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Easter Seals 15-Year Old Youth Ambassador Gives Back to Community

March 04, 2011

Spring Campaign launches marking its 60th year of service to Albertans

Calgary, AB - Easter Seals Alberta officially kicked off the spring season today with the launch of its signature campaigns and a goal to raise $250,000 for Easter Seals kids. The 2011 provincial goal consists of $170,000 for the annual mail campaign and $80,000 for the Paper Egg campaign. The mail campaign will hit mailboxes around March 11th, and the Paper Egg campaign runs from March 28th to April 24th, 2011.

Elisa Neven-Pugh has been named as the 2011 Youth Ambassador for Southern Alberta. Every year Youth Ambassadors are appointed to represent Easter Seals and children across Alberta with disabilities and special needs. These individuals volunteer their time and educate others in their community with their life stories and high spirits.

Elisa is 15 years old and is in Grade 9 at Bow Valley High School in Cochrane. She lives with her parents, Sonja and Jay as well as her twin sister Josie.

Elisa and her sister were born three months premature and both weighed less than two pounds. As a result Elisa has spastic quadplegia Cerebral Palsy and cannot move without the aid of her wheelchair. She has undergone numerous operations and faces many challenges with her limited mobility. She is however, outgoing, adventurous, determined, cheerful and has an infectious laugh and smile. She enjoys many activities especially skiing, painting, hiking, singing, reading and daydreaming. Most of all she loves interacting with others of all ages and is wonderfully empathetic.

In the summer of 2010 Elisa attended her first Camp Horizon and revelled in meeting others with similar life circumstances. She had many adventures and felt a closeness to not only her campmates but also to the counsellors who took her into their hearts without reservation. She loved every activity especially the Giant Swing her stories and reminiscences are mostly of all her friends from camp who “see the person not the chair”.

Elisa has a strong desire to become an advocate for disabled rights and feels very privileged to be named the 2011 Easter Seals Youth Ambassador. She is very excited to help promote not only recreational programs for kids of all abilities but the understanding and acceptance for those same children as well.

"Elisa’s positive attitude and her selfless efforts to give back to her community and share her story in order to help others in need is motivational,” said Susan Law, CEO of Alberta Easter Seals. "She is an inspiration to all children and youth in Alberta and it is for this reason we are honoured to name her the Easter Seals Youth Ambassador for 2011."

Easter Seals is also gearing up for their upcoming Paper Egg Campaign, where customers at participating retailers of The Bargain! Shop, Peavey Mart and Booster Juice stores across Alberta are encouraged to purchase a colourful $2.00 paper egg in support of Easter Seals kids.

"The Paper Egg Campaign encourages all of us to give a little and help a big cause," said Law. "If everyone gives, even the smallest donation can change lives." Funds raised through the spring campaigns will offer Albertans with disabilities the tools they need to strive for independence and achievement. For 60 years, Easter Seals has assisted Albertans and their families through the provision of mobility equipment, communication devices, and home and vehicle adaptations. Funds raised will also help send over 1,600 children with disabilities and special needs to Easter Seals Camp Horizon where campers are encouraged to overcome challenges they never imagined possible.

Last year more than 221 Albertans of all ages were provided with more than $368,000 worth of equipment to extend their independence and mobility. The need for mobility equipment is ongoing. Easter Seals Alberta provides solutions that changes lives and requests continue to come in every day.

Albertans can support Easter Seals through the Paper Eggs Campaign, the historical Easter "Seals" mail campaigns, or by attending the Easter Seals We Care Ball on April 15th, and at Canada Safeway stores during March 28th through May 2nd, 2011.

For more information or to donate please visit www.easterseals.ab.ca or call 1.877.7EASTER (1.877.732.7837).

For more information, please contact:

Stephanie Rösch
Marketing & Public Relations
Easter Seals Alberta
Ph. 403.235.5662 Ext. 215
Fax: 403.248.1716
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Volunteer with Easter Seals

Did You Know Part 1

In 1951 Canadian Mothers began marches such as one led by Canada’s first female Cabinet Minister, Ellen Fairclough, MP for Hamilton West. As a result of their efforts, the research of Dr. Jonas Salk was well funded, creating the historic made-in-Canada cure for polio. Today, Easter Seals Alberta funds vital programs and services for adults with disabilities and special needs.