We usually reserve our blog for a brief description about our featured charity; a mention of why we’re supporting them and a description of the charity’s mission statement. But I’d like to delve a little deeper today, in explaining why we chose KidsAbility this month.
If you've been following our page for a while, you may have noticed that our featured Charity of The Month involves some kind of personal connection. A customer may have requested our support of an organization close to their heart. Or a fellow baby wearer may have mentioned in passing a charity that has played a key role during a difficult time in their life.
I’m not a believer in coincidence, but prefer to think that all things are connected in some way, that everything - no matter how small - happens for a reason.
We stumbled across KidsAbility through Facebook. But not through a friend, or customer, but one of those random shares that Facebook’s bizarre algorithm uses to generate content. And what a serendipitous post it turned out to be.
It was a post by an incredibly generous and kind-hearted person; Ashley, a photographer, telling the story of her experience with a customer. She had issued a call for models for her photography business. Her call was answered by Erin, a mama who volunteered her family in return for some captured memories. What Ashley later found out led her to discover KidsAbility.
Reading her Facebook posts and story boards chronicling her experience, one thing became clear; Ashley is a beautiful human being. She, like our Babysaurus family, saw an opportunity to make a difference, and she jumped on it. We know that our donations are not life-changing. We know that our outreach for raising awareness is quite small. But we do it anyway, and along the journey, we meet fellow kindred spirits, offering the same - to do whatever they can, however small - in the hopes of making some difference.
Erin’s son Walter suffers from a rare form of Mitochondrial disease, and he attends KidsAbility for much needed physiotherapy. Ashley later accompanied Erin and Walter during a session, to document the unique work they do. She found the wonderful staff at KidsAbility to be incredibly kind. They were patient and encouraging with Walter, but most importantly - fun!
From the KidsAbility Website:
“Proudly founded and supported by local Rotarians since 1957, KidsAbility™ is the recognized leader in Waterloo Region and Guelph-Wellington for empowering children and youth with a wide range of complex special needs to realize their full potential.
Through a talented team of therapists, teachers, support staff and volunteers, over 5,800 children and youth, from birth to age 18, benefited from therapy and support services at our sites in Cambridge, Fergus, Guelph, Kitchener and Waterloo.”
Erin was kind enough to share with us her first hand experience of KidsAbility. We usually edit quotes to make them more concise, but this deserves to be included in it's entirety;
"Walter was referred to KidsAbility just before his first birthday. At the time we knew he had some developmental delays but did not know the underlying cause. Right from his assessment, Walter was treated with respect. He was never treated as "less than" and we got positive feedback instead of just hearing about all the things he couldn't do or the ways he wasn't like "normal" children his age.
The amount of resources we have had at our disposal since coming on with KidsAbility has been staggering. Not only has Walter received life-changing therapy from his amazing physiotherapist Amy, occupational therapist Alisha, and speech and language pathologists Emma and Erin, he has also been placed with a supportive social worker, Rebecca, to help us navigate the financial assistance available to us, been referred to augmentative communication services, received custom AFOs (ankle foot orthoses - braces) from an orthotist referred by Amy, and has become a patient of a developmental pediatrician from McMaster Children's Hospital who has been the key to getting an official diagnosis for Walter.
Last October, Walter received his diagnosis of Leigh's Syndrome, a fatal Mitochondrial Disease. His therapists grieved with us, and then continued to work even harder to help him reach his goals. I'm so proud to say that as of his 3rd birthday at the end of March, Walter is finally walking. Walter finally has a vocabulary at his disposal and is putting 2-3 words together.
He has received so much support even outside of KidsAbility at his preschool where his therapists visit and work with the teachers to ensure Walter's success. His therapists celebrate with us every success and every milestone Walter achieves. KidsAbility is such an amazing organization and I can't even begin to imagine where we would be without them"
Reading Erin's glowing account, along with the beautiful pictures captured by Ashley, it is easy to see they certainly fulfil their mission. Their passion and dedication directly transforms the lives of thousands of children and their families. We are truly honoured to have an opportunity to support them as out featured charity this month.
We will be donating $5 from every item sold to KidsAbility, in the hopes of helping in whatever way we can. You can visit their website for more information here. And don’t forget to like them on Facebook!
None of this would have been possible without the hard work and advocacy of Walter’s super-mom Erin, and the incredibly sweet Ashley. You can check out her stunning portfolio on her website, and show her some love on Facebook!
By choosing to purchase your new carrier, wrap or other awesome baby item from Babysaurus, you can be proud to know that you are helping families at their most vulnerable time of need.
Thank you once again for joining us on this journey, and for helping us to help others!
To find out more about our current featured Charities of The Month, please visit our blog.