Looking to get their not-for-profit organization for children with special needs rolling, the Clemmer family of Drayton are getting their bike tires pumped and the chains greased in preparation for their second annual wheel-a-thon.Last year, Heather, Dean, twins Troy and Scott (12), Bella (9) and Emma (4) trekked from Stait Park in Fergus to the ABC park in Drayton, in an effort to raise awareness about their burgeoning charity, Bringing Heaven to Earth, which they are working to establish as a funding source for children with special needs.
On June 20, the gang are back at it, and this time, they’re starting at Elmira’s Gibson Park, home to Kate’s Place.
“We’re trying to go from one accessible park to another,” Heather said of the route, which stretches nearly 30-kilometres. “The idea came from our son Troy (who was born with cerebral palsy). A few years ago he mentioned the idea of riding across Canada (to raise money for charity). So we decided that we could start small, with a ride here, close to home.”
The Clemmers launched Bringing Heaven to Earth last year, in an effort to help families like theirs.
“We focus on a lot of the smaller items that don’t get covered (by standard health plans), and we know that first hand,” Heather said. “All of the little things add up, like the special shoes our son wears, cost $100, and he wears them out because of his gait pattern. And some parents need special helmets, which aren’t covered, or therapy mats, or iPads and iPods, which aren’t necessarily covered either. And even recreational equipment like bikes and special scooters and so that is what we’re trying to focus on.”
Families can apply for funding from the organization, which strives to fill the gap between government assistance and health insurance.
It’s a struggle the Clemmers know well, with Troy and their youngest, Emma, living with cerebral palsy.
Going forward, they’re hoping to transition the organization from not-for-profit to charity status.
More information is available at www.bringingheaven2earth.org/ or by calling 519-638-5001.