Spotlight on – Spring 2018
Sydney Weaver and Alex Krneta 2018 Easter Seals Ambassadors
Sydney Weaver, a chatty 17-year-old from Acton, Ontario, has been chosen as a 2018 Provincial Easter Seals Ambassador. Her mom and dad, Lisa and Don, along with her older brother, Scott, couldn’t be more proud.
Born with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy that sometimes causes muscle spasms, Sydney uses a wheelchair for mobility and needs help picking up items and getting dressed. With assistance from Easter Seals, her family has been able to modify a van to be more accessible, making it easier for Sydney to get around her community.
Sydney, who is now in Grade 12, is an accomplished young woman, having become a junior lifeguard, carried the torch at the Parapan Am Games and earned an orange belt in jiu-jitsu. She loves harness racing and writing about it, and hopes to pursue a career in journalism.
“My life is typical of any teenager,” says Sydney. “The only difference is that when planning activities, I have to take my disability into account and make adjustments. Other than that, I can do anything any other kid is capable of.”
Sydney has been selected as a 2018 Provincial Easter Seals Ambassador.
Aleksandar Krneta, an Ottawa native. “Alex,” as he prefers to be called, is an inquisitive 13-year-old who wants to become a history professor. His outgoing personality and curious nature are just a couple of reasons why he was chosen for the role.
Born with cerebral palsy, Alex hasn’t let his disability slow him down. “When I was young, my mom told me that I could do anything I set my mind to,” he says. “My muscles are a bit stiff, which makes walking, balance and controlling movements difficult, but I work hard to improve. I try to do as much as I can myself as I would really like to become more independent.”
Both Alex and Sydney have attended Easter Seals camps for many years. “I love everything about camp,” says Alex. “From archery to canoeing, kayaking, sailing, wheelchair basketball, arts and crafts, and music, to building and improving my leadership skills, I can do anything.” He is excited about the year ahead, and hopes to share his mom’s never-give-up-message with other kids and “impress upon people the importance of accessibility and how simple things like ramps in store fronts can help everyone!”
Like Alex, Sydney feels that representing kids with physical disabilities is an honour. “Because Easter Seals has been life-changing for me, I want to help other kids have the same experiences. I’m also looking forward to letting people know that kids with physical disabilities are just like everyone else,” says Sydney. “We just have to alter how we do things to accomplish our tasks.”
Helping kids be kids
For the past 95 years, Easter Seals has played an important role in providing support for children and youth with physical disabilities from all ethnic and religious backgrounds. Thanks to its generous donors, Easter Seals continues to offer programs to allow kids to experience freedom, independence and a sense of accomplishment. Easter Seals helps by providing financial assistance for mobility equipment and communication devices, as well as fully accessible summer-camp opportunities at its two properties, Camp Merrywood and Camp Woodeden. Easter Seals helps kids to be kids. For more information, or to donate, visit EasterSeals.org.