Ryan White

“Lift for Lawson” raises over $40,000


By Jonathan Martin


It looks like Lawson White will get his lift.

An estimated 750 people packed shoulder-to-shoulder in G. L. Heritage Brewing Co. throughout Friday night to raise money for the three-year-old.  His parents, Ryan and Cadi White, walked away with more than $40,000 in their pockets.

Lawson was born with neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia, which prevented his blood from clotting and resulted in a brain hemorrhage. He has since developed cerebral palsy and is completely blind.

As Lawson got older, he got heavier and being carried up and down the stairs by hand got harder.  His parents decided it was time to install a lift in their home.  The Garage Gym, Amherstburg Chevrolet, Integrity Tool and Mold, Team D’Alimonte Royal LePage and G. L. Heritage Brewing Company joined forces to raise funds for the equipment’s construction.

Marisa Willms tries to beat the SkiErg world record of 2,000m in seven minutes and 11 seconds at G. L. Heritage Brewing Co. last Friday. Willms, who held the previous record, ended up four seconds short.

A wrench was thrown into the plan, though, when the contractor found black mould in the walls of the Whites’ house.

“When I bought the house, I looked in the attic, I looked in the basement and everything was fine,” Ryan said.  “We never would have noticed this if we hadn’t (started building) this elevator.”

Ryan said the house’s previous owners put vinyl siding over aluminum siding.  Water sneaks in behind the soffit, runs between the two sidings and leaks into the house through the sidings’ anchor holes.

The Whites said they’ve cordoned off the 30-foot construction area with plastic sheets and have had air samples taken of the site.   They said they have a specialist coming in later this week to look at thermal images of the rest of the house, in case the mould isn’t isolated to that area.

Nonetheless, they said Lawson’s lift should be installed this week.  The Whites said they had been placed on a six-month waiting list when they first scheduled the installation and would likely have to wait another six months if they were to postpone.

The mould has been cleaned up in the lift’s construction area, so they plan to move forward with the project.

They said they are “extremely grateful” to have been given the funds needed to make it happen.

Jennifer Grondin is one of the co-owners of G. L. Heritage Brewing Co., where Friday’s fundraiser was held.

“It is outstanding and amazing, the way this community has come together,” she said tearfully.

Ryan White speaks beside his wife, Cadi, at the Lift for Lawson fund raiser, held at G. L. Heritage Brewing Co. in Amherstburg on Friday, April 6, 2018. The event raised more than $40,000 for the Whites to build an elevator for their son, Lawson.

“The support and the turnout had been incredible.”

Tony Smith is one of the owners of Garage Gym.  He said Ryan and Cadi were two of his first customers and have become his personal friends.

“When you call your community to action and you get hundreds of people showing up to let (Cadi and Ryan) know how much we care about them, that’s something entirely outside of fund-raising,” he said.

Cadi burst into tears when the fund raiser’s numbers were announced.  Ryan stood, motionless, looking dazed, until his wife grabbed his shirt.

“The number of people who have offered to help us is stunning,” he said.  “Somebody hooked up air filters in our house for free to be sure we’re breathing clean air, we had somebody contact us with an offer to do our air sampling for free, we’ve been contacted by construction companies and we’ve had friends reach out to us with offers to help. It’s all so overwhelming.”

“Even just the people who sent us a ‘thinking of you’ note,” Cadi said, her voice still shaky.  “Even that level of generosity is so strength-giving.”

Despite everything, the couple said Lawson, the “light of (their) lives,” is a lucky boy, and they feel lucky too.


Local businesses coming together to hold the “Lift for Lawson”


By Ron Giofu


A trio of local businesses are teaming up to help three-year-old Lawson White and his parents Ryan and Cadi.

Lawson was born with a condition known as neo-natal alloimmune thrombocytopenia, which caused his blood not to clot and left him with a grade four brain bleed after his birth. He has since undergone two brain surgeries, had to use a feeding tube at one point and finally came home after four months.

However, there has since been complications and hospital stays with the bleed causing developmental delays, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and complete blindness. Ryan says Lawson has been struggling as of late with vomiting and seizures.

“He’s been very sick the last six months,” he said. “Doctors don’t know what’s going on.”

Ryan and Cadi want to put in a lift for their home as Lawson is getting older and heavier and the family could use help getting Lawson to his bedroom and the bathroom.

To help the White family, the Garage Gym, Team D’Alimonte from Royal LePage Binder Real Estate and G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. are teaming up for the “Lift for Lawson” fundraiser April 6.

“They are going through tough times with Lawson and we’re trying to help with their home renovations and make life a little bit easier,” said Garage Gym co-owner Tony Smith.

Garage Gym, G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. and Team D’Alimonte real estate are teaming for the “Lift for Lawson” fundraiser April 6. From left: Winston McAllister, Marisa Willms, Corey Vultaggio, Greg Grondin, Tony Smith, Lawson, Cadi and Ryan White and Jeremy D’Alimonte.

The Friday night event will feature a three-minute rowing race between Lawson’s uncle and Ryan’s friend Jeremy D’Alimonte and Winston McAllister, deadlift and bench press competitions between Smith and Corey Vultaggio.

The third component of the event will see Garage Gym trainer and former 2000m SkiErg world record holder Marisa Willms racing in an attempt to get her world record back. The record was recently broken. SkiErg is a workout that uses a exercise machine that replicates the sport of Nordic skiing.

Smith said that G.L. Heritage Brewing Co., Team D’Alimonte and the Garage Gym will donate $1 for every meter rowed and pound lifted by the winners. Donations will also be accepted at the door that night. People will be asked to donate a minimum of $1 to enter G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. that night though additional donations are welcome.

Ryan and Cadi were two of the first members of the Garage Gym and are thankful for the support they have been receiving.

“We didn’t expect this, for sure,” said Ryan. “All of these guys are great guys. I couldn’t ask for better people in my life. The support we’ve experienced since (Lawson) has been born has been incredible.”

“We are very grateful,” Cadi added.

On April 6, doors open at 6 p.m. and the event is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. is located at 8728 Howard Ave. If people wish to donate in advance, they can do so at Garage Gym, located at the corner of Sandwich St. S. and Richmond St., or through Team D’Alimonte or the G.L. Heritage Brewing Co.