Bright Stars Presented by M&T Bank Shined for Hundreds of Easterseals Children and Families

jonLast night (Feb 14), Easterseals hosted our signature annual family event – Bright Stars Presented by M&T Bank – featuring Disney on Ice at the Capital One Arena.

Hundreds of children and their families from the Easterseals community came out on this special night to PLAY together and watch an enchanting ice skating performance from their favorite Disney characters. They were also excited by a special appearance from Woody and Jessie of Toy Story, and even Mickey Mouse, at the pre-event VIP reception where many of our guests’ children were treated to face-painting, balloon animals, a caricaturist, and a special Disney photo booth.

For children like Portland Raynor, who lives with a rare neurodevelopmental disorder called HADDS, being at Bright Stars gave her and her family a wonderful opportunity to just have fun and take a break from the everyday challenges of living with a disability or special need.

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Portland and T’Mia Raynor with Mickey Mouse at Easterseals Bright Stars at Disney on Ice Presented by M&T Bank.

Portland attends our Child Development Center in Washington D.C. and learns new skills every day with the help of our wonderful teachers and amazing therapists. Check out her story on WUSA9’s Great Day Washington recently, which shows how she is thriving from our early intervention services and the opportunity to learn in an inclusive classroom setting.

Click HERE to watch the full story.

Military families served by Easterseals also attended the event and were more than thrilled to meet the Disney characters and enjoy the show.

The Pattersons, mom Kristina and her husband Scott, who is on active duty in the Navy, receive 40-hours a month of respite care to help them with their two sons. six-year-old Daniel and four-year-old Micah, both of whom have special needs. The Respite program gives much-needed relief from their caregiving duties so they can manage their own well-being.

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Kristina, Daniel and Micah Patterson with Woody and Jesse at Bright Stars at Disney on Ice Presented by M&T Bank.

In addition to being a super-fun evening for so many families in our community like the Raynors and Pattersons, Bright Stars also helped us raise more than $282,000 to support all our programs that make profound, positive differences in the daily lives of people of all ages with disabilities, special needs, military backgrounds, and their families.

Thank you to all our generous sponsors and donors! A complete list of our Bright Stars sponsors is available HERE.

The fundraising for the event was led by Bright Stars Committee Co-Chairs Cecilia Hodges of M&T Bank and Craig Ruppert of The Ruppert Companies, and Founding Bright Stars Committee Co-Chair David Ross of Atlantic Realty Companies. Their hard work and dedication to Easterseals ensure that our innovative programs and services continue to be available to families who need us the most.

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Thanks to our amazing team of volunteers from M&T Bank!

I’d also like to personally thank M&T Bank, our Presenting Sponsor, who has not only donated generously to Bright Stars for seven years in a row but has also helped staff the event with a team of enthusiastic volunteers every year.

Also, special thanks to our media sponsors – iHeartMedia, Washington Business Journal, WTOP and WUSA9’s Great Day Washington – for all their help in getting the word out about Easterseals and the Bright Stars event. Co-host of Great Day Washington Kristen Berset-Harris even joined us at our reception to emcee the event!

Even though this year’s Bright Stars event is over, the need for Easterseals services does not end. Please consider making a donation to Easterseals today so we can continue to shine like Bright Stars for our community every day.

Click HERE to make a donation!

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