Meet your Honorary Ambassadors
When you register for Walk With Me, you won't just receive the typical race number, wristband or t-shirt. You will be partnered with an Easter Seals honorary ambassador, a person with a disability who has benefited from Easter Seals services. You'll get to know your ambassador through photos and personal stories. And on event day, you'll even have the chance to meet your honorary ambassador!
Walk with Ryan
5-year old Ryan Glant serves as Easter Seals Michigan’s 2008 Child Ambassador.
Despite a premature birth at 38 weeks by emergency c-section, a birth weight of only 4 lbs. 4oz, 10 days in the NICU, coupled with speech and language impairments and a lazy eye that rendered his left eye nearly blind, Ryan has made great progress. Mom shares, "I researched programming and wanted a program out of the home to allow Ryan to concentrate. I opted for Easter Seals because it was both close to home and affordable.” An eye patch strengthens Ryan’s eye, and speech & language services at Easter Seals have greatly improved his communication skills.
“Ryan's therapist provides one-on-one consistent interaction and structure which I believe has resulted in the amazing progress Ryan has made! “ states Ryan’s mother. “Ryan is very caring to friends and his sister, loves t-ball, soccer, golf and watching car racing with his dad.” Ryan began developmental kindergarten this past fall and loves school!
Walk with Kennedy
Kennedy began receiving services from Easter Seals at the tender age of three months. Now, four years old, Kennedy attends elementary school where she is learning her letters and sounds. Kennedy has received occupational therapy, speech therapy, and sensory integration therapies and attends “Super Saturdays” once a month at Easter Seals' Grand Rapids Center. Kennedy's mom, Michelle, shares, “My husband and I were so unsure of ourselves when Kennedy was born. We had no knowledge of Down Syndrome. Easter Seals welcomed us and helped give us a positive outlook on all of Kennedy's strides!”
Kennedy lives with her parents, and her two brothers, Austin and Quentin. She enjoys visiting her cottage and running down the dunes. She likes to color, put puzzles together, swim, ‘read’, play with babies and attend gymnastics. She always has time to give you a hug or a huge smile.
Today, Kennedy is an outgoing little girl unafraid to try anything. “We give Easter Seals a large part of the credit. They have been dynamic to work with, and have helped us make the future with Kennedy a positive experience. We know that Kennedy’s needs will be a life-long journey. We are thankful to Easter Seals for comfort, services, support, and most importantly loving our child for who she is!” ~Kennedy’s mom, Michelle
Walk with Casey
Casey is a seven year old boy, who has attended Easter Seals’ Grand Rapids Therapy Center since 2006. He receives occupational therapy and attended Easter Seals’ summer handwriting helper program to improve his handwriting skills. "Casey had a very difficult time with fine motor activities, such as drawing and coloring before starting therapy at Easter Seals, he would REFUSE to do anything that involved writing," says Casey's mom, Michele. "He couldn't regulate sensory input. He would chew on stuffed animals, walk on his tip topes, or put himself in an upside down position." Today, Casey draws without complaining, uses a Magic Doodle board, and likes to draw highway signs and numbers. He is fascinated with weather conditions and maps.
"Casey loves playing with his GeoTrax and Webkins toys and surf the Internet for weather information and maps. His favorite subject in school is math. He enjoys reading non fiction books and LOVES playing in the water. With Easter Seals’ help, Casey has improved fine motor skills and confidence. He keeps up with his peers, and has increased self esteem. Easter Seals has given Casey the tools to find his talents!" shares mom, Michele.
Walk with Margarett
You get back what you give… Margarett and her late husband Dan had served as the giving hearts and arms of Easter Seals for many years; yet, little did they know they would one day be on the receiving end!
They have enjoyed a rich history with Easter Seals, beginning in the early 1960’s when they would transport children with disabilities to summer camp.
Dan served as president of the Easter Seals board, and was instrumental in raising the funds necessary to build the current Easter Seals Children’s Therapy Center located on Saladin Drive in Kentwood!
In early 2005, they found they needed the services of Easter Seals’ Caring for Caregivers, a unique independent living skills program. “Dan had cancer surgery and dialysis and I had two back surgeries”, says Margarett. “We wanted to make home a safe place for us. Easter Seals installed equipment that made life so much easier and safer for us. It did us a world of good.”
Sadly, we lost Dan last year and Margarett still maintains, “Isn’t it wonderful that the organization we helped build is still here helping people? I tell everyone to go to Easter Seals. You get back what you give, in one way or another it’s just a wonderful organization.”
Walk with Andrew
Our son, Andrew was born January 24, 2004. Prior to his birth we were unaware that he had Down Syndrome. At first we thought we had lost the dream of a son, but over the past year, we have come to realize the dream has only been enhanced by his engaging personality and natural curiosity. When Andrew was initially diagnosed with Down Syndrome, the physician did tell us he had good muscle tone and encouraged us to get Andrew involved in an intervention program as early as possible. The week we came home from the hospital, one of my wife’s first calls was to Easter Seals because we had heard about their services for children with disabilities. We started Andrew at Easter Seals’ individual occupational therapy services when he was five months old.
With Easter Seals help and hard work, Andrew started crawling at ten months and since then he has constantly been on the go! He demands to be included in all activities and he likes to do everything his older sister does, whether it be swimming, wagon rides to the park, or playing in the family room. Easter Seals has been a big help to Andrew’s physical activity, but his motivations and desire comes from within himself. He is every bit and more the little boy we dreamed of! - Andrew’s Father