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