there was a few sprinkles and the odd snow flake but isn’t that to be expected for February. We spent the night with family and Sunday headed off to the Red Robinson Theatre. There the children appearing on the telethon were buzzing about anxiously awaiting their time in the spot light.  The folks at Variety had set up an area for the families and children to relax, colour, read, watch movies and get to know each other. The children even had the option of getting some make up on their pretty faces. 


The Variety Show of Hearts Telethon is always a success. We have had to depend on their help in the past and I’m sure we will again in the future. That help isn’t possible without donations from people across British Columbia. Our thanks go out to all of those who donate and volunteer to help Variety-The Children’s Charity support children and families across the province. 


Thank you British Columbia and thanks Variety!

October 12th, 2011 marks an important day for people with disabilities, caregivers, seniors, and parents with strollers.  On this day the Rick Hansen Foundation launched the Rick Hansen Global Accessibility Map.  This is a moment that for myself I welcome, applaud and mourn. 


The Map is an online tool that will raise awareness and essentially join people around the world in the common goal to make our planet a more inclusive and accessible place.  It allows online users to review and rate their accessible experience at any business or service.  People can submit and obtain reviews for mobility, hearing and sight. The first phase of this tool provides access through desktop, IPad, IPhone, BlackBerry Torch and devices using Android 2.2 or higher on the Opera Mobile browser.  The second phase will include a professional ratings tool and enhanced functionality. Over the years, I have seen similiar concepts, like Wheelmap, CitiRoller or Abilities Access Guide Canada, etc.    Some sites have been extremely complicated and not user friendly while others are specific to only one area.  I felt the means of achieving global success with this concept, was still in the distant future. Rick Hansen Global Accessibility Map has begun to change that. It’s not area limited and is user friendly but still has room for improvement.  


For me, it’s all bitter sweet.  If you read my first post “My Wheelistic View”,  you would know that a few years ago (July 2009 to be exact), I tossed about an idea with friends that I believed would make this world a more inclusive, accessible place.  That idea continued to grow and expand with excitement.  It was one of those moments in your life where you believe with all your heart “this is what I’m supposed to do.”  It was my moment and it was also my challenge.  “How on earth was I going to get this off the ground?”

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A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on the Cops for Kids annual ride.  This is one of those charities that is near and dear to my heart.  As you would know if you read my previous post, Callie has a special needs bike thanks to Cops for Kids.  This has given her the opportunity to be a kid.  She finally had some way to interact with her peers on an equal playing field.  It has also allowed her to feel independent while working her muscles. 


The annual ride has come and gone with great success.  The 19 riders and 6 crew members met with 15 families along the road.  They raised just over $215,000 prior to heading out on the ride and during the ride approximately another $15,000 (the final totals not in yet).  Though their yearly goal is $200,000, they are hoping to exceed $300,000.  Fundraising efforts are a year round event and are clearly exceeding the original expectation.  This year they have already helped 130 Southern Interior families.  At the end of the ride one family was presented a cheque from Cops for Kids for $6,500.  I can only imagine what a difference that will make in their child’s life. 


“Way to go riders!  We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  Keep up the good work.” 


Do you ever wonder if your good intentions were the best thing to do?   You set out to do something you think might help someone else and in the process you realize you’re just not prepared for what lies ahead.  Lately that seems to be my M-O.  


It all started a few months ago when I was asked to give my opinions on a friend’s home renovations.  Though initially I was helpful, I quickly found out that I really should edit my thoughts before they leave my mouth.    Break it to her gently instead of “That doesn’t match, what were you thinking?” after she had already spent hundreds of dollars.  End result was it didn’t look that bad after all.  “What do I know?  I’m not an interior designer.”  The weeks to follow would be very much the same; one good intention after another just not cutting it.   So what do you do?  Do you stop, put things into perspective and move about life without any more good intentions?  No, you try again and hope they don’t bomb.  At the very least, you hope they have some positive impact. 


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When you look around your neighbourhood, you don’t have to look very far to see a child out riding there bike in the summer weather.  A few years ago, my Callie out grew her tricycle.  It was a fun little bike with a parent steering option and was easily adapted to her needs.  I searched and searched for something that would work so she could continue riding.  In reality, I wasn’t going to find her a bike at the local bike shop.  The time had come when Callie needed a specialized bike if she was going to continue riding.  The more I checked into this, the more it looked like an impossible task. 


For anyone who has no concept on the costs of specialized equipment let me fill you in.  It’s like a down payment on a house or buying a vehicle.  The cost is insane for the average family to consider.   The idea of Callie getting a new bike was not looking good.  Thankfully someone told me about Cops for Kids.  I applied for a grant and Callie was able to get the bike she needed.  She is happily riding again.   


For any child, riding a bike is a huge event.  It’s a means to be social, enjoy the outdoors, exercise, learn more about themselves and the world around them.  For a special needs child it’s also a way to teach their muscles, their mind, their vision and have a common ground with another child.  For Callie, it’s right up there on her list of favourite things to do. 


From September 16th to September 25th, 2011, Cops for Kids is having its annual bike ride in British Columbia, Canada.  The ride is to raise awareness and funds to help support children in “medical, physical or traumatic crisis“.  It covers some of the most gruelling terrain in British Columbia for 10 days. Callie and I will be out there cheering on the riders when they come through our community.  We owe it to Cops for Kids to show our support and gratitude.  


For more information on Cops for Kids or if you would like to cheer on a rider in your area, click here


It’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years since Rick Hansen’s Man in Motion World Tour.  It is equally hard for me to imagine that someone might not know who he is.  In the interest of those that do not know the influence Rick Hansen has had on this world; let me tell you he is nothing short of a hero!


As a teenage boy coming home from a fishing trip, Rick Hansen and his friend Don Alder were thrown from the back of a pickup truck.   That day would change the rest of his life as Rick was paralyzed from the waist down with a spinal cord injury.  Perhaps what he didn’t know was that he was going to create positive change in the lives of so many people. There’s a saying “If you fall off a horse, get back on.”  Rick Hansen did just that.  He went back to fishing and finding that adventurist spirit again.  Fishing led to conservation efforts and inclusion, providing other people with disabilities opportunities to experience fishing.  He even raised money in the Rick Hansen Fishing Challenge to support and protect precious ecosystems. 


It was a few years later, when I was in my early twenties thatI witnessed Rick Hansen’s excellence, determination and sheer will power to make a difference.  I lived on what many considered a ridiculously long and steep hill.   It was a hill that even I avoided walking.  It was at the bottom of that hill that I stood with my sister in awe of this man as he wheeled by with strength all his own but with the hearts of so many.  This was just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada nearing the end of his Man in Motion World Tour.  Amazingly Mr. Hansen had travelled through 34 countries on 4 continents, in 26 months, wheeling over 40,000 kilometres.  His tour was inspired by the dream of finding a cure for Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) and creating a world that would be accessible and inclusive for persons with disabilities.  

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(Wheel-ist-ic) Adj: awareness or acceptance of actual fact, real existence, or truth with relation to inclusion, accessibility and/or persons with disabilities.

Let’s Be Wheelisitic is a blog designed to open communication, share and create change through parenting, awareness, inclusion and advocacy. Over the years people have encouraged me to use my voice and experiences with my daughter to help others with or without disabilities, or parents of children with disabilities. This blog is my way of doing just that. I hope you will find this site enjoyable, educational, helpful, and rewarding.
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Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans — John Lennon