Local youth ready to represent Kingston as 2024 Regional Easter Seals Ambassador

Kingston’s 13-year-old Dawson Stewart has been named the 2024 Regional Easter Seals Ambassador. Photo via Easter Seals Ontario.

A local youth, Dawson Stewart, has been chosen as the 2024 Regional Easter Seals Ambassador. Stewart will represent the organization in the Kingston region, utilizing his platform to share his story and advocate for children with physical disabilities.

According to a release from Easter Seals Ontario, in his new role, Dawson, 13, is eager to connect with his community and embrace new opportunities that will help him grow into the best young man he knows he can be.

“In a world full of diverse talents and perspectives, children and youth with physical disabilities have unique strengths and insights that deserve to shine. Easter Seals Ontario celebrates these differences and believes in magnifying the powerful voices that often go unheard,” the organization said in the release.

The Regional Easter Seals Ambassador program provides a unique platform for youth with physical disabilities to share their stories and develop advocacy skills, empowering them to speak up for themselves and others, Easter Seals Ontario noted. Through the Ambassador program, the organization hopes to encourage more kids with disabilities to pursue their dreams and make a positive impact.

Stewart was born with spastic cerebral palsy (CP), a condition that results in increased muscle tone. This causes stiffness in Stewart’s muscles, leading to challenges in coordination. Easter Seals shared that although Stewart’s CP mainly affects his legs, it impacts all four limbs. Despite facing difficulty in activities involving muscle use like writing or lifting, Stewart remains determined to be as independent as possible, according to the release. He primarily relies on his manual wheelchair and uses a walker for mobility.

Stewart was drawn to the role of an Easter Seals Ambassador because he aims to support fundraising efforts for children who require equipment to enhance their quality of life.

“I want to be able to meet children just like me and show them that life may have hurdles, but you will conquer them,” Stewart said.

“I would like to tell people to never judge a book by its cover; we are equal in life. We just want to have fun and enjoy life no matter what physical disability we have.” 

Since 1922, Easter Seals Ontario has been a leading provider of programs and services for children and youth with physical disabilities. The organization is a registered charity committed to empowering individuals with physical disabilities to reach their full potential and make their own positive impact on the world, according to the release.

Easter Seals offers a wide range of programs and services, including mobility and accessibility equipment funding, accessible summer camps, post-secondary scholarships, youth ambassadors, and advocacy and public awareness. According to the organization, Easter Seals is only able to provide these programs thanks to the generous support of its donors and sponsors. For more information or to donate, visit EasterSeals.org.

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