Volunteer Spotlight: Liam Tangney. Favourite season in Canada: Summer!

Volunteer Spotlight: August 2018

Volunteer Spotlight: Liam Tangney. Favourite season in Canada: Summer!

As we dive into the second part of 2018, we’re continuing to recognize and showcase our volunteers in these spotlights to show that volunteers are just like you! Volunteers will always be an important part of the service we give here at March of Dimes Canada. Thank you to all of our volunteers for your hard work, dedication and enthusiasm.

Meet Liam, our spotlight for August.

August Volunteer Spotlight

Name: Liam Tangney

Nominated By: Jordan Meron

Position Description: Fundraising Assistant

Age: 25

How long have you been an MODC Volunteer? 1 year

What is your favourite part about volunteering with MODC? 

The people that I volunteer with, and the fact that I get to give back to MODC for all the help they gave me in getting my job at Cineplex.

What’s your favourite season in Canada and why? Summer! I love the warm weather, and being able to be outside often.

What’s a hidden talent that you have that the people at MODC may not know about? I’m very good at analyzing sports games!

If you could have any meal in the world, what would you choose? I would choose chicken fingers and fries!

A favorite place you have traveled to? Buffalo, NY

Jordan Meron talks about why she nominated him as Volunteer Spotlight for this month:

“Liam has done great work for our fundraising team! He has a great personality. He treats everyone with respect and kindness, no matter what the situation is. Liam manages “thank you” calls amazingly, even when there are times it can be quite stressful. The commitment he has to his role is something that has not gone unnoticed! He works very hard every time that he comes in, and does a fantastic job with the tasks he is given. We really appreciate everything that he has done for us; we are so lucky to have volunteers like Liam!”

Volunteer Spotlight: Liam Tangney. Favourite season in Canada: Summer!


If you’d like to learn more about March of Dimes Canada’s volunteering opportunities, please visit this landing page from the website: http://bit.ly/MODCVol

Malic, the superhero!

Words by William Shatner


Malic was born in Dubai and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as an infant when his parents noticed he wasn’t meeting important developmental milestones. They immediately found physiotherapy for him, and continued to maintain a similar structure for him at home, reinforcing what he was learning in his therapy sessions. Though steady, his progress was slow.

Malic at the museum!

Malic’s parents had heard of Conductive Education® (CE), but it wasn’t offered in Dubai. After the family moved back to Canada, they signed Malic up for March of Dimes Canada’s Conductive Education Summer Camp where they learned that the sky was the limit for this bright and engaging young boy!


After their first assessment, the family walked away feeling hope and excitement! The great staff at March of Dimes Canada knows that it is important not only for Malic to believe that he can do anything and everything he wants to do, but that his family believes it too! Malic is continually given challenges that are outside his comfort zone, and he rises to the occasion every time! He is always quick to say “I can do it myself…”


Those are words we LOVE to hear at March of Dimes Canada. Those words are why we do what we do.

He loves superheroes, but to me, Malic is the superhero!

Malic’s accomplishments are all 100% his own. He loves to dance, listen to music and play video games just like any other boy. He loves superheroes, but to me, Malic is the superhero! The love, compassion and determination he shows every day of his life exemplifies the March of Dimes spirit.

People like Malic are why I support March of Dimes Canada. I hope Malic’s story will inspire you as it has inspired me.


I am also pleased to remind you that March of Dimes Canada has been accredited by Imagine Canada’s Standards Program for excellence in financial accountability and transparency, fundraising and governance. Learn more about our Conductive Education® Program by visiting the following link: http://bit.ly/ModcCEP

Eva M. received much needed support from MODC's Assistive Devices Program!

Let’s Talk About: Eva M.!

Eva M. received much needed support from MODC's Assistive Devices Program!

Eva is a 61 year old female living in a retrofitted apartment in Barrie, Ontario. She has multiple sclerosis, which limits her mobility to using a power wheelchair to get around and make herself comfortable. Her previous chair was 4 years old and broken beyond repair.

Eva’s occupational therapist (OT) helped her apply to the Ministry of Health’s Assistive Devices Program, which approved 75% funding for a new power wheelchair that cost $5,427.60. This left Eva with 25% to cover. Her finances were very limited, so she knew she wouldn’t be able to afford this necessary piece of equipment. Her occupational therapist helped her apply to the Independent Living Services of Simcoe County & Area, the MS Society, and March of Dimes Canada’s Assistive Devices Program.

The Assistive Devices Program (ADP) http://bit.ly/ModcADP helps people with disabilities across the province to pay for the cost and maintenance of basic mobility devices, as well as home and bath safety equipment. ADP is one of March of Dimes Canada’s charitable programs that is supported entirely by donor dollars (including via the Door to Door campaign). Many of the people who benefit from ADP live on an income of less than $15,000.00 per year, meaning that assistive devices are often financially out of reach. At ADP, every dollar is stretched to its fullest potential so staff can provide necessary, life-changing devices to Ontarians who desperately need – but can’t afford – them.


Eva’s November 2015 application was denied, so she continued her fundraising efforts. In January 2016 –with some funding through the MS Society behind her – March of Dimes Canada’s Assistive Devices Program was able to help out. The result: a fully funded new power wheelchair.

The power wheelchair has been ordered and Eva is very excited because her current wheelchair is unsafe – pieces are falling off and the foot component is dragging. She says that, if she has to take it out, she has difficulty negotiating ramps and is very nervous. Eva knows the new wheelchair will make her feel more secure and confident.

“This wheelchair will keep me independent and out of long-term care and just having it lifts my spirits.”

Eva is very grateful to March of Dimes Canada’s Assistive Devices Program for the support, and March of Dimes Canada is equally grateful to the donors who make it possible for us to help people in the Barrie area. Eva now has peace of mind and a safe way to get around in her apartment and her community.

ADP as mentioned, is also partly funded by our Door-to-Door Program, which runs from November to late March. If you’re interested in volunteering as a canvasser for this year or the following, please email us at info@marchofdimes.ca with “Door-2-Door Volunteer” in the subject header! You can also become an online canvasser at www.mymod.ca/doortodoor

"Maida de Stein has been canvassing for MODC for over 2 decades!"

Let’s Talk About: Maida De Stein!

"Maida de Stein has been canvassing for MODC for over 2 decades!"

Written by Tina Siegel

Maida de Stein has been canvassing for March of Dimes Canada for over 2 decades, just like her mother used to do, and she has it down to a science.

Every year, Maida gets out her lists of phone numbers and addresses, and calls ahead to ask for pledges. She keeps careful records, then only goes to the homes of people who have agreed to donate. It’s quick and efficient.

That’s one secret to Maida’s success: organization.

‘But it’s a chance to catch up sometimes, too,’ she adds. ‘I know everyone on my route. I have a personal relationship with them.’

Maida goes beyond her route, as well. She approaches relatives, friends, members of her book club and tai chi class – anyone who might be willing to donate, or who has donated in the past. This often takes her well beyond her assigned canvass.

That’s another secret: personal relationships.

Maida also gives as much as she gets. She’ll often propose an exchange – you donate this much to my charity, and I’ll donate the same amount to yours. Everyone wins.

And that’s the last secret to Maida’s success: mutual benefit.

The result: Maida is one of MODC’s most successful canvassers, raising about $1,500 every year for a total of nearly $12,000 since 2002. She’s the first to acknowledge that it’s hard work, but also that it’s worth it.


Every dollar Maida collects goes straight towards supporting kids like Zachary (see photo), who are benefitting from MODC’s innovative Conductive Education® (CE) program. CE is designed to help people with neurological motor disorders like cerebral palsy or Parkinson’s to gain mobility and more independence. http://bit.ly/ModcCEP

‘It’s a tough job,’ she says, ‘but very rewarding.’

If you’re interested in volunteering as a canvasser for this year or the following, please email us at info@marchofdimes.ca with “Door-2-Door Volunteer” in the subject header!

Let’s Talk About: Larry Grovum!


Larry Grovum has been a Door-to-Door canvasser and Area Captain for five years now. In that time, he’s raised a remarkable $5,512.05 on his own. As Area Captain, Larry is also the driving force behind his entire zone – not only does he support his fellow canvassers, he also takes over many of the un-canvassed routes in his area.

As if that weren’t enough, Larry doesn’t wait for the weather to cooperate before he starts.

When you get out in bad weather, Larry explains in an email interview, ‘people read this as commitment and give more.’ But, he adds, you can’t take rejection personally. ‘Some will give, and some won’t. Thank people for their time and move on.’

Larry Govrum
Larry Grovum

Asked why he started canvassing in the first place, Larry replies: ‘I wanted to give a helping hand to people living with disabilities. I continue, because the need continues.’

In his half-decade of canvassing, Larry has enjoyed some memorable moments. One gentleman had been approached by four or five canvassers for other organizations that same day, but still gave Larry $20. Another refused to answer when Larry knocked on the door of his very expensive home. ‘But,’ as Larry observes, ‘it takes all kinds to make a world.’

The people who impress him most, he says, are the university students. ‘They’re generally poor, but they scurry around, searching for change, then apologize for not being able to give more.’

If you’re interested in volunteering as a canvasser, please email us at info@marchofdimes.ca with “Door-2-Door Volunteer” in the subject header!


Mark’s Strive for a Ride

By:  Tracy Lomond

I knew 7 months ago when we decided to start fund raising for a wheelchair accessible van for Mark that it would be a huge challenge. What I didn’t expect was that it would turn out to be like a full time job, one that would not only change me but other family members as well. It is funny to look back and see a family of very shy and passive people actually going up to strangers and asking for money, merchandise, and haggling prices at flea markets all in the name of making money for Mark. Mark is a 17 year old boy with severe cerebral palsy who is wheelchair bound and requires full time care. He is non verbal and for those of us who know him best you can either tell what he wants just from experiencing his daily routine, by his smiles for yes or shaking of the head for no or sometimes you can just see it in his beautiful blue eyes.  In the past two years he has had three hip surgeries and numerous treatments and appointments in Halifax, at least 9 in the past year. There hasn’t been very many months out of the past two years where we were not making a trip to the IWK. It’s heart breaking to see him go through so much. He has such a frail small body but a huge lovable personality. Once the hip surgeries were over and the chronic pain managed we decided it was time to take on the challenge of fund raising for the van. Not just because of the frequent trips to Halifax or the fact that the van we are currently driving will not see past this November’s inspection but because in February Mark will turn 18, an age when programs seem to expire as 19 is considered adulthood. The 9 trips I mentioned earlier, well those were not easy considering I had to borrow a vehicle to make the trips. I am scared to take the van I am currently driving the 22 km trip to his doctor, I certainly did not feel it could go the 400km one way trip to Halifax. So starts our journey.

One of our first fund raising ideas was selling tickets on a dozen of lobsters and 24 beverages. This was a hugely successful endeavor. Then I made up a sort of information package that I started e-mailing to everyone I could think of from local businesses to Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Gates. The information package included a flyer with Marks picture and a brief description of the purpose of the fund raiser, a letter from his occupational therapist supporting our efforts, and finally a letter from me describing in detail our situation and why we were doing the fund raising. I describe the fund raising as a full time job because it sort of took on a life of its own. We found ourselves at various malls selling tickets, gathering donated household items or clothing that we then sold off at flea markets almost every Sunday, a benefit dance, a merchandise bingo, personal donations, and even applying for any grant I could find on-line. I kept a journal of every e-mail, phone call, flea market, and a count of every book of tickets sold.

Through our personal efforts stated above and donations from clubs such as the Lions Club, the Kiwanis Club, the Royal Canadian Legion, Sydney Mines Seniors Pensioner Club and gift certificates for prizes from numerous local businesses we raised just over $12, 000. We were ecstatic to learn that we were approved for a $20,000 grant through the President Choice Children’s Charity. This was a huge piece of funding towards our goal and it definitely kept the family motivated. A huge donation of $5,000 was made by an anonymous donor. We couldn’t believe how generous people truly are. Then we won a contest through the March of Dimes and Pennzoil for $15,000 towards the retrofit (modification and conversion for wheelchair accessibility) of a vehicle. Global News Halifax picked up the story and we were on camera Nov 1st explaining our journey.

L to R: Mary Lynne Stewart, Travis Gunn, Michelle Watt, Tracy Lomond, Mark Lomond

That night at the annual Rock for Dimes concert, at the Cunard Arena in Halifax, we were presented with the contest winnings.  It was a trip that none of my family members that were able to attend will soon forget. Finally, an anonymous donor gave us the remainder of the funds approx $2,000 to complete our goal. What usually takes 1 to 1 ½ years to do, we have accomplished in six months. We are truly blessed to have friends, family, and strangers who supported our cause and allowed our journey to end with a new Dodge Grand Caravan modified with a wheelchair ramp. To say that having this van will change our lives is an understatement. It is crucial to have a reliable vehicle to travel back and forth to Halifax every 3 to 6 months (depending on the effect of the treatment) for Mark’s treatments. It is projected that these treatments will be ongoing for many years, if not for the rest of his life. With such health obstacles and life challenges, one realizes what’s important in life, and what I think I’ve learned the most is that we have to appreciate life. I believe it’s all about perspective; life is so short and frail. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for my family, friends and most of all my two children, Mark and Aaron. I cannot begin to express my gratitude to those who donated gifts, merchandise, money, their time and prayers. All I can say is, “Thank You, and God bless you as he has blessed me.”

I wanted to share my story, not because it was a successful journey in such a short amount of time, but because I wanted to inspire people to never give up or to be scared of a challenge… it is truly worth it in the end!


Tracy Lomond