© 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.
2014 ambassador Brett Robinson calls on Islanders to dream big and do their best
Inspiration comes in many shapes and forms and a shining example of it was on display Monday in Charlottetown in the person of Brett Robinson, who was introduced as the Easter Seals ambassador for the 2014 provincial campaign. Each ambassador comes up with a motto and Brett told those on hand for the campaign launch that his is: “Think it ... Dream it ... Live it!”
Brett, who will soon turn 16, is the son of Lynn and Dave Robinson of Mermaid and is a Grade 10 student at Charlottetown Rural High School. A lack of oxygen at birth resulted in him developing Cerebral Palsy, which confines him to a wheelchair and walker, and means he has to speak through a computerized communication device.
But the device has been a great blessing in that it allows him to communicate, a most vital of all human needs. And communicate he did on Monday, telling the launch audience about the many things he loves (driving on the back of his father’s motorcycle, singing at bonfires, kayaking) and how thankful he is for his family, friends and his support system, including the drivers for Pat and the Elephant.
The Easter Seals campaign is an annual project of the Rotary clubs of Prince Edward Island that raises money to help Islanders with disabilities. It has been well supported through the years. Last year’s campaign raised approximately $140,000, some $10,000 more than the target. Organizers are hoping for similar success this year.
To help with that, a number of events are planned, including fundraisers at a Charlottetown Islanders’ hockey game and Island Storm basketball match, Easter Beef Sale, musical concerts, a pancake breakfast and a pool tournament.
Lt.-Gov. Frank Lewis, on behalf of Fanningbank, made the first donation on Monday, quickly followed by cheques from the province, opposition politicians and representatives of the cities of Summerside and Charlottetown and town of Montague.
Public awareness is also an important part of the campaign. Ambassador Robinson will visit 65 schools from one end of Prince Edward Island to the other to meet and speak with students.
A number of former Easter Seals ambassadors were on hand Monday to welcome Brett and help kick off the new campaign, including the 2013 ambassador, Paxton Cole. With a big smile on her face, she told Brett he is in for “an awesome experience.” She also spilled the beans on an important perk: ambassadors get to eat as many donuts as they want while on the tour bus.
While many people may look at Brett and only see the challenges he faces, thankfully he does not have that attitude. “I want people to dream big and live their best life,” he said in his address. “I am excited to see what my future will hold.”
Twain, P.E.I. finally meet
There are music superstars and there’s Shania Twain. The country diva is in a melodic stratosphere by herself. So P.E.I. 2014 Inc. scored a huge coup by signing her to headline Founder’s Week in Charlottetown this August 30 leading up to the actual 150th anniversary date of Sept. 1, 1864, when the Fathers of Confederation began their meetings.
It took more than a year to lure the country queen to Charlottetown. An appeal was made to her patriotism to help celebrate this historic occasion in Canada’s history. She had never played on P.E.I. before and Ms. Twain very likely was brought up to speed that P.E.I. has a successful tradition in drawing huge crowds to big-name country acts after the string of successes at the Cavendish Beach Music Festival. Only 28,000 concert-goers will be rewarded with the hottest Twain ticket in town.