'I’m never in a bad mood when I’m here'

Sudbury's Independence Centre and Network marks 40 years

Daphne Vincent prepares to leave her handprint on a wall at the Independence Centre and Network (ICAN) Independence Day and 40th anniversary celebration in Sudbury, Ont. on Friday August 16, 2019. John Lappa/Sudbury Star

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Sometimes, all you need to maintain your independence and thrive is a bit of extra help.

Local organization Independence Centre and Network (ICAN) has been providing that help to seniors and people with disabilities across Sudbury for 40 years. On Friday, officials and supporters celebrated their staff and their clients’ achievements for their 6thannual Independence Day Celebration.

For CEO Marie Leon, being a part of ICAN is an honour.

She was ten-years-old when her father was paralyzed on one side by a stroke that put him in a wheelchair.

“I wish ICAN existed then. Because I look back and I think this organization could’ve provided so much support to him, and he could’ve recovered. So I am so proud to be part of this organization and everything it does. I can’t even explain how much this organization means to me.”

ICAN provides a variety of programs and services to adults with disabilities, as well as seniors. Individuals can access their independence training centre, which offers exercise programming and classes on cooking on healthy eating. They also offer post-stroke programming to help individuals during their recovery.

They also offer outreach attendant care, which can help keep people with disabilities and seniors independent in their homes. ICAN also has two supportive housing sites, which are staffed 24/7.

Amanda Lalonde tries her luck at fishing as Emily Ramsay, middle, and Dannielle Lebrun, of Independence Centre and Network (ICAN), look on at the ICAN Independence Day and 40th anniversary celebration in Sudbury, Ont. on Friday August 16, 2019. John Lappa/Sudbury Star/Postmedia Network John Lappa / John Lappa/Sudbury Star

 

Leon says Independence Day is a “big bash” for their clients and staff.

“It truly is just a celebration of our clients and how successful they are remaining in their homes and remaining independent.”

The event included family-friendly games, a barbecue, a penny table and live music.

Attending the event were Amanda Lalonde and Beverly Charles, who are both wheelchair users and ICAN clients.

Lalonde has been in a wheelchair for about five years. She says the progress she’s made because of ICAN is “amazing”.

“I’m never in a bad mood when I’m here,” she says, “When I got put into the chair, I was lost, because I was a very independent person before and I had to rely on a lot of people to help me. Coming here has helped me get my independence back.”

Charles says her daughter was the one who signed her up for ICAN’s services about four years ago, after she had a series of strokes.

She now lives in one of the organization’s supportive housing units. She says through the organization, she’s been able to participant in a variety of programs and has been able to maintain a regular exercise schedule.

“ICAN’s been here for 40 years and they’re just great,” she says. “They meet a need that nobody else has tried to meet and they’re just good about everything.”

Andrew Olivier is vice-chair of the board of directors. He is also a client of their community outreach service.

“The services have allowed me to do so many things in my life and without that, it would be a lot more of a bleaker outcome for myself,” he says. “It allows me to be employed. It allows me to be an active family member, an active father. It allows me to come to events like this, you know, just make the best out of every day.”

He estimates he’s been involved with the organization for 28 years and says he’s proud to stand with them on their 40thanniversary.

“They stand for giving clients the ability to act as independent as possible, to live fulfilled and productive lives, and to increase the quality of life. They’ve done just that ever since their inception.”

sud.editorial@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @Mia_RJensen

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