Ottawa woman thankful for March of dimes, urges...
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Jan 11, 2011  |  Vote 0    0

Ottawa woman thankful for March of dimes, urges people to donate

Ottawa East News

Lynn Lewis’ childhood was a blur of doctors trips, leg braces and problems with mobility.

The former Ottawa South resident was diagnosed with Legg Perthes — a degenerative disease of the hip joint, where the growth or loss of bone mass lead to some collapse of the hip joint — when she was six.

“Despite my mobility issues I tried everything,” Lewis said. “Seeing me on skiis was kind of a sight, since I could never get one of my legs to work properly and would go in all kinds of directions.”

From the ages of eight to 13, Lewis wore a brace and a lifted heel boot, but at times required a wheelchair to get around.

After her marriage, Lewis had three children, one of which suffered from a disabilities and has had to have more than 30 surgeries.

The March of Dimes has been there for the Lewis family through thick and thin.

“When I was in my thirties I had a staph infection in my hip and was no longer able to walk, so March of Dimes helped us with a wheelchair and a walker,” Lewis said. “Using that again was like meeting an old friend and I was happy flying down the hills in my new wheelchair.”

Now 59, Lewis said several bouts with cancer and fibromyalgia have made it impossible for her to use a manual chair, and March of Dimes provided an electric wheelchair. They also helped put a lift in her home and expand the couple’s shower in their new home in Williamsburg, Ont.

“Their help has allowed me to maintain the best quality of life possible,” Lewis said, adding that she would canvass for donations with her husband, son and daughter until her health deteriorated too much for her to do it.

“There are literally thousands of people in the Ottawa area who have been helped by the work March of Dimes does,” she said.

Talking with Lewis over the phone, you would picture a woman of perfect health, happy and bubbly even when discussing how one bout with cancer left her in excruciating pain for 18 months.

“I could die tomorrow. I have chosen to live life to the fullest,” she said. “I will not let my health problems rob me of my enjoyment of life and my family.”

Lewis said her health problems and positive experience with March of Dimes is one of the reasons she feels so strongly about getting people to donate.

January is the annual March of Dimes month and the organization’s largest fundraising campaign is under way for the 60th straight year.

The organization is counting on local community support and many residents of Nepean have been volunteering for the door-to-door campaign for a number of years.

Mary Lynne Stewart, director of fund development and communications for March of Dimes Canada said that the organization had a goal of $30,000 to be raised by the people of Nepean.

“With such a supportive community, I know everyone will do what they can so we can exceed our goal,” she said.

This year, 8,000 volunteers have been recruited to help fundraise.

The door-to-door campaign provides much needed support to the donor-funded programs, including the Assisted Devices Program (ADP).  ADP is supported 100 per cent by donor dollars and provides assistance to people towards the purchase of equipment such as: wheelchairs, bath aids, seating inserts and wheelchair cushions.

The local office is located at 2249 Carling Ave. and offers a whole host of programs, including job readiness, housing support and enabling stroke victims.

The campaign will be celebrated at the Westgate Shopping Centre with Max Keeping and Dominic D’Arcy on Jan. 25.

“They (March of Dimes) have really helped me lead a better life,” Lewis said. “There are so many people who have been helped.”

For more information on the campaign and how to volunteer, visit

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