MORRISBURG – The Snowarama for Easter Seals Kids at the George Jowett Memorial Hall in Riverside Heights on Sat., Feb. 2 was a great way to take advantage of all the snow along the Seaway.

The event is supported by the Nation Valley Snowmobile Association and has been taking place for the past 24 years. This year it raised $3,443.
Riders were treated to a pancake breakfast courtesy of the Riverside Recreation Association.

This year’s Easter Seals ambassador Kiera Reaney dropped by the George Jowett Memorial Hall in Riverside Heights. Here she is with her family and friends. Left to right are: Keegan Beckstead, Kiera, McCormack and Caron Reaney, and Snowarama organizer Heather Cooke-Erwin.

“They donate all that food and time, they are great,” said Heather Cooke-Erwin, Snowarama organizer, about how supportive the association has been.

Despite the nasty weather, earlier in the day, Kiera Reaney, the Easter Seals ambassador, along with her family, drove in from Metcalfe.

Kiera contracted viral meningitis at the early age of 15 months and consequently had a stroke. Now six year’s old, she has mobility issues, is receiving speech therapy and rehabilitation, but is making progress.

“She works to push her limits every day,” said her mother Emma Guy. “She is such a bright and happy child. A very joyful kid. We were here last year and are happy to be back.”

Cooke-Erwin, this year’s top fund raiser and winner of the Debbie Strader Award for most pledges raised, welcomed Reaney to the recreation centre and later posed for a picture with her on a snowmobile.

Volunteers are the reason that Snowarama can happen. Left to right are: Jean MacDougal enjoying her 24th year with the Riverside Recreation Association. Heather Cooke-Erwin, Krista LeClair representing the Ontario East Easter Seals, and Marika Livingston. Front row are: Emma Marijam and Reagan Derikx. Morin Photos

The names of those who raised pledges went into a draw for various prizes. The winners were in order, Jean MacDougal, Marika Livingston and Cooke-Erwin.

The 50/50 winner was Dwayne Fawcette. He donated his winnings back to Snowarama.

Easter Seals helps out when families are unable to meet the demands of their disabled children.

One example of how Easter Seals helps out is Camp Merrywood.

The camp was built in 1948 as a getaway for children with polio. Only six campers went to the camp in its first year.

Reaney and Cooke-Erwin ready to ride. Courtesy Photo

The camp is located on 30 acres of land between Perth and Smiths Falls.

Camp Merrywood offers such programs as sailing, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, fishing, archery, pottery and crafts, sports and games. There is wheelchair basketball, sledge hockey, music and drama, life skills as well as an environmental program.

Easter Seals Camp Merrywood receives financial support from a number of service clubs and District Councils in the eastern Ontario region.

Easter Seals is recognized as an industry leader in providing fully accessible camping programs for kids with physical disabilities.