Canadian Tire helps BIAWE expand helmet program

By Joel Charron

The Brain Injury Association of Windsor/Essex County (BIAWE) has joined forces with the Amherstburg Canadian Tire branch and Green Shield Canada to expand the already successful “helmets on Kids” Program.

On Wed. Nov. 30 BIAWE president Melanie Gardin and executive director Laura Kay visited the local Canadian Tire to purchase 53 hockey helmets for children.

The original goal of the program was to provide bicycle helmets for children who came from families that can’t afford a helmet or that did place an importance on purchasing a helmet for their child. BIAWE bas purchased over 2100 helmets since the program started and distributes these through school programs, bike rodeos and other summertime events.

The idea to expand the program to hockey helmets along with bike helmet came to Gardin

Canadian Tire teamed with the Brain Injury Association of Windsor/Essex County (BIAWE) and donated 53 new hockey helmets for children's ice skating. . From left Canadian Tire general manager Marc Dupuis, BIAWE president Melanie Gardin, BIAWE executive director Laura Kay, Canadian Tire associate dealer Jeff Levy.

when she visited an arena during a free public skate and saw children without helmets falling down on the ice.

“There are all these kids coming to the free skate without helmets,” said Gardin. “As I saw all these kids wiping out I thought to myself there has to be something that we can do.”

Gardin said BIAWE is the first organization that has expanded the program beyond bike helmets.

“We saw a need for it. There are a lot of kids out there that participate in winter sports that definitely need to be wearing helmets,” she said. “We’re kind of the leaders in the province.”

Jeff Levy, Associate Dealer said he gave BIAWE all the helmets at cost so the association was able to purchase as many as they could.

“We want to promote healthy active children and we want them to be safe while they are out there being active,” said Levy. “Too often you are hearing about concussions in sports and if Canadian Tire can assist in ensuring children’s safety we are going to help in any way we can.”

Gardin mentioned once a person sustains a brain injury, it is with them for life.

“Your brain can work around the injured area, but you never get back exactly what you had,” she said. “Prevention is the key. No one intends to fall and hit their head on the ice.”

According to Gardin there are 27,000 children living with a brain injury.

The helmets will be distributed through All Saints Church “Skate Lending” program.

“We though that would be a great way for the helmet to be used,” said Kay.

Kay noted that Canadian Tire found helmets that can be adjusted to fit smaller children.

Gardin said she is very grateful for the support Canadian Tire has shown.

“Over the past few years there have been many contributors to the program,” said Gardin.” We are grateful that new supporters like Canadian Tire Amherstburg are making it possible for us to get more helmets on more kids.”

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