You may recognize Kendra McInnis from the hundreds of Rotaryfest Take Your Pick Draw posters that are currently on display across Sault Ste. Marie.
Kendra is one of the many children in Sault Ste. Marie who benefit from the Take Your Pick Draw through its support of charities like Easter Seals and THRIVE Child Development Centre. Last Monday, the Take Your Pick Draw team was thrilled to learn from the McInnis family that Easter Seals will be covering the lease of Kendra’s writing aids and communication device.
“Due to Kendra’s complex needs, it is costly to ensure that she has the necessary equipment to assist her with her daily activities, physical activities, communication, and academic needs,” shared Kendra’s mother, Sherry. “We truly appreciate [the community’s] support with helping our daughter thrive and reach her full potential on a daily basis. We are forever grateful!”
Kendra has Dystonic Cerebral Palsy which affects her muscles. Kendra has difficulty verbally expressing her words and thoughts clearly on a regular basis and requires a communication device to allow other people to understand what she is saying. Kendra types what she wants to say, then presses a button which enables the device to speak out loud on Kendra’s behalf. Kendra’s communication device and writing aids help her to clarify what she wants to verbally say to her family, friends, personnel at school, and within the community.
Kendra’s writing aids system includes her computer, a keyboard with a specialized key guard, and an eye gaze system. Kendra’s muscles tire more easily due to having CP, and the system allows her to alternate between typing with her fingers while her eyes rest or typing with the use of her eyes while her hands and arms rest. The system also allows Kendra to access all of her school assignments from home to work on projects, do homework, and catch up on any missed assignments so that she can keep up with her grade three peers.
Raising a child with physical disabilities can cost up to an additional $20,000 a year, which means Rotary-supported organizations such as Easter Seals and THRIVE are crucial resources for families.
There is still time to purchase a Rotaryfest Take Your Pick Draw ticket for this Saturday’s draw, taking place at 9:00 pm. There are three great prize packages for the grand winner to choose between, but the greatest prize of all is knowing that children like Kendra are able to experience freedom, independence and a sense of accomplishment.