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Snowarama set for Feb. 11

Grand Portage Lodge and Casino Snowarama for Easter Seals is set to hit the trails Feb. 11.
Anne Marie Polhill (left), Frank Vecchio, Rhonda Harrison, Emilie Pike (pink jacket), Zachary Pylychuk (orange sweater)

THUNDER BAY – Snowmobilers from across Northwestern Ontario will be gearing up next month to hit the fresh trails and kick off the Easter Seals fundraising season.

Snowarama returns for its 14th year, and 13-year-old ambassador alumni Zachary said it’s his favourite Easter Seals event.

“I’m looking forward to seeing old friends, old faces and just catching up with some people,” Zachary said.

Being in a wheelchair, Zachary is often unable to attend winter events. Snowarama, however, is an exciting exception for the youngster.

For nine years, Easter Seals has been helping Zachary live a more independent life through the programs and services it provides.

Before having surgery Zachary was having a lot of trouble breathing.

“I was a lot shorter and it was crushing some of my organs, so having the surgery has helped me straighten out,” he said. “I went for surgery and Easter Seals helped a lot with the process and getting back home.”

Zachary added that Easter Seals is important because of how many other kids they help.

Easter Seals senior development officer Rhonda Harrison said throughout the past 14 years, Snowarama has raised more than $370,000.

“We help families purchase equipment for mobility, communication devices and summer camps,” Harrison said. “We help purchase wheelchairs, leg braces, bathroom modifications, lifts and summer camp opportunities.”

Harrison said the summer camp is great for families as it allows the youth to spend time with kids just like them.

The event takes place on Feb. 11 at Grand Portage Lodge and Casino with a longer ride that is about 120 miles and a short ride on the reservation that is about 35 miles.

To celebrate Snowarama’s 14th year, there will be 14 different prizes including two trips to Las Vegas.