Gibsons resident Joanne Stanley, mother of Joshua (15), was so pleased with her son’s experience with B.C. Lions Society’s Easter Seals camping program she opted to join the fun at the Easter Seals 24 Hour Relay as a volunteer course marshal.
On Saturday, June 14, Stanley, with her sister-in-law Karen Stanley, made their way to Burnaby’s Swangard Stadium for the 35th annual Easter Seals 24 Hour Relay. Teams from all over the province ran and walked relay style through Burnaby’s Central Park for 24 hours, raising funds and awareness for the specialized camps operated by Easter Seals of BC.
The goal for the Relay, as it has been for the last 35 years, is to raise funds to help send children and young adults with physical and/or cognitive disabilities to Easter Seals camps for a week-long summer adventure.
Joanne’s son Joshua attended the Easter Seals camps for the first time during the summer of 2013. After his visit, his mother reports he returned home having made many new friends, bubbling over with stories about his adventures.
“Josh was much more grown up after his time at Easter Seals camp,” Joanne said. “He enjoyed his time so much that he now plans to become an Easter Seal camp counselor when he turns 19.”
In the past, Easter Seals has been able to entirely fund each camper’s visit. Last year, campers’ families were asked to make a donation to assist with camp costs. This year, because camp costs have escalated, campers’ families will be asked to pay $500 for the week of camping.
While marshalling the participants on the course, Joanne discovered that many of the people attending the Relay have no personal connection to the children with disabilities who attend the three Easter Seals camps in B.C.
But the Relay atmosphere is truly unique. Once people discover the fun of the all-day event, they happily return year after to offer their time and support to this very worthy cause.
This year, the relay participants and their supporters raised $440,677 for the young campers. Joanne plans to return next year with a relay team, including Joshua.
“Josh would love this,” she said.
© Coast Reporter