Students at Conestogo and St. Jacobs public schools with conditions like asthma, diabetes and allergies will now be supplied with Medic Alert bracelets free of charge, courtesy of the St. Jacobs Lions Club.
The Lions are sponsoring the two schools through the No Child Without program, which offers bracelets to any child who needs one from age four to their 14th birthday.
The bracelets carry the child’s member number, medical condition and the number for the 24-hour emergency hotline. In an emergency, school staff or medical personnel can call the number to get information on existing medical conditions, current medications, special needs and physician and family contacts. Parents are also immediately notified in case of an emergency involving their child.
“It’s a terrific program,” said Dennis Lougheed, spokesperson for the St. Jacobs Lions.
“Lots of kids come from families where the money’s not there or maybe they’re not even aware of [the program] … They’re being made aware of it and they don’t have to worry about the money.”
The benefits of the program continue after age 14; from 14 to 18, children who were part of the No Child Without program get a 40 per cent discount on the annual Medic Alert registration fee.
The program was launched in 2006 in partnership with Lions Clubs of Canada. Clubs provide funding to expand the program into their local schools; currently more than 4,500 schools across Canada are registered with the program.
The Waterloo Region District School Board implemented No Child Without in early 2007, making it available in a handful of elementary schools. When the St. Jacobs Lions decided to get involved, they had to get permission from the school board, as neither of the two schools were on the initial list.
Bringing the program to Conestogo and St. Jacobs cost about $1,600 per school, with the money coming from the Lions’ charitable fundraising efforts.
Lougheed said the program was a natural fit for the Lions. The St. Jacobs club is already involved with the schools through their annual peace poster contest, child identification kit and regular eye testing for kindergarten classes.
“We had some funds that were available and looked at this one and said, ‘this looks like a good program.’”