If you open the Variety children’s charity Facebook page, the smiling face of Lucy Gallant greets you.
Lucy is a Quesnel child who has been diagnosed with Athetoid Cerebral Palsy, Chronic Kidney Disease, Global Developmental Delay and Auditory Neuropathy.
“They asked if I would want Lucy to be the poster-girl of the telethon, and of course I said yes, because that’s absolutely awesome,” Lucy’s mom Jody Gallant said.
Lucy received a special chair after a referral from her physiotherapist in Quesnel. After receiving the chair, Variety asked to share Lucy’s story.
“The chair is absolutely phenomenal at home,” Jody said.
“She eats via a g-tube, and so for her, she actually has to be sitting in an upright, kind of contained position while she eats three meals a day… It’s a really, really amazing chair, I’m super grateful for it.”
Jody said the chair allows Lucy to interact with her family while eating.
Over the past months, the Gallant family has been flown to Vancouver to film commercials and other features for Variety’s upcoming telethon, which is set to take place Feb. 24 - 26.
After filming the commercials the Gallant’s were surprised with a new bike for Lucy to use. Lucy is in kindergarten along with her twin sister, Lilly.
“(The bike) is absolutely amazing,” Jody said, noting the bike will need to be specially fitted for Lucy.
“She’s always looking to her sister, she’s out there riding her bike all the time, and Lucy desperately wants to join in, and she can’t… Having this bike is going to be amazing.”
Jody said it was challenging having disabled and abled twins.
“A part of us, is like everything is about Lucy, she needs a lot of attention and care, and trying to also balance the time with her sister so her sister doesn’t feel left out, but at the same time making sure Lucy doesn’t feel left out of things like bike riding,” she said noting the pair just turned six years old.
“(Lucy’s) seeing all her friends do things, and she wants to do those things to. She’s starting to get a little more independent, so her being able to pedal her own bike and have that bit of independence is going to be amazing for her.”
As Lucy is non-verbal, Lilly stepped in to deliver lines in the commercials advertising the telethon.
“(Variety) asked if Lilly wanted to be in the commercial and of course, she did,” Jody said.
“They asked if Lilly would be too shy, and I was like, ‘absolutely not.’ My kid is a ham for the camera, and she nailed her line first try.”
The 2022 edition on the Variety Show of Hearts telethon will be the 56th year. The charity helps children with special needs.
“The past two years have been challenging for us as a charity as we continue to see more and more families reaching out for support,” Cally Wesson, the CEO of Variety BC said in a news release.
“Two years ago, we received 10 grant applications a week and now we’re receiving over 10 applications a day. With the continued support of British Columbians, we’re hoping to help even more kids across the province in 2022.”
Lucy isn’t the only child in Quesnel who has been helped by Variety as of late.
Five-year-old Amara was was diagnosed with Down Syndrome and Global Developmental Delay along with hearing loss and visual impairment. He received adaptive seating from the charity.
Two-year-old Grayson was born with Cerebral Palsy and Allan-Herndon-Dudley Syndrome. His family received a van, which helps the family transport Grayson, who needs a wheelchair.
Earlier this month, an autism assessment grant was approved for Malcolm, a 3-year-old boy from Quesnel.
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