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Easter Seals launches virtual Snowarama fundraiser

Event crucial to organization's efforts, as pandemic limits fundraising and increases need for support, Easter Seals says
Emily Pike Tony Swader
Emily Pike and Tony Swader, president of the Grand Portage Trail Riders, help kick off the 2020 Snowarama for Easter Seals Kids at J&J Sports. The event will take place on in Grand Portage, Minn. (File photo)

THUNDER BAY – Easter Seals Ontario is appealing to local snowmobilers to continue their historic support of the organization’s Snowarama fundraiser, despite some COVID-19 adjustments.

The pandemic has hampered fundraising efforts, while increasing the need for the charity’s services, organizers said.

“The pandemic has really hit Easter Seals children hard,” said Easter Seals Ontario president Kevin Collins. “They’ve lost access to therapy and other support services as well as social activities.”

The organization helps children with physical disabilities purchase assistive mobility and communications devices and offers summer camp opportunities, among other services.

A virtual version of the popular Snowarama event will be particularly crucial to local fundraising efforts, said senior development officer Rhonda Harrison, after several other events were cancelled due to COVID-19.

“It’s been a challenge to do any fundraising for these kids,” she said. “A lot of our fundraising has been put on hold – our celebrity hockey classic, our roast.”

The local Snowarama has traditionally been held at the Grand Portage Lodge and Casino. The 17th annual event in 2020 drew more than 150 riders, raising $46,000 for the cause.

This year, participants can register online and complete the ride on their own schedule anytime between Jan. 23 to Feb. 28.

Riders can win prizes including a generator, gift certificates, and more. Those interested can learn more at Snowarama.org or call (807) 345-7622.