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Barrie residents get out to 'do more' for Easter Seals

'We couldn’t be more happy about that because it just means more equipment and more kids going to camp every summer,' says community engagement event co-ordinator with Easter Seals of Ontario

Mike, Robert, Sarah and Stephanie Lawler were more than happy to don makeshift rain coats as they set out to participate in the second annual Do More Walk/Run in support of Easter Seals Ontario.

The family joined a small group of others at the Southshore Centre at Barrie’s waterfront Sunday morning and told BarrieToday they were thrilled to be able to participate in an event that supports an organization that means so much to them.

“Both of our kids are part of Easter Seals. The last two years through COVID Easter Seals got us through it by hosting virtual events and this year we actually get to go to camp in person,” said Stephanie Lawler. “When we saw there was something in our area to raise money we thought we needed to get involved.”

Hilary Fogarty-Gray, 15, is the Easter Seals ambassador and told BarrieToday it was “awesome” being out for Sunday morning’s event.

Lori Pearson, director of partner relations with BioPed  which sponsored and hosted the Do More Walk/Run event in communities across the country today  told BarrieToday the company has been involved with Easter Seals for several years through various charity events. Given the many challenges families faced during the pandemic, the company felt it was important to try to find a way to “do more” to help the charitable organization.

“Our ‘Do More’ campaign said let’s get together, partner, and do a walk, run, roll, scooter to get out and raise funds. A lot of the kids have been very challenged with being able to get out and that obviously puts a lot of pressure on family members so our intention is to create the opportunity to raise as much money as we can to fund the Easter Seals camps so that kids can go and enjoy themselves.”

Last year’s event raised $10,000, she noted, adding this year’s event had already raised over $42,000. All of the money raised will go toward Easter Seals Ontario’s programs and services, such as mobility and accessibility equipment funding, fully accessible summer camps, and post-secondary scholarships for students with disabilities.

“What’s awesome is we get to do third-party events and we have a ton of organizations and companies that want to raise money and choose Easter Seals for that. We couldn’t be more happy about that because it just means more equipment and more kids going to camp every summer,” said Jennifer Raftis, community engagement event coordinator with Easter Seals of Ontario.

The event is about doing more of what you love - whether it be a physical activity or simply something in your life that you want to do more of, added Jasmine Basner, a Canadian-certified pedorthist and manager of BioPed Clinic in Barrie. 

“Having that partnership with Easter Seals really goes hand-in-hand with BioPeds helping people to do more and allowing kids to be kids,” she said. “This is the 100th anniversary of Easter Seals so we are just really excited to have this event going on.”