Building bridges for Easter Seals, Muscular Dystrophy

A young man from Leduc is working to help two worthy charities.

FRIENDS HELPING FRIENDS – The annual Safeway fundraiser has kicked off June 12 in support of Easter Seals

FRIENDS HELPING FRIENDS – The annual Safeway fundraiser has kicked off June 12 in support of Easter Seals

The basis for any successful relationship is reciprocity. That is, when one friend is in need, another friend helps, and vice versa. That’s the basis behind a Leduc man pitching in to help raise funds at a local grocery centre June 12.

Leduc resident Tony Wannamaker was at the local Safeway last Friday to help raise funds for the team of Easter Seals Canada and Muscular Dystrophy Canada, with the help of some family and friends. Tony is autistic with communication issues.

For Tony, raising funds for this project is a labour of love, as the Easter Seals portion of the campaign benefits a summer activity Tony loves, Camp Horizon, a camp near Bragg Creek for campers with disabilities, but offering an amazing variety of activities including horseback riding, archery and much more. “You know, he has a lot of fun there,” said Wendy at Safeway. “He experiences things that we can’t do here.” Tony’s been attending the camp since 2010.

Tony’s mom Wendy was on hand Friday to help him out. She said Tony’s been helping raise funds this way for a couple of years now and the Wannamaker family feels strongly about the campaign as funds benefit some very grateful and excited people. Wendy also said Tony gets to be independent at camp.

Store manager Kelly Worobec said the funds were supporting a very worthy cause. “It’s really amazing what they do,” she said.

Easter Seals director of operations Jodi Zabludowski said the community is known for its generosity. “We really appreciate the community involvement in raising funds,” she said as they readied Tony’s in-store table.

This is the first time these two charitable groups have joined forces in a campaign to raise funds at Safeway stores this month. Safeway customers can donate $2 and get five bonus Air Miles reward miles, or $3 and get 10 bonus miles. Easter Seals is also supporting Safeway’s Feeding Ability program.

The Muscular Dystrophy Association is using their share of the campaign funds to support education and awareness of good nutrition and hydration and the effects of neuromuscular disorders on Canadians.

Camp Horizon annually hosts about 1,200 children, youth and adults living with disabilities or medical conditions and gives them the opportunity to master zip lining, rock climbing and other outdoor challenges, along with outdoor camping.

Since 2008 Safeway has raised $7.8 million for Easter Seals and $7.5 million for Muscular Dystrophy Canada. The campaign runs from June 12 to 28.