Community / Special Needs

Emma Ryann Corbett ambassador for new campaign at Shriners Hospitals for Children Canada

Montreal - Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Emma Ryann Corbett, a Grade 1 student at Merton Elementary School in Côte Saint-Luc,  is making her family and school proud. The  seven-year-old has helped Shriners Hospitals for Children Canada launch its brand-new $50,000 fundraiser, “Because of you, I CAN!”

Born with congenital scoliosis, a condition that creates a curve in the spine, Emma has always been affiliated with Canada Shriners Hospital. She has been “hospitalized a few too many times,” said her mother, Cari Friedman. Emma’s version of scoliosis also affects her lungs, which has meant she is doing virtual school during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Her mother describes her as “a determined girl who has no limits,” citing as an example that Emma learned to ride a bike in 10 minutes. “Her instructor couldn’t believe it! She got on the bike; the instructor let go. She fell maybe once, got up and took off. She loves it! When she puts her mind to something, she does it!”

Click on the video to see Emma in action.

“For Emma’s birthday ever year since she was born, we don’t ask for presents. We ask for donations to be made to Shriners Hospital in her honour,” said Ms. Friedman. “When they approached us for this campaign, it was timely. Because of COVID-19, her birthday in December will look different. So, this year we want to raise even more money through social media to support the Shriners Hospital and everything that they do for children like Emma.”

The “Because of you, I CAN” campaign launched in November,using Emma’s inspiring video. The videos showcase physical feats that Emma and other Shriners Hospital patients have achieved. “Emma is a very lively seven-year-old, who is unstoppable in achieving anything she sets her mind to,” said Shannon McGirr, Fundraising Event Specialist with Shriners Hospitals for Children Canada. “Her willingness to give back to the hospital that helped her achieve her dreams is very heartwarming to us all. We are very proud to have Emma as an ambassador for our hospital.”

Emma also loves to swim, an activity that has been hampered by the pandemic. But, her mother said, she also loves to dance and do videoconference meet-ups with her friends. And with her new cycling skill under her belt, her family has decided to set up a stationary bike for her indoors this winter so she can continue to strengthen her lungs. The family also hopes she will learn to skate, and then add this to her accomplishments. “Since her body structure is different than a ‘typical’ child, things can be more challenging for Emma,” said Ms. Friedman, who explained that Emma wears a brace during the day at school. “However, she has proven to us that even with challenges she can do it!”

Read more about Emma in the Summer 2020 edition of Inspirations (p. 12).