The gift of getting around

A Nelson woman is grateful for the support of the Variety Club of B.C. in helping provide a special walker for her 2½ year old son.

Todd St. Pierre is getting around using a mobility system purchased with the Variety Club’s help.

Todd St. Pierre is getting around using a mobility system purchased with the Variety Club’s help.

A Nelson woman is grateful for the support of the Variety Club of B.C. in helping provide a special walker for her 2½ year old son.

Todd St. Pierre was born with bilateral perisylvian polymicrogyria, a rare genetic disorder that impairs his motor functions.

“It affects more than just his limbs, but his lower limbs are very weak,” says his mother Holly.

“His muscle and his fat tissue is intertwined, so he was very weak at birth.”

Todd isn’t able to stand on his own, but thanks to Kid Walk, a “pediatric mobility system,” purchased with Variety’s help about six months ago, he’s in the process of learning to walk.

“The walker has a bicycle seat he sits on, and then puts pressure when he needs to,” St. Pierre says. “He’s got to push with his arms.

“He loves it. It gets him off the floor. Normally he’s crawling around, but this gets him upright. He sees things from a toddler’s view instead of on the ground all the time. He gets mobile.”

The walker is adjustable, so Todd will be able to continue using it as he grows.

St. Pierre says with the help of Todd’s occupational and physical therapists, she approached Variety to help fund the walker, and they were “gracious enough to get us the money for it.”

The total cost of the walker was $4,543. Variety provided $2,195 while the Ministry of Children and Families funded the rest through its At Home program, which helps parents with the costs of caring for a disabled child.

The Variety Club’s 45th annual telethon goes from 7 p.m. Saturday through 6 p.m. Sunday on Global TV, hosted by the station’s news and weather personalities.

Last year’s show raised $7.4 million for kids with special needs and organizations that support children.