Global Edmonton sports anchor Kevin Karius is at it again raising funds for Easter Seals Alberta. Golfers teed off Wednesday at the 17th annual tournament bearing Karius’s name.
The most important guest of the day was Grant MacEwan Griffin’s play-by-play commentator Travis May, the 2019 tournament ambassador.
“All these ambassadors that have been representing Easter Seals over the years, that’s what it’s all about and we are here to help them,” Karius said.
May was born without the use of his arms and legs, and recently took part in a pilot project with Easter Seals Alberta where his apartment was fitted with automation features to help make his life a little easier.
The door, lights, fans, blinds and TV are now all controlled by his phone, which he operates with his mouth.
“These are things now that I am doing myself instead of calling somebody to come do it,” said May.
It’s the Easter Seals mandate to assist people with disabilities so they can live better lives. Traditionally, the organization is known for providing accessibility equipment to those in need.
“If they are ineligible for government funding and grants, then we would provide wheelchairs and elevators and so on,” said the organization’s CEO Larry Mathieson.
Mathieson estimates the 2019 event raised $100,000. Three quarters of their funding comes from donations, and those dollars are used for much more than accessibility initiatives.
“Our kids that go to camp, at school you know they are Joe in a wheelchair,” said Mathieson.
“But at [Camp Horizon] they’re just Joe. They’re just like everybody else.”
Camp Horizon is nestled in Kananaskis Country. The more funding Easter Seals raises, the more kids that can go to camp, and more often, providing much-needed respite for their hard working caregivers.
“Our kids can have a lot of fun, but our parents can get a break and their families can get a break too,” said Mathieson.
The golf tournament has made a huge difference for Easter Seals Alberta over the years.
“We’re between $1.6 and $1.7 million raised since 2002 which is quite remarkable,” said Karius. “It’s very satisfying.”