Day in the Life: Sparky the firedog at the HOP for Muscular Dystrophy

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Hop at Bedford SouthThe HOP for Muscular Dystrophy is a national educational fundraising initiative that promotes compassion, caring and acceptance of differing abilities. The program provides an early introduction to inclusiveness and an understanding that physical differences do not change people on the inside to pre-school and elementary school-aged children.

HOP events occur in most Canada provinces around Easter time.  Each year, more than 10,000 children in Atlantic Canada “hop” to make a difference for families affected by a neuromuscular disorder.

Sydney LewisSparky the firedog loves to visit kids and thank them for supporting Muscular Dystrophy Canada; Fire Fighters have been Muscular Dystrophy Canada heroes since 1954.

Sydney Lewis, a 10 year old student in Grade 5 at Alderney Elementary School in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia is suiting up this year to put some “spark” into Sparky. Sydney loves her iPod Touch and Sim game, is a choco-holic and enjoys hanging out with friends. Sydney’s brother Kaleb is 12 is affected by Becker’s muscular dystrophy and her entire family volunteers with the Halifax Chapter of Muscular Dystrophy Canada.

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8:00 a.m.: Crawwwwwl out of bed; sure is chilly and dark out! Breakfast and be ready for pick up at 8:30 a.m.

Sparky at Hops9:00 a.m.: Arrive at Alderney Elementary School. Change quickly into Sparky gear including very large and heavy head and giant shoes! Do the “YMCA,” “the Chicken Dance” and the “Electric slide” with 100 elementary students.  Hugs and high fives to all of the hoppers who present Muscular Dystrophy Canada with a cheque for $1100! Now it’s time for a picture with the top fundraising student and school principal. The student is excited to know he’s won “Firefighter for A Day” and will get a ride to school in a fire truck next week.

11:45 a.m.: Arrive at Bedford South Elementary School — wow 460 excited students sure are noisy!!  I watch kids filing into the gym by class wearing their brightly colored and decorated bunny ears. Six year old Wesley Collins, who is affected by Duchenne muscular dystrophy, attends this school and is happy to see the entire school turns out to show their support! Watch quietly as the HOP for Muscular Dystrophy DVD is shown which teaches the students more about muscular dystrophy, caring and differing abilities. Then it’s time to hop, dance and MOVE our muscles! Join Bedford Volunteer Fire Fighters in thanking students and teachers for participating in the year’s HOP for Muscular Dystrophy and smile for the camera as CTV News films a HOP segment for Breakfast TV.

2:00 p.m.:  Arrive at Kids R Kids Daycare in Halifax- now these kids are little! Sparky and Muscular Dystrophy Canada staff visit each class and get lots and lots of hugs and high fives! The group listens to a story and then line up to receive a Muscular Dystrophy tattoo.

Sparky3:00 p.m.: We get to Voyageur Lakes Kids Academy, and these kids LOVE Sparky!  A few are a wee bit scared but Sparky waves and gets a smile and some hugs.

3:45 p.m.:  A quick stop at the Military and Family Resource Centre on the Halifax Naval Base and Sparky makes time for some healthy bunny snacks with the hoppers.  An obstacle course in their gym is a great way to move muscles, Sparky isn’t very fast but he makes it through.

4:30 p.m.: This is the end of Sparky’s day so it’s back to being Sydney.  After a dog day afternoon, Sydney is VERY tired and a little sweaty too! It’s worth it because the HOP campaign was an awesome day raising money and awareness for families affected by muscular dystrophy.

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