Area Snowmobile clubs support Easter Seals Snowarama

There wasn’t quite enough snow this year for the snowmobilers to take to the trails, but that didn’t stop an outpouring of community support for the 2017 Snowarama for Easter Seals Kids, held on February 4th at the Riverside Heights Community Centre. This year’s Easter Seals ambassador, Sasha Hart, was on hand at the well-attended breakfast with her family. Pictured left to right are Tara Hart, Sasha Hart, Sam Hart, Bobby Jack Hart, Heather Cooke-Erwin, chief organizer for the fundraising event. (The Leader/Gibb photo)

RIVERSIDE HEIGHTS – “Easter Seals has done a lot for us,” said Bobby Jack Hart, whose eight-year-old daughter, Sasha, is the 2017 Easter Seals ambassador in Dundas.

“We looked into a lot of different funding when Sasha was diagnosed, but it was only Easter Seals that was right there to help out.”

Sasha, who suffers from currarino triad syndrome, a condition highlighted by an abnormally developed lower spine, her brother, Sam, and parents Tara and Bobby Jack were all enthusiastic participants in the 2017 Snowarama held Feb. 4 to raise funds for Easter Seals.

Under the umbrella of the Nation Valley Snowmobile Association, Snowarama is an annual event held at the Riverside Heights Community Centre. Riders from Mountain Trailblazers, Winchester Township Snowmobile Club and the South Dundas Snowmobile Club brought in pledges as part of the fundraising drive.

“This year we raised $4,000 for Easter Seals,” said chief event organizer, Heather Cooke-Erwin, who herself brought in pledges totalling $2,100. And once again, Scott Robinson and Riverside Recreation served up delicious hot breakfasts to nearly 100 participants.

Also assisting at the fundraiser were Marie Puddy, Elaine Whitteker and Jean MacDougall. Generous business sponsors in the area donated prizes and funds to the 2017 Snowarama.

“We didn’t have the snow necessary for people to go out on the trails,” Cooke-Erwin said, “but the support we received from the community was great. Snowarama is a major fundraiser for Easter Seals province-wide.”

The Hart family stressed how important Easter Seals has been for their family and for other children and families like theirs.

They are very grateful for the hard work of the Nation Valley Snowmobile Association and the many volunteers who make fundraisers like Snowarama possible.

“Sasha thinks it’s all pretty wonderful,” said her dad, Bobby Jack. “Tara and I talked about this when Easter Seals approached us to ask Sasha to be their ambassador. It has actually been great for her. It’s brought her out of her shell.”

Because of the medication and monitoring Sasha undergoes every day, she must often leave her Nationview Public School classroom.

However, “taking part in Easter Seals as an ambassador has led to her now talking freely about her condition with other kids, and sharing with them. I think it’s been really great for other kids to learn about what Sasha is experiencing,” Bobby Jack explained.

Certainly a bubbling and excited Sasha was having no problems visiting and chatting with everyone at the Riverside Heights Snowarama.

“This is Sasha’s second major event,” said her mother Tara. “She did an Easter Seals ball hockey tournament earlier this year. I think she has become a great representative of Easter Seals.”

Funds raised by Snowarama and other Easter Seals events go to support children with physical disabilities. Many families require very costly equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers, braces and communication devices, on a yearly basis, for their children.

Easter Seals helps young people to live full, safe and mobile lives in their homes and communities.

“I think that Sasha has begun to lead by example,” said Tara Hart. “There are a lot of families out there who are challenged by their children’s medical conditions, and Easter Seals is right there and ready to help.”