Family takes pride in being role models

Shabotovsky Family

The Shabatoski Family

Team Shabby has participated in the Saskatoon Safeway Walk for Muscular Dystrophy for six years. The Shabatoski family is at the centre of Team Shabby, including mom Jackie, dad Dean, Braiden, 21; twins Samuel and Emma, 10; and twins Tyson and Jackson, 7. Braiden, Samuel and Tyson are affected by Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

In 2013, Braiden was the Saskatoon Safeway Walk for Muscular Dystrophy Ambassador.  This was an honour for the family and a great way to include all the family’s friends in their Walk for Muscular Dystrophy efforts. Braiden takes his responsibility as role model seriously, especially as a role model to his two younger brothers. Braiden loves hanging out with Samuel and Tyson, encouraging them to keep their spirits up and enjoy life. He is around to answer their questions and help them through any struggles they may have. Braiden is dedicated to being available to his brothers, and raising awareness through the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy.

Team Shabby participates in the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy because it is important to them to raise money to eventually find a cure for neuromuscular disorders. They also put great emphasis on raising awareness. Jackie Shabatoski explains “before Braiden was diagnosed, we had no idea what muscular dystrophy was. We just want our sons to be treated respectfully, and that only happens when there is a level of understanding and empathy.”

The Shabatoski family is supported by their extended family every step of the way. Dean has four siblings and Jackie has three.  The whole family shows up to each Saskatoon Walk for Muscular Dystrophy event. Family friends came out in larger numbers this year to support Braiden. Team Shabby grew to about 50 members this year.

team shabbyPart of the team’s plan is to fundraise leading up to the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy event.  In April, Team Shabby hosted a rib night fundraiser. The supper included a silent auction, raffle items and 50/50 draw. Over 120 community members, friends and family came out to support the event.   A comedian friend emceed the fundraiser and performed improv. All the auction items were donated by the community. One woman donated a hand stitched quilt with a history of Clavet/Saskatoon depicted. Ottawa Senator Jared Cowen, who is from Allan, SK donated a jersey. There were footballs signed by Saskatchewan Rough Riders including Mike McCullough, were also auctioned. The rib night raised $6,800, and Jackie’s mother fundraised $2,000 at a other fundraising  in Humboldt, SK.

The family’s favorite part of the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy is meeting new people and getting together with friends and family. After the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy, the Shabatoski’s invite the team back to their house for a barbeque and social.

Jackie says, “we get to enjoy being surrounded by those who mean the most to us. I love to look around at everyone visiting and enjoying each other’s company. It makes me count my blessings to have such a strong support system!”

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Team Little Man Austin on the go at Halifax Walk for Muscular Dystrophy

The Sweet Family on CTV

The Sweet Family on CTV

Team Little Man Austin was once again the top fundraising team at this year’s Halifax Walk for Muscular Dystrophy, raising an incredible $11, 637!

Austin’s parents, Cari and Bryan Sweet, are part of the Halifax Walk for Muscular Dystrophy Committee as well as being enthusiastic and active members of the Halifax Chapter Executive.  Attending their first Walk for Muscular Dystrophy after their son’s diagnosis with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) in 2011, they felt a sense of camaraderie and have become very involved in furthering Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s mission by raising money and awareness.

Austin Sweet

Austin Sweet

Austin’s father, Bryan, created a YouTube video about Austin and Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy that captured the attention of the Altantic region media.  The media attention allows so many more people to share in Austin’s life.  Austin was even interviewed on live TV!

It was a very busy year for Austin; he moved into his new accessible home, started school and began playing sledge hockey.  Austin was the 2013 Nova Scotia Ambassador for the Hop for Muscular Dystrophy, and the Sweet Family along with the Clegg/Bernard Family won Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s Atlantic Award for Family of the Year.  Austin has also had many challenges.  As the disorder progresses his muscles weaken, he has more falls but his spirit never dampens and he greets everyone he meets with a funny face or smile.

Team Little Man Austin

Team Little Man Austin

Despite Tropical Storm Anna’s heavy winds and pouring rain, an inspiring day was enjoyed by all at this year’s Halifax Walk for Muscular Dystrophy thanks to our sponsors, Fire Fighters, volunteers and especially to all our families and all those affected with a neuromuscular disorder, like the Sweet family who inspire us every day.

Congrats and thanks to Team Little Man Austin!

Special thanks to the Marriott Halifax Harbourfront; CTV Morning Live and Live at Five (Maritime’s top evening news program).