Telling Our Story


At the Annual General Meeting and Volunteer Awards Presentation on September 17, 1999, many voices told the stories of Ontario March of Dimes and its outstanding volunteers. In total, seven awards were presented during the evening in recognition of outstanding individuals and organizations whose contributions enriched the lives of people with physical disabilities.

Keynote Speaker, Itah Sadu, captivated the audience, demonstrating that the most memorable stories show the “human” side of things. Ms. Sadu is a storyteller, author and the owner of the Different Book List bookstore in Toronto.

Emcee Wendy Murphy moderated the awards portion of the evening. Ms. Murphy is a Community Specialist Host of “Wendy’s Video Diary” on CityTV. Her involvement with Ontario March of Dimes dates back to the early 1990’s when she modeled for one of our fashion shows.

The Rick Hanson Award of Excellence celebrates Rick Hansen’s commitment to raising the awareness of the potential of people with disabilities. Glenda Tennyson of Niagara Falls was presented the award for her strong advocacy for disability issues. She was instrumental in re-activating the Niagara Post Polio Chapter, acting as its chairperson for the past eight years. Ms. Tennyson was an active member of the Regional Advisory and Government Relations Committees, and has advocated for accessibility in public buildings such as Casino Niagara and Niagara Parks.

The Award of Merit for Barrier Free Design was given to the City of Hamilton Department of Public Works and Traffic for providing recreation facilities accessible to all of the city’s residents. In addition to kilometres of accessible trails and two “rail” trails that run up and down the escarpment, Hamilton has two completely interactive waterfront parks with fully accessible washrooms, parking and trail areas. Over $11-million in renovations transformed 47 acres of formerly vacant land into versatile public green space.

The Princess of Wales Own Regiment of Kingston has been awarded Ontario March of Dimes’ Community Partnership Award. For the past 10 years, the Regiment has partnered with Ontario March of Dimes to coordinate the high-profile “March for the March of Dimes.” It is a large volunteer undertaking, with militia and reserve members collecting pledges. To date, this march has raised $88,700 for assisting adults with physical disabilities.

The Ontario March of Dimes’ Judge George Ferguson Award was presented to David Lepofsky, O.C., of Toronto for his contribution to the full integration and equality of people with disabilities through his leadership of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee. A distinguished lawyer with a Master of Law degree from Harvard Law School, Mr. Lepofsky is also the founding President of the Canadian Association of Visually Impaired Lawyers (CAVIL), a voluntary self-help association of lawyers, law students and judges with visual disabilities.

Hamilton resident Matthew Freeman received The Ontario Federation for the Physically Handicapped Award of Merit for exemplifying independence in the community. Matthew Freeman has been an advocate and role model for young adults with physical disabilities. He has been an active member of the McMaster Disability Advocacy Group since its formation, and has been a volunteer since 1992 for Chedoke-McMaster Hospital where he worked initially with patients who had acquired brain injury and then on the hospital’s website. Mr. Freeman is currently finishing his second year at McMaster University working towards a degree in Political Science.

The Reverend Roy Essex Award was awarded to Peter Barr of Thunder Bay for his long association with Ontario March of Dimes. Mr. Barr has been the anchor of the North West Region’s volunteer base for 27 years. In that time he has served on a number of fund raising committees and task forces on social issues. He has been an instrumental part of the Thunder Bay Regional Advisory Committee since 1972 and has served as a liaison with other service groups.

Dr. Diamond Rattansi, the vice president of The Sherwood Group has been honoured with Ontario March of Dimes’ Vocational Rehabilitation Award. Mr. Rattansi has hired two adults with physical disabilities through Ontario March of Dimes’ placement services and used job training placements in five of his store locations. Mr. Rattansi has also been advocating involvement with Ontario March of Dimes from an employer’s perspective with other companies, encouraging others to follow his lead in creating job placements and increasing fundraising support.


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