‘Tis the season for giving, a time of generosity and cheer. Amidst the many negative things occurring in our world, Giving Tuesday presents an opportunity to help, a chance to make this world a better place. That is an opportunity I’m not going to miss and I know numerous other Winnipeggers won’t either! Giving Tuesday is a one-day charitable event that falls immediately after Black Friday and Cyber Monday and has seen large success through its use of social media. This Giving Tuesday, more than 150 of Winnipeg’s organizations are participating! In light of the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games (set for March), I’d like to tell you about one specific Giving Tuesday partner: Friends We Care, on their mission to raise funds for boccia sports equipment that may just help create a future Paralympic.
The Society for Manitobans with Disabilities (SMD) Foundation/Easter seals holds events throughout the year to raise money for specialized mobility equipment ranging from wheelchair ramps/lifts to walking aids or power chairs. This equipment helps people with disabilities gain back their independence and freedom.
This year, SMD is collaborating with Easter seals and Friends We Care for their Giving Tuesday campaign, and are raising funds specifically for boccia ramps. Boccia is a sport similar to bocce where you throw/roll the ball and try to hit the white target (the jack)—except boccia is modified for athletes with severe disabilities. It is a very precise sport that requires a lot of focus! The boccia ramps are used for people that are unable to throw/roll the ball, as the ramps propel the ball to where the individual guides it to. These ramps are going to be used for the Winnipeg camp programs that Easter Seals run throughout the summer!
Winter is a time where mobility for all is difficult. For those with mobility problems already, it can be not just challenging but sometimes non-existent. Some people have to crawl up their icy, cold stairs just to get in their homes because they have no ramp. Others can’t even get out of their house, as they have no equipment to help them out.
Every time someone with a disability goes out, they have to think and research whether they can go somewhere, if they can get into that building, and if they can access the bathroom. Having a wheelchair accessible sign does not always mean that it’s accessible to them. Our home, as well as our ability to move, should be things we don’t have to worry about. In this way, summer can be a relief, as its way easier to get around. It’s also easier to have a camp where kids don’t have to worry about limitations on sports or activities, like the Easter Seals camps. Escaping these limitations, even if only for a day, makes it such an amazing place.
As mobility and ensuring access are expensive, living with a disability can be very taxing financially. That’s why holding these events and raising awareness means the world. As there are 210,131 and rising Manitobans living with a form of disability, it’s essential that we make our businesses and events accessible to all. Great examples of this include:
- Kildonan Park’s accessible play structure, Witch’s hut, and bathrooms
- the recently re-designed Sherbrook pool, which has a chairlift
- the Manitoba’s Legislature wheelchair- accessible chamber
These renovations not only make someone’s day, but they make Winnipeg better as a whole. Unfortunately, there are still so many people that don’t have the proper support and equipment to help them through their life. By donating, you can be part of giving someone their independence, freedom, and quality of life back.
Last year, over 6.2 million Canadians participated in Giving Tuesday. Your generous donations and support towards the SMD Foundation/Easter Seals Giving Tuesday campaign will go towards purchasing equipment for their camps, enabling children to start playing boccia at a young age. These donations could even lead to the creation of a future Paralympic boccia player! Click here to learn more.