Tuesday, 10 October 2017
MARCH OF DIMES, EDIT EXHIBIT | WILCOX VOLUNTEER, TORONTO
Making the Inaccessible, Accessible
We're proud to introduce this month's volunteer, Tom Cunningham, our Business Development Coordinator.
Tom chose to volunteer at this year's Edit: Design Expo in support of March of Dimes; "programs and services to maximize the independence and community participation of children & adults with disabilities."
But why did he choose to support this cause?
"Tom Cunningham (too tall) as he is affectionately known, was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) from his jaw to his toes at the age of 5. Forty-nine years later, he has been hospitalized about 40 times and had 4 hips, 4 knees and 2 shoulders replaced. Tom endures constant, chronic pain in 3 to 6 joints at all times, ranging in severity from day to day achiness."
For over 65 years, March of Dimes has provided services from the medically-fragile, to seniors, families, caregivers, employers and health insurance companies.
As you can imagine, Tom must overcome struggles which we take for granted, daily. Take feeding the dogs, for example. Placing bowls on the ground is one challenge, but what if the bowls spill? Below you can see a concept feeding device made out of recycled objects that attaches a long handle to a feeding tray, virtually minimizing the need to bend over or worry about spills. Happy dog, happy life, right?
"Despite his physical challenge, Tom always answers AMAZING when asked how he is doing. He tells people that 80% of the time it is true and the other 20% is simply a reminder that it is in fact, true. Why? 4 out of 10 people in the world live on less than $2 per day. He goes on to say that he is no nicer or more deserving than them to have been born, and still live, in Canada."
This brings us to Mazin Aribi, another March of Dimes volunteer. Originally from Iraq, Mazin was diagnosed with Polio, which left him paralyzed within 36 hours at the age of 22. For an active adolescent, this came as an unexpected and life-changing experience. He then came to Canada to receive treatment at 25 and stayed here thereafter.
What can we learn from him? "Disability can happen to anyone at anytime. You need to accept that life is full of surprises; the good, the bad and the ugly. Secondly, "when you are forced to face a situation, you have no choice but to accept it." Mazin lives each day by making the most of what he can still do; thinking "it could have been worse."
These individuals are prime examples of living life to the fullest. We're thankful to have experienced this exhibit as part of the Wilcox Volunteer Program.
* The March of Dimes Installation was held in the Health Tech Pavillion at