Winter 2006 Newsletter

Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus
Association of Sask. North
c/o Laurel Scherr
351 Kenderdine Road,
Saskatoon, Sk S7N 3S9
(306) 249-1362

Message from Our President

A group of about 35 people attended the “Celebrate New Ideas” education day that was held in September at the Kinsmen Children’s Centre. The day provided lots of information, interesting displays and a chance to mingle with other families. The children who attended also enjoyed their day of crafts, activities and hanging out with friends. Our Association is very fortunate to have such great volunteers and strong supporters when we plan these events. We had a very successful Christmas party as well with about 60 people enjoying the swimming and pizza party held at the Radisson Hotel.

Our current swimming program will wrap up in March; another will be held in the fall. Mini wheelchair basketball is something new being offered and has been a real hit with the children who attend. Again, you will find more details in the newsletter.

Upcoming events for all members to make note of include our Annual General Meeting on May 28, 2006 at 1:30 p.m. at the Kinsmen Children’s Centre. Consider attending to hear what the Association is doing, and please bring forward new ideas.

In recognition of Spina Bifida Month, we are very excited to host a fashion show with Catriona LeMay Doan in attendance! On May 13 we will feature the Olympic wear supplied by the Hudson ‘s Bay Company in Midtown Plaza . Come on out for a fun afternoon .

I am also looking forward to the Conference in Edmonton , September 16 & 17. It would be great to have Saskatchewan families attend when it is being held so close to home. Children from our own Association will be performing at the Conference as the Kids in Motion Wheelchair Dance Team have been invited to attend. I have spoken to committee members from Edmonton , and the expected costs include Registration: $100 – adult; $50 – 12 to 17 years; $25 – under 12 years; Dinner & Dance: $25 for 12 +; $10 under 12; and accommodation at Fantasyland Hotel: $109 per night. These rates are for early registration (prior to June 15).

Once again, I must thank all bingo volunteers who generously give their time to make our Association what it is. I find it very inspiring when the teenagers come and help out – they are a great group!

I invite everyone to be involved with the Association in some way – whether you’d like to join the board, work a bingo, help organize an event or make some phone calls, there is no payoff like the feeling you get when you volunteer!

Take care and keep warm!

Laurel Scherr

Education Day September 24 th , 2005: Kinsmen Children Center , Saskatoon

Celebrate New Ideas!

The day was a success! The list of speakers included: Dr. Paul Weckworth, Dr. G. Bruce, Julian Gaudet (SWSA), Brynn Boback-Lane (Children’s Health and Hospital Foundation) and Terry McBride (Raymond James Ltd.).

Thank you to the displayers: Golden Mobility Products, JB Medical, SWSA, Family Resource Center at KCC, SBHAS-N, Waterski Demonstration and Duraline Medical Products.

As well thank you for the folder donations received from: John Deere, Saskatchewan Lung Assoc., Maurice Hyde Realty, and Cherry Insurance.

A huge thank you to Duraline Medical Products for their $1000 donation, and to Medichair for their $100 donation, we really appreciate their thoughfulness.

There were 30 people registered for the sessions and approximately 12 children used the daycare provided. The door prizes were enjoyed by all!

Dr. Weckworth’s Presentation

Dr. Paul Weckworth, Urologist, spoke on Future Medications and the Mitroffanof Abdominal Stoma. As Dr. Weckworth explained, since 95% of SB children have voiding dysfunction that can lead to kidney damage it is of utmost importance that bladder concerns are investigated regularly. He talked about the ditropan patch as a new product being tested. Bladder augmentation using bowel as well as research into growing bladder patches from stem cells was presented. He also shared some research being done using botox as a bulking agent to improve urethral closure with neurogenic bladders. The research on transferring spinal nerves to the lower urinary tract was covered by Dr. Weckworth – see the Journal of Urology, 2005 for more info.

Dr. Weckworth explained the Mitroffanoff Abdominal Stoma as a procedure to be considered for individuals who are not able to self-cath through the urethra. The presentation was great! I apologize for being brief, but I hope I have given you some insights that you can discuss with Dr. Weckworth.

Bev Turgeon

Thank You Organizers!

Thank you to the following people that organized and made the day another successful event: Laurel Scherr, Lynn Onushko, Gene Layton, Lori Froc, Linda Renaut, Bev Turgeon

Thank you to the Childcare Workers: Lori Pugh, Ginny White and Carly Scherr

Thank you to Helen Dadiotis, for the use of the Kinsmen Children Centre.

Mark Your Calendar! Plan to Attend!!

Spina Bifida & Hydrocephalus Association of Canada National Conference –

September 15 – 17, 2006 in Edmonton , Alberta

Take Action 2006

Welcome to Take Action 2006 The Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association of Northern Alberta , in partnership with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association of Southern Alberta , are both proud and pleased to jointly host the 2006 National Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Conference in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

The conference will include: Educational Sessions, Social Events, including a youth dance, Keynote speaker – Alvin Law, Day Camp for kids and teens, Silent Auction, and a Trade Show. The conference is taking place at West Edmonton Mall, with plenty of opportunities for shopping and family entertainment. A special conference rate is being offered to conference attendees and families at the Fantasy land Hotel.

This year’s conference is a celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association of Canada . (We encourage everyone to register and make the Conference part of this fall’s plans. As part of this year’s funding SBHAS-North will be financially supporting families who do register to attend!)

Memories of SBHAC National Conference – 2005

I had the great honor of traveling to the SBHAC National Conference in October, 2005, in Surrey , B.C. as the delegate for the SBHASN association. Gene Layton, who is on the National Executive, also traveled from Saskatoon , as did other members from the Regina area.

The 2005 conference started with a really impressive gala evening, complete with performances on piano and harp, by two very talented young adults living with SB, as well as readings from a poet and fictional author. The opportunity to mingle with parents from all over Canada was awesome. There were a multitude of young adults and teens, especially from British Columbia , in attendance. One strain of the conference was specifically geared toward them.

The conference sessions themselves were excellent. The opening keynote speaker was an incredible man by the name of Sam Sullivan, one of two quadriplegic city council members in the Vancouver area. During the conference, Mr. Sullivan was in a current campaign, running for mayor of Vancouver (he has since been elected as mayor). His message of optimism, hope, and never giving up, as well as his accomplishments in setting up several organizations for the physically disabled, was truly inspiring. The addresses by the physicians involved with the Spinal Cord Clinic in B.C., on new advances in surgical techniques and procedures, were very informative. Perhaps my favorite conference address was on Saturday morning, by a speaker known as “Dr. Laugh”. His humorous and often pointed remarks reminded us all of the importance of a sense of humor, even in life’s darkest moments. It was quite humorous to see a large number of adults in the audience wearing the clown noses that he had provided, in illustrating one of his ideas. He was without a doubt one of the most entertaining and effective speakers that I have ever had the opportunity to listen to.

In summary, the 2005 National conference was incredible. The host B.C. association did an absolutely fabulous job with all aspects of the event. From the workshops to networking with other parents to having heart to hearts with others who have gone through similar struggles, it was indeed time well spent.

Lori Froc, Saskatoon

If you can give your son or daughter only one gift, let it be enthusiasm.
Bruce Barton


Financial assistance is given to our members to help relieve some of the costs of goods and/or services required because a member has Spina Bifida and/or Hydrocephalus. We recognize that children (and adults) need to be happy, have friends, and enjoy a social life. To this end, SBHASN has covered the cost of one summer camp per member per year, as well as the cost of programs during the year, such as PAALS, SLYP-Out, Swimming Lessons, and Wheelchair Dancing. We also contribute towards the cost of a Medic-Alert bracelet and/or registration to our members who have Spina Bifida/Hydrocephalus.

Any member in good standing with the Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association of Saskatchewan North (or parent/guardian) is eligible to apply for financial assistance. Members who are claiming assistance, or who are participating in our programs, are strongly encouraged to make a commitment of volunteer time to support the Association.

(1) Members may apply for financial assistance by writing a letter to SBHASN. This letter may be delivered to any of the members of the Executive of the Board of Directors.

(2) Please shop around for the best price you can obtain, just as you would for personal purchases.

(3) We will not reimburse expenses that are already covered under any government program, or private/public medical insurance. However, if a member receives partial funding from insurance for an item, that member may apply to the Association for the balance.

(4) Members are expected to make use of warrantees whenever possible.

(5) Whether to grant an application for funding is at the discretion of the Executive and one board member. Funding decisions are based on:

(i) The financial position of the Association at the time of application

(ii) The history of assistance given in the current fiscal year

(iii) The total amount of funding requests being dealt with in the quarter

(6) A member of the Executive may wish to discuss your application with you prior to, or following, the funding meeting. Quotes for your item may be requested.

(7) If partial funding is granted, the member may re-apply for the remainder at the next funding meeting. This application will be put at the bottom of the list for the next quarter.

(8) Please bear in mind that members of the Association sometimes have items which are ready to be passed on to others, such as bikes, etc. Talk to a member of the Executive about this.

The year is divided into the following quarters:

Quarter 1: February 1 – April 30
Quarter 2: May 1 – July 31
Quarter 3: August 1 – October 31
Quarter 4: November 1 – January 31

Please feel free to phone any member of our Executive if you wish to discuss the Financial Assistance Plan .

Our Kids and BASKETBALL!!

Two members of SBHASN, Ashley Baerg and Duncan Renaut, are active members
of the Saskatchewan Junior Wheelchair Basketball Team.  The team meets twice a week for practice.  They were last year’s Bronze Medal winners in the National Junior Wheelchair Basketball competition, and are training for this year’s Nationals, being held in Montreal in April.  The team members are also looking forward to participating in the Jeux Canada Games in Whitehorse , February of 2007. A lot of work goes into becoming medal winners, but the players on this team enjoy every practice. Congratulations Ashley and Duncan!!

“Upcoming event:  May 6 & 7, a wheelchair basketball team from  Portugal is visiting Saskatoon !  We are holding a special wheelchair basketball event in their honour at Aden Bowman Collegiate.  More information will be available nearer the date.  Mark your calendars so you don’t miss this opportunity to welcome the visiting Portugese team!”

SWSA has started a Minis Basketball Club for children aged 10 to 15. They meet every Sunday from 3:00 to 5:00 pm at Valley Manor School in Martensville. For more information call Joelle at 955-9295.

Something New at Spinal Cord Clinic

We are proud of your children and want to share their accomplishments with everyone! Our goal is to prepare a photograph display board for each clinic that hi-lights the children and their activities. Please take a photograph of your child and mail it, or bring it in for us to put on display.

We hope the children will proudly share their accomplishments! As well, other children may be encouraged by the pictures to try additional activities.

Mail pictures to: Lynn Onushko, 1319 Colony Street , Saskatoon , Sk. S7N 2Z1

We look forward to hearing from or seeing you all,

The Members of your Spinal Cord Team

Bingo Report by Shawn Scherr

I would personally like to thank all our bingo volunteers, those from within our Association and the friends who support us regardless of their affiliation with our group. Our volunteers show up with a smile on their face and truly enjoy the work they are doing. Many teenagers from the Association are now volunteering at the bingo. This experience has been beneficial for them, and it’s great to have them there. These volunteers raise the funds that support the programs we offer, camps, education days, equipment, computers, activities for children and a wide range of other requests that have been approved.

 As many of you know, the bingo industry has suffered from changes made in recent years. We should be proud of how our Association is still maintaining a source of income from this fundraising. Both our reputation and our cause allow us to be awarded preferred nights to work in the bingo hall.

From April 2005 through January 2006, we have raised almost $15,000.00 from working bingos.

Once again, thanks for doing your best to attend when asked to work a bingo, and I truly appreciate it when my calls are returned.

  Shawn Scherr: Bingo Coordinator


BINGO Workers Make It Happen!!

Thank you to the many volunteers who continue to support our Association by working Bingos. A huge thank you to Shawn Scherr who patiently calls to set up the workers, and also prepares the game booklets and cards for our bingo sessions. Thanks Shawn!

October 9, 2005:
Leo Gartner
Ivan & Lorraine Layton
Cindy Martell
Rita Rapko
Crystal Erber
Simon & Chris – H.C.
Duncan Renaut
Julian Gaudet
Lisa Franks
Megan – Wheelchair Bball
November 20, 2005:
Gabe Brecht
Alanna Calloway
Brenda Calloway
Dan Greene
Rita & Joey Rapka
Sigg & Meg Redekopp
Bev Turgeon
Mike Brecht
Toby & Ashley Baerg
Leo Gartner
Dan Scherr
Bruce Chatterson
Jess Thompson
December 31, 2005:
Brad Sigurdson
Launa Ruttle
Laurel Scherr
Leo Gartner
Gabe & Louise Brecht
Shelley & Dave Elder
Perry & Lori Froc
Rita Rapko
Mike Trevisan
Meg Redekopp
Gene Layton
Bev Turgeon
Dan Greene
Tom & Jeannine Zolinski
Frank & Evelyn Karain
John Sanderson
January 29, 2006 :
Dan Scherr
Sigg & Meg Redekopp
Leo Gartner
Toby Baerg
Dan Greene
Rita & Joey Rapko
Shawn & Carly Scherr
Calina Pralea
Greg Hoist
Andrew Morrison
Brian Stang
Dusty Shepherd
Duncan Renaut
Ashley Baerg
February 19, 2006:
Dan Scherr
Laurel Scherr
Mike Trevisan
Gene Layton
Kaely Rapko
Joey & Rita Rapko
Leo Gartner
Jeff Elder
Gabe Brecht
Bev Turgeon
Sigg Redekopp
Meg Redekopp
Ashley Baerg
Toby Baerg
Lori Froc

Upcoming Events!

1) Next Bingo

Sunday March 26, 2006 –call Shawn @ 249-1362 to let him know if you can work or say “YES” when he calls you!

2)  SWSA News TrailBlazers Cross Country Ski Club

The club provides full service skiing instruction for both the competitive and the recreational athlete. Practices occur on Wednesdays at 7 pm to 8:15 pm and Saturdays at 2 pm to 3:15 pm at Gabriel Dumont Park off Saskatchewan Cres. W. between 8 th Street & Taylor .

Please contact:

Jeff Whiting 374-9598 or

Colette Bourgonje 653-1236

Go Chad!

One Final Thank You!

A huge thank you from the over 60 people who attended
the Family Christmas Party at the Radisson to:
Laurel and Shawn Scherr, and Karen Trevisan.
Although the elevator was down, the friendship
and good cheer was uplifting!
Also, thank you Santa Mel!

Join Our SBHAS-N

At the Midtown Plaza , Saskatoon
May 13 th , 2006
As We Celebrate Abilities!
Featuring our National Spokesperson
Olympic Speedskating Medalist
Catriona Lemay Doan

*Watch this website for further details!*

Congratulations to Chad Layton
Saskatchewan’s 2006 Easter Seal Ambassador


Association Membership… Our Association is growing and growing. We need to keep our membership current! As you renew your membership this year, you will receive a membership card with the renewal date on it to serve as a reminder. The membership costs are: $25 per year or $65 for 3 years.

With your membership you also are registered with the SBHAC and receive its newsletters as well as our local newsletter, minutes, volunteer opportunities, voting privileges and funding opportunities.