Starting on March 4, 2019, you may see a pretty fun sight on the streets of Toronto, in boardrooms and hallways, offices and streetcars. People of all shapes and sizes, walking, rolling, running and dancing will be wearing capes. Red and shiny, bedazzled and bejeweled, thrown together or lovingly handcrafted, the capes will have one thing in common: they all signal a commitment to making a profound impact in the lives of kids with disabilities and they’ll be for Capes for Kids.
Why? First of all, we can all use a bit more silly in the doldrums of winter and it’s hard to take yourself too seriously when you’re wearing a cape! Secondly, people of all abilities and all sizes can wear a cape! Thirdly, children with disabilities, chronic medical conditions and complex rehabilitation requirements don’t get the attention and the funding they need for care, services, technology and groundbreaking research. Fourthly, once you get to know the stories of some of these young people, you need to help:
Meet Rhea: When she was four, Rhea nearly died. What started as flu caused Rhea to develop acute necrotizing encephalitis, a rare condition that causes severe brain damage. In a coma her doctors gave Rhea little chance of survival. But she woke up and her journey began. Rhea spent almost half a year learning how to walk and talk again with Holland Bloorview’s Brain Injury Rehabilitation Team. Now Rhea is 7 and there’s no stopping her.
Our friend Penelope is a bright and delightful 4-year-old girl and would never be confused with a number, but there is one that she can’t get away from: the code 10q23.31-24.2, which represents a rare genetic disorder. Penelope has worked with her Holland Bloorview speech language pathologists for the past four years. The Speech Language Pathology team includes speech language pathologists and communicative disorders specialists who work with kids and youth to address needs that may impact speech, communication, language, swallowing, as well as the need for alternative communication. Just last week I saw Penelope so excited to take over a microphone using short sentences and asking questions!
It’s hard to select just one more story… but how about Sheriauna, whose world has opened up thanks to specialized and customized services from prosthetics services, which over the years, has worked with Sheriauna not to make a single prosthetic arm but to make a number of prosthetic devices so that she can play guitar and piano, ride a bike, ski, and swim, and for competitive dance too. They consult with Sheriauna about how she wants it to feel, look and what she wants it to do, and create solutions that are as unique as she is.
Some people ask why I give generously and fundraise for Holland Bloorview when I already “give through my work” as part of the team. The answer is pretty simple: I see first-hand the gap between what exists today and what can exist when donors come together with purpose. $10, $20 or $100 may not seem like much, but Capes for Kids raised over $1M in its first 2 years because of hundreds of caped crusaders and their sponsors and that’s enough to make a big impact in kids’ lives. It’s not too late! Join Capes for Kids for fun and for children’s lives.