Barrie celebrities put best foot forward for Easter Seals Ontario

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Barrie celebrities put best foot forward for Easter Seals Ontario

There was a strong showing of support Friday night as some of Barrie’s most well-known faces rallied together with one cause in mind.

Liberty North hosted the 11th annual Dancing with the Easter Seals Stars. The event matches local celebrities and established business titans with professional dancers to raise money for Easter Seals Ontario. The organization works to provide support to youth and young adults with physical disabilities.

“The community of Barrie and the surrounding area have been amazing supporters for Easter Seals,” said Kevin Collins, the organization’s president and CEO.

Last year the organization marked its 100th anniversary of helping those facing physical disabilities. The ‘Dancing with Easter Seals Stars’ fundraiser is held in many cities throughout the province and brings in thousands of dollars annually.

“The funds that are raised tonight are going to allow us to ensure that they get the proper mobility and accessibility equipment that they need to go to school, to live at home and just be kids, and the chance to go back to summer camps, to learn life skills, meet their friends; things that they will treasure for a lifetime,” Collins said.

The organization also provides post-secondary scholarships to the youth that it helps.

On Friday, over 250 people attended the gathering with the goal of raising $75,000. Over the years, Barrie’s event has brought in approximately $300,000 for Easter Seals Ontario.

One of this year’s celebrity judges was former CTV Barrie Anchor Jayne Pritchard, who has used her platform to support the organization for years. But this year was her first as a judge.

“It’s important that we contribute to our community,” Pritchard said. “We all have something to give, whether it be coming to watch…or dancing, or judging, because it helps children go to camp in the summer, for instance, or get the wheelchairs or walkers that they need!”

While the event goes by in just a couple of hours, the volunteer dancers have been preparing for the last few months, ensuring their routines are nailed down just right.

“I was very focused on fundraising, which kept my mind occupied; I wanted to make sure I raised enough funds,” said Ryan J. Anderson, one of the businessmen matched with a professional dancer. “Then you come four or five days out from the competition or the performance per se, and it hits you like a brick wall that you’re actually dancing in front of 300 people, and you better practice every spare minute you have.”

For more information on the event and Easter Seals Ontario, you can click here.

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