ErinoakKids Foundation

ErinoakKids Foundation

November 03, 2011 15:08 ET

ErinoakKids Foundation Honours Children's Courage, Potential

Awards Bring Pride and Joy to Local Young People

MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 3, 2011) - Seven young achievers who triumphed over disability will be on stage and in the spotlight at Mississauga's Living Arts Centre November 8 at 6 pm, to be honoured at an awards dinner hosted by sports broadcaster Gord Stellick. "This is an awards ceremony like none other," said Bridget Fewtrell, President and CEO of ErinoakKids Centre for Treatment and Development. "It honours young people who have had to strive in ways other children do not."

The 2011 Pride and Joy Award recipients, from Burlington, Mississauga, Milton, Oakville and Toronto, symbolize the spirit of striving and achievement at ErinoakKids, where they all are or have been clients. ErinoakKids is the largest of Ontario's 20 Children's Treatment Centres, providing services to almost 12,000 children with disabilities in Peel and Halton regions, and Dufferin County. This is the second year the ErinoakKids Foundation, which raises money for the Centre, has held its 'Oscars'-style dinner in honour of some of the Centre's most outstanding young people, in five categories.

The award categories and recipients are:

From Burlington: Winner of the Family Tree Award is Matthew Gray, 9, who always ensures that his sister, Cerys, is included and protected. Cerys, 5, has developmental delays and lacks a sense of danger. Matthew is her loyal lookout.

From Milton: Winner of the Branching Out Award is Tynan Brown, 7, who has transformed from a boy would not share or say 'hello' to an outgoing role model for his peers at ErinoakKids and an inspiration to his family. He now plays catch and rides bikes with his neighbourhood friends.

Also from Milton, winning in the Little Acorn category: Lauryn Heilesen, who at only four years of age sets an example of being positive, and pushing past physical and developmental challenges to achieve her goals.

From Mississauga, winner of the Branching Out Award is Dwayne Hines, 8, who has become a confident, motivated, sociable, talented and successful lad in school, despite the challenges of autism.

From Oakville, winner of the Reaching New Heights Award is Rachel Dean, 19. Due to Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy, Rachel lost her ability to walk just as she started high school but has distinguished herself with her academic success, her philanthropic achievements and her advocacy on behalf of others with disabilities.

Also from Oakville, winner in the Little Acorn category: Jaira Bataga, 6, who went from a child who did not speak or make eye contact to a little girl who communicates through sign language and, to the surprise and delight of her family, by using words.

From Toronto: Winner of the Mighty Oak Award is former client Bob McKay, 24, who refused to let the physical limitations of Freeman-Sheldon Syndrome confine his brilliant mind or limit his pursuits in life. McKay, now graduated from ErinoakKids and living independently, is a passionate advocate for those with disabilities and is pursuing a Masters Degree in International Relations. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of ErinoakKids.

"These exceptional young people offer hope and inspiration to others facing similar circumstances," said Paula Knight, a Board member at the ErinoakKids Foundation and Chair of the 2011 Pride & Joy Awards. Added ErinoakKids CEO Fewtrell: "We see so many young clients who need our services and work so hard to be their best, that it's important to recognize not only the skill of our professionals, but the commitment of the families and the young clients themselves. All of our success helping kids is based on the hard work of the children and families we serve."

The annual Pride & Joy Awards are part of the ErinoakKids Foundation's Pride & Joy campaign. This campaign is part of its ongoing efforts to raise money for services provided by ErinoakKids which go beyond the core services funded by the Ontario government. "These efforts are even more critical now that we have received government approval for construction of three new facilities for ErinoakKids, scheduled to begin next year," said Fewtrell. "Although the construction of the new buildings will be funded by government, we will need to rely on community support from donors for much of the furniture, fixtures and equipment. Fundraising is also essential to support services at ErinoakKids which go beyond our government-funded core programs, and which are extremely important for our clients."

Community support for ErinoakKids comes from some of Ontario's most well-recognized business names. The 2011 Pride & Joy Awards are presented by Rogers Communications Inc., and corporate sponsors include Microsoft Canada, TD Commercial Banking, Clinical Orthotics Consultants, Accenture Canada, and Empire Life Insurance Company.

Backgrounder: About ErinoakKids

  • ErinoakKids Centre for Treatment and Development is Ontario's largest Children's Treatment Centre (CTC) – serving approximately 11,700 children and their families each year, in the regions of Halton and Peel, and Dufferin County.
  • Clients have a wide range of physical and/or developmental disabilities such as spina bifida, cerebral palsy, traumatic injury and many other challenges including multiple and complex diagnoses. Some of the children have communication disorders, autism, or are blind or deaf.
  • ErinoakKids has more than 600 staff and currently operates from eight sites from which we provide a comprehensive array of medical assessment, therapy and support services to help children and their families.
  • Core service areas include: Medical services, autism services, communication services, physiotherapy and occupational therapy, and vision services.
  • The Centre also offers a wide range of additional services to clients who are receiving core services. The goal of ErinoakKids is to help each child to build on his or her unique strengths, and to maximize opportunities for independence, health and well-being. We also help families as they meet the challenges that come with having a child with special needs.
  • ErinoakKids works from a family-centred philosophy, with a focus on the strengths and resilience of our clients and their families. We have deep connections to the community, and partnerships with schools boards, other service providers and hospitals.
  • The Ontario government funds our core programs through the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) and many additional services at ErinoakKids. Further services, beyond those funded by government, are made possible by community support gathered through the ErinoakKids Foundation.

Contact Information

  • For more information on the 2011 Pride & Joy Awards event,
    please contact David Silburt
    905-855-2690 ext. 4449

    For more information on
    Pride & Joy or the ErinoakKids Foundation, please visit

    For more information about the work of
    ErinoakKids Centre for Treatment and Development,

    ErinoakKids Centre for Treatment and Development
    Bridget Fewtrell
    President and CEO