David Ovans Elementary hosts fundraiser for Kaitlyn Pas

Wednesday November 08, 2006
Mayerthorpe Freelancer, Mayerthorpe, AB

Submitted  —  David Ovans Elementary staff and supporters are hosting a fundraiser at the school for Kaitlyn Pas.

The 4 year old has Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a genetic disease that robs her of the activities normally associated with a child that age. She cannot sit, stand or walk. She doesn’t have the ability to lift her head. Swallowing is an effort and sleep comes with the assistance of a machine to breathe for her through the night.

But with a sparkle in her eyes, she defies the odds, much to the delight of her family, mom Hali Harapchuk, dad John Pas and brother Liam Pas.

The disorder does not affect her mind; she smiles, paints, loves books and enjoys school every day.

Many organizations have provided assistance in the form of medical equipment and even a special tub for Kaitlyn’s daily physical therapy.

“When she’s in the water,” Hali explains about her daughter, “she can move by herself.”  However, the tub cannot be used in the family’s home until a renovation is complete. An additional room is under construction to accommodate the tub and a special track system that will allow Kaitlyn to be moved with ease so she can enjoy the water.

A home renovation is costly and on November 15, 2006, the staff is organizing a fundraising night filled with entertainment and music from Joanne Myrol, who substitutes at the school. Joanne along with her daughter Hayley will join the Magic Lamp Singers and together they hope to raise $15,000 to fully complete the room and add to Kaitlyn’s quality of life.

David Ovans teacher Sandy Morton says the staff is committed to the project, because it’s the right thing to do, Kaitlyn’s brother Liam attends class there and her mom left her teaching career to become Kaitlyn’s full time caregiver. “I can’t believe they have this equipment to help a child and they can’t use it,” she said. “That is not right.”

The family wants everyone to know her family is grateful for all individual, group and service club donations in the past. “We’re not the type of people to go out and ask for help,” Hali Harapchuk said. “When the teachers at the school go out and initiate a fundraiser like this, they thought enough to care about us and to care about Kaitlyn. I just feel wonderful!”