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LETTER: Experiencing a pandemic with a disability

Brent Morning, longtime fundraiser for Easter Seals and Friends of We Care charity, shares his experience as a person with a disability during a pandemic
Brent Morning, at last year's Charity Golf Challenge for Friends of We Care and Easter Seals. Miriam King/Bradford Today

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Earlier this year, for the first time that I can recollect,  I read that a pandemic had been declared. 

I was concerned, but not overly concerned. 

Then, around the time of March Break when the schools were shut down completely, I became more scared as cases were rising in the province. 

After about a week of being really scared, I did some research, studying credible information from various public health units in my local area and across the province. I was also advised by my family doctor. 

The advice? To stay home and stay physically distanced from others;  if I did that, I would  have a low risk of catching the virus.

As the weeks passed, I became more relaxed.

At first, I was disappointed that my annual charity golf tournament had to be cancelled. The event, which has helped give me a positive mental attitude, involves many of my closest friends. Not only is it an important fundraiser for Friends of We Care and Easter Seals kids in the area, it has helped to maintain my positive attitude since my mom’s passing from pancreatic cancer in 2014.

But there have been positives, despite COVID.

I learned about ZOOM, and connect regularly with friends via phone and video chats.

Although my annual golf tourney was cancelled, I was able to encourage would-be donors to contribute to the cause online – and so far, the response has been very encouraging. 

Fortunately, I am proficient on Facebook and I have been able to post positive, encouraging words from time to time, which I hope will help people who may be struggling through these challenging times.

I was born with cerebral palsy. Until about 15 years ago, I was able to walk on my own; then a freak back injury resulted in me having to use a walker.

Having cerebral palsy, I have faced many challenges – but I have also met many people from all walks of life, and made connections across the country. I have been able to provide support to some, and I have been supported by others. 

So, I encourage anyone who may be struggling to reach out to a friend -  and those who are coping well, to reach out to those around them, to see if you can help. You just never know the difference you may make.

In the last little while, things have improved as we enter Stage 3 of reopening, and get used to the new normal. Let’s all work together to keep it that way!

-Brent Morning, King Twp.

Long-time fundraiser for Easter Seals and Friends of We Care charity, winner of the 2020 Gary Wright Humanitarian Award