In 2019, Easterseals celebrated a 100-year legacy of helping people with disabilities lead more normal lives. On Aug. 9, the Sussex County branch of the national nonprofit hosted a dine-and-donate fundraiser at Warren’s Station restaurant in Fenwick Island.
“We keep it here, our local community,” organizer Linda Forte said of the funds.
Easterseals’ original focus on children has expanded to adults and elders, serving people with disabilities or special needs. There are a variety of children’s therapies, daytime adult care, personal attendant services, employment programs, memory care and more. There are locations in all three Delaware counties and in Salisbury, Md.
At the Fenwick Island dinner, the local advisory board was joined by an Easterseals ambassador, Stella Lieb, 6, who fundraises and raises awareness for the program.
“We’ve been going to Easterseals since 2013, and we knew something was wrong. … She couldn’t walk,” said her father, Jim Lieb. “We finally found the necessary treatment.”
Stella goes to Easterseals rehab in Salisbury for her arms and legs. Her left side was impaired from a stroke at birth. At the dinner, she was also accompanied by her big sister, Lexi.
Easterseals is “non-denominational” in terms of conditions, whether someone was born with an inhibiting condition, or acquired it throughout life, explained board member David Doane.
The goal is to “expand the opportunities for individuals with disabilities and their families,” said Doane. “It’s a great alternative to keep loved ones at home” instead of hiring 24-hour facilities.
This dine-and-donate event specifically benefit Stella’s fundraising team for the annual Walk to Make a Difference on Oct. 13 at Baywood Greens in Long Neck. (Registration is online at walkwithme.org/Delmarva.)
For details, call Easterseals at (302) 253-1100 or visit www.de.easterseals.com.
By Laura Walter