HUNTSVILLE - The life of a young Huntsville boy is about to get a little easier, thanks to the work of a national charity that receives local support.
PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS:.
This weekend, Robinsons Your Independent Grocer staff and the Whale family will be collecting pennies for the President’s Choice Children’s Charity. The charity has recently assisted the Whale family with a $20,000 donation to buy a wheelchair accessible van for Hunter, who suffers from a form of Muscular Dystrophy. Pictured above from the left are Caroline Garbutt of Robinsons, Tracy Whale and her son Hunter, and Tyler Carpenter of Robinsons.
Ten-year-old Hunter Whale suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a disease that impacts one in 3,600 boys, which leads to muscle degeneration.
The Spruce Glen Public School student, who will soon turn 11, has to use a wheelchair to access his home and his school.
However, help in getting Hunter around is on the way in the form of the President’s Choice Children’s Charity, operated by the Loblaws Companies Limited.
The charity is making a $20,000 donation to the Whale family for the purchase of a wheelchair accessible van to help Hunter and his family.
“The wheelchair accessible van will help him to get in and out of the van on his own and will continue to give him his independence,” said his mother Tracy.
The charity’s mandate is to assist children with disabilities and childhood nutrition. Since 1989, the charity has awarded more than $72 million, assisting more than 10,000 families and funding 4,000 nutrition programs.
Maggie Rittenhouse, the marketing/public relations co-ordinator at Robinsons Your Independent Grocer, said that the charity’s administration and operational costs are funded by Loblaw Companies Limited, so that 100 per cent of every dollar donated goes to helping children and their families.
Tracy said that it was a relief when the family got the news about the $20,000 donation, waiting just two weeks since their application was filed to hear back with the good news.
“This is the first time assistance has been granted to us from a charity. Being able to get the wheelchair accessible van will take relief off the family, both financially and physically. As our children get older, it gets harder and harder to physically move them. Hunter will be able to get himself in the van pretty much on his own,” she said.
She added that she feels there is a lack of community education regarding disabilities.
“We tend to forget that those with special needs still would like to maintain their independence. As a result, there are still many challenges for people to be able to get around on their own.”
In order to help the charity continue helping children like Hunter, stores like Robinsons constantly fundraise with the idea of replenishing the fund.
Rittenhouse said that the store launched a paper icon sale, with proceeds from the $2 sale going toward the charity. The sale will last until March 7.
“We are also collecting everyone’s unused and unneeded pennies to put towards the charity. This coming Saturday (March 2), Hunter and his family will be at the store from 11 a.m. to noon to collect your pennies. We have been collecting pennies since the launch of our campaign and will continue to do so, until the campaign ends on March 7. We welcome everyone to support our charity, and to bring their rolled and unrolled pennies down to help support Hunter and other children with disabilities.”
Rittenhouse said that Tracy also requested, families bring the tabs off their pop cans and donate them as well for Community Living, which has a similar program that raises funds for children with disabilities.