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When a Canadian farm family needed help to ease a baby’s lagging development, Easter Seals was there.

Wheeling the waterfront, La Jolla, CA. (Hadi Dadashian photo)

Hadi Dadashian photo

It wasn’t called AT (assistive technology) then.

But the resources, professional staff and compassionate help from a big city organization made all the difference between disability and ability for a rural child.

The Easter Seals approach then, as now, was focused on independence and improving mobility/ability. Even as a small child, I appreciated how our family was treated with dignity and respect, at a time when disabling conditions carried a greater stigma.

A generation later, our family needed Easter Seals again.

The almost century-old organization opened its residence in Vancouver, B.C. — Easter Seals House — to my mom, so she could visit me in hospital every day for almost two months.

We didn’t even know about the place, but after a friend advised that it was a “home away from home” for families in distress, my mom found that it offered comfort and accessibility, in addition to a much lower cost than a city hotel room.

Such kindness makes all the difference in a whole family’s recovery. And, speaking personally and as a professional, recovery for the injured is speeded with the support of the whole family.

Since Easter Seals was founded by a grieving father in 1919, it has helped millions of children and their families in the United States, Canada and, later, Australia. That could include a wheelchair or other mobility aid, family education or links to much-needed resources, or a social opportunity — dances and other outings for teens with developmental disabilities, for instance. Easter Seals-funded transportation, for many, has allowed independence and aided families with strained budgets.

Easter Seals has evolved over the past century to help elders with disabilities, children and adults with brain injuries, and their caregivers. It has expanded to become one of the continent’s largest groups helping those with autism. Notably, the non-profit has stepped up to help veterans with combat-related disabilities, and their families.

Always, families too.

I’m giving $20 today to Easter Seals, in gratitude to the staff and volunteers who helped my family at different stages of our lives. It’s a small gesture, but it pays for one night at Easter Seals House in Vancouver, for example, when a child with disabilities is in hospital or needs medical care.

Giving on Sundays helps spread living in gratitude here, every Sunday.