CIBC Children's Foundation helps create brighter futures for children with disabilities - Easter Seals Canada

CIBC Children’s Foundation helps create brighter futures and opportunities for children with disabilities

A young girl, in a wheelchair, dressed in a blue sweat shirt and pants, and pink striped socks. She is looking away from the camera, and is on an outdoor lift ramp.

Image above: Oneeka is seated in her wheelchair, and positioned on the outdoor lift ramp.

Before her family received a lift ramp for their home from Easter Seals, Gemma and her daughter, Oneeka, didn’t leave or venture out of the house very much. This is because Oneeka has a condition which requires her to use a wheelchair to move around and she had to be lifted, together with her wheelchair, whenever she goes out with her family. This issue was an increasingly urgent concern for the family as Oneeka continued to grow. According to Gemma, “we needed at least two people to carry her out of the house with her wheelchair. It was tedious for us, but more importantly, unsafe and a painful and stressful process for her as she would often cry in pain. Both her hips were dislocated, possibly from improperly moving her.”

Thanks to the support of CIBC Children’s Foundation, Easter Seals was able to procure and set-up a refurbished lift ramp for Oneeka so that her family can easily and safely take her in and out of the house, without needing to lift her out of her wheelchair. “Since we got the lift ramp, our lives have become so much better,” says Gemma. “I’m no longer worried about hurting my daughter when I move her, and she doesn’t cry anymore as it requires less movement for her. We can just put her on the lift ramp with her seated in the wheelchair.”

Far-Reaching Differences and Impacts of Accessibility Equipment and Devices

The impact and difference that the lift ramp has made for the family has been felt in many ways, and goes far beyond just being able to move Oneeka in and out of the house easily and safely. It has also opened up more opportunities and strengthened the well-being of the entire family.

“We go for walks around the neighbourhood constantly now, and it has been easier to get to all of her doctors’ appointments. As a single mother, I had to drop out of school to care for Oneeka but with the lift ramp I am able to return to school part-time because I can confidently and safely leave her alone with the caregiver now. I am so grateful to Easter Seals and CIBC for the lift ramp for my daughter, Oneeka, and for making our lives better.”

Gemma, parent

Gemma and Oneeka are just one of many families and households across Canada with children with disabilities that have been able to obtain much needed mobility equipment, accessibility and adaptive devices and technology, as well as home renovations, thanks to the support from CIBC Children’s Foundation for Easter Seals’ AccessAbility Program.

Between 2018 and 2020, CIBC Children’s Foundation contributed $150,000 to the AccessAbility Program, which enabled Easter Seals to provide direct assistance to 94 children and families, and a further 194 children indirectly through shared equipment.

The Importance and Need for Accessibility Equipment and Devices

The AccessAbility Program provides vital assistance to many families. Accessibility equipment can be very expensive, ranging from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars. These equipment would be subject to regular wear and tear due to the rigours of daily living, and may need to be upgraded as a child grows. As such, the costs of these equipment, on top of any medical costs, can add up for quickly for families/households with children with disabilities – and as a result, many families make do with ill-fitting equipment or without any equipment at all. This issue is echoed in Statistics Canada’s most recent Survey on Disability, which found that 1.6 million Canadians with disabilities were unable to afford the aids, devices or medications they require due to costs, and more than 8 in 10 people with disabilities report requiring the use of assistive technology or specialized equipment to help them move, communicate, learn or carry out daily life activities.

The support of CIBC Children’s Foundation for the Easter Seals AccessAbility Program is therefore critical and important. For many of us, technology provides convenience or makes our lives more interesting. But, for kids and families living with disabilities, accessibility equipment and assistive devices are much more than that. They are essential to everyday life, and to overcoming and mitigating the often significant physical and invisible barriers and challenges they encounter on a daily basis in the world. For these kids, technology can truly be a life-changer, and enables them to live, learn, and play safely, confidently and with dignity, and empowers them to pursue their dreams and aspirations.

For more information about CIBC Children’s Foundation, visit #CIBCChildrensFoundation, #CIBCMiracleDay, #HelpingKidsRiseAbove

For more information about the AccessAbility Program and how to become a sponsor, please contact Easter Seals Canada at 

Impact stories from more families

Image of a young boy and his mumWhen our son Benjamin was 2.5 years old, our world changed when we discovered that he has moderately severe, bi-lateral sensorineural hearing loss. Once we overcame the natural feelings of parental guilt in not recognizing the signs earlier, sadness for all the things he missed out on prior to his diagnosis, and the uncertainty about his future, we became driven to ensure that Benjamin exceeds every goal and overcome any obstacle placed before him. Through the support of the CIBC Children’s Foundation and Easter Seals, we acquired a Phonak Roger microphone. The microphone has been an important tool for Benjamin. Read more…

Carter’s form of Dyslexia prevents him from learning phonetically, and his reading and writing are not an accurate reflection of how bright and intuitive he is. He absorbs facts and other detailed information like a sponge. The applications and programs this device offers will help him to advance in his education beyond these limitations. We were thrilled to learn that Carter had been selected as a candidate for the assistive learning device. This device will help Carter break past those challenges and enable him to rise beyond the limitations that Dyslexia can bring. Read more…