© Heather Taweel - The Guardian
Ashley Bernard, left, Jaedan Schaefer, centre, and Isaac Hood, right, welcome Brett Robinson, the 2014 Easter Seals ambassador, to West Royalty Elementary School. Robinson visited their school on Tuesday as part of his six-day school tour.
Applause erupted in the gymnasium at West Royalty Elementary School in Charlottetown as Brett Robinson made his way to the front of the room.
Brett, 15, is the 2014 P.E.I. Easter Seals ambassador and his entourage embarked on a six-day school tour on Tuesday. As part of the Tim Hortons school tour, he will visit 65 schools before the tour wraps up April 24.
The Grade 10 student from Charlottetown Rural High School was born with cerebral palsy stemming from a lack of oxygen at birth.The disease limits his movement so he uses a wheelchair.
He calls himself a non-traditional communicator and, with the help of the Tobii communicator on his Panasonic Tough Book, he is spreading his inspirational message to students across the Island.
When his family told him that he was this year’s ambassador, he said he felt like he was in a dream and on the tour, he has encouraged students to pursue their own dreams. His slogan for this year’s campaign is: Think it...Dream it...Live it.
“I want people to dream big and live their best life,” he said in his speech.
Brett said his disabilities do not prevent him from living his life.
“Cerebral palsy doesn’t get me down and don’t you think it does. I am a person before my disabilities and I hope the Easter Seals campaign can give Islanders with disabilities the support they need.”
The young ambassador pointed out the technology that enables him to communicate. He said he began using it at the age of three.
“I feel so lucky that I have a way to share my thoughts with the world,” he said. “I’m excited to see what my future will hold with the changes in today’s technology. Anything is possible.”
Brett thanked his parents, Dave and Lynn, his sister, Jade, his drivers from Pat and the Elephant and the staff of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital who helped him with his rehabilitation.
“They have enriched my life and for that I am very grateful,” he said. “I am determined and motivated by all the wonderful people in my life. Without their support, it would be difficult.”
Jade assisted Brett in preparing his speeches and with her help, he spoke to the Holland College human services class, and during a Health P.E.I. occupational therapy conference.
At the end of his speech Tuesday, Brett was presented with a $1,000 cheque from West Royalty Elementary. The staff and students raised the money through a pyjama day, a hat day and several other fundraisers for the 35th annual Easter Seals campaign.