© Guardian photo by Jim Day
Brett Robinson can count on plenty of family support while serving as ambassador for the 2014 P.E.I. Easter Seals campaign. Brett, 15, of Mermaid poses with his older sister Jade and his parents Dave and Lynn following the campaign kick-off Monday in Charlottetown.
Brett Robinson looking forward to urge Islanders to dream big
Brett Robinson of Mermaid has plenty to say and quite a unique way to say it all.
He cannot speak in the literal sense.
Born with cerebral palsy, the teenager started with technical communication devices at the age of three.
His parents Lynn and Dave like to call their boy a non-traditional communicator as opposed to non-verbal because, as mom notes, 15-year-old Brett "does communicate but just not in the traditional sense of speech.''
Brett is using a Panasonic Tough Book with a Tobii communicator to get his words out today.
He spent hours with his older sister Jade recently preparing the recorded speech delivered Monday at the launch of this year's P.E.I. Easter Seals campaign.
Brett had no trouble communicating his enthusiasm over being selected as the 2014 ambassador. He rocked with excitement and emotion, smiled broadly and let out several joyous gasps moments before sharing his thoughtful speech.
Lynn noted shortly afterwards that all the main points delivered by Brett were Brett's and Brett's alone. Jade just helped little brother pull it all together into a tidy presentation.
"And he doesn't like you to put words in his mouth,'' Dave adds about his son.
"He's pretty stuck on what he wants to say.''
Brett's speech packed a pleasant punch.
He informed the audience gathered over the lunch hour at the Confederation Centre of the Arts of his condition. A lack of oxygen at birth resulted in cerebral palsy - a disease that has greatly limited his mobility, resulting in Brett mostly using a wheel chair but also getting around at times with a walker.
Brett stresses that cerebral palsy does not define him.
"I am me before CP,'' he says.
"I am a person before my difference of abilities...I enjoy life so much and do not miss out on a thing.''
In fact, Brett's world just got a whole lot more interesting as he sets out on his run as the 2014 Easter Seals ambassador.
Lynn says her boy was bubbling over with excitement when he first learned that he got the nod for the high-profile role.
"Very, very excited,'' she recalls.
"And then when things just kind of calmed down a little bit he looked at me and said 'Mom, I felt like that was a dream.'''
Brett told The Guardian he is most excited about the Tim Horton's Easter Seals School Tour that will take him to 65 schools across P.E.I. over just six days in April to encourage students to follow him in dreaming big and living life to the fullest.
"My motto is Think It...Dream It...Live It,'' he said in his speech.
"I work very hard for all of my achievements. I am determined and motivated by all the wonderful people in my life. Without their support it would be difficult. I thank Easter Seals for this amazing opportunity to help to build awareness.''
Tim Wolfe, chair of the 2014 P.E.I. Easter Seals campaign, says Brett embodies the role of ambassador.
"He's an amazing young man,'' says Wolfe.
"Today at (his) school he had all the kids at Charlottetown Rural chanting his name, wishing him well. So we know for sure he is going to be another successful ambassador.''