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Easterseals Offers School-Based Therapy and Virtual Learning Tips

11.28.20 – Easterseals is best known for our outpatient services in Wheeling and Steubenville, but we also provide school-based occupational and physical therapy. Ten of our therapists treat students in West Virginia and Ohio districts, from Brooke to Jackson County and Jefferson to Belmont. This month, we’re highlighting in-school therapy as well as ways to help your children get the most out of telehealth and virtual learning [continue reading]


Festival of Trees Postponed Until 2021

11.1.20 – We’ve decided it’s necessary to postpone the Easterseals Festival of Trees at The Blennerhassett Hotel until next year. Canceling our only fundraiser in 2020 is not a decision we took lightly, but it's in the best interest of everyone's health and safety, especially given the rising number of COVID-19 cases and concerns from our decorators.

We knew this was a possibility but held out as long as we could, hoping for the best. We appreciate everyone that committed to the event and hope to see our decorators in 2021!


October Brings Awareness to Physical Therapy, Learning Disabilities

10.18.20 – Throughout the month of October, organizations around the country strive to spread awareness of two topics that are close to our hearts at Easterseals—the benefits of physical therapy and the prevalence of learning disabilities. [continue reading]

Changing Lives Is Not Canceled
Easterseals Embraces Telehealth, Safety Measures to Continue Mission

9.20.20 – Easterseals is in the business of changing lives. In fact, it’s our mission: Creating solutions that change the lives of children and adults with disabilities and special needs in the Ohio Valley. Despite service interruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that mission continues. Our 30-member team has adapted to provide telehealth and virtual resources for families, and we’ve implemented additional safety measures to slowly resume face-to-face service. The little voices and familiar faces we’ve missed for months are beginning to fill the center one by one as we navigate safely reopening. [continue reading]


Easterseals Recognizes National Rehabilitation Awareness Week

9.15.20 – The Easterseals Rehabilitation Center recognizes National Rehabilitation Awareness Week, a nationwide celebration started in 1976 to educate people about the benefits of rehabilitation and capabilities of people with disabilities. The third week of September is set apart as a time to express appreciation to rehabilitation professionals, including physicians and physical, occupational, and speech therapists, that devote themselves to improving clients’ quality of life.

Easterseals offers medical rehabilitative care under the direction of Dr. Ellen Kitts, who has more than 30 years of experience at the Center. Dr. Kitts specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R), also known as physiatry, as well as pediatrics. From gait abnormalities to cerebral palsy, physiatrists treat a variety of medical conditions affecting the brain, spinal cord, nerves, bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons.

The only pediatric PM&R physicians in the region can be found at Easterseals. Along with Dr. Kitts, Easterseals partners with UPMC to provide additional pediatric and physiatry expertise in Wheeling. Dr. Jason Edinger is the Clinical Director of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and treats patients at Easterseals on a monthly basis.

Easterseals also offers pediatric outpatient medical rehabilitation, including physical, occupational, and speech therapy. Under the direction of Clinical Coordinator Melanie Skrzypek, Easterseals’ therapists work with clients at the Center, in schools, and in homes as part of the West Virginia Birth to Three program. Clients benefitting from therapy may have minor developmental delays (learning, speech, fine and gross motor skills) or significant issues such as muscular dystrophy, neurological disorders, or autism.

Easterseals is proud to be the only local provider that is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, the highest award a rehab facility can obtain.

For more information, request a referral to Easterseals through any family doctor.


Easterseals Announces Dates for Festival of Trees at Blennerhassett Hotel
Event Organizers Hope Tradition Can Continue in Parkersburg

8.6.20 – The Easterseals Rehabilitation Center announced tentative dates for the 34th annual Festival of Trees at The Blennerhassett Hotel. Participants are invited to decorate their entries at the hotel on November 15 and 16, 2020, and the display of trees, wreaths, and mantel arrangements will culminate in an auction on Thursday, December 3.

Festival of Trees is a celebration of creativity in the Mid-Ohio Valley as well as a longstanding fundraiser for Easterseals in West Virginia. Members of the community donate their time and talent to decorate dozens of trees and holiday pieces that can be admired at the hotel and purchased during the auction. Proceeds benefit families who receive life-changing services through Easterseals.

“We are cautiously optimistic about being able to continue this holiday tradition,” shared Allison O’Konski, Community Relations Director for Easterseals. “Many decorators plan their entries months in advance, so we want to share the dates now in the hope that a fall event is possible. Of course, we will only move forward if we can do so safely for all involved.”

The Blennerhassett Hotel is operating in line with Governor Jim Justice’s current permissions for events, meaning the Festival of Trees is subject to change based on the pandemic and related restrictions.

“We look forward to partnering with Easterseals again this year to host the Festival of Trees at The Blennerhassett Hotel. This annual holiday tradition has become a staple event during the holiday season, and the decorators begin working months in advance to design and decorate the beautiful trees we all enjoy viewing. As with everything we are doing, we will strictly follow the directive of the WV Governor’s Office and the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department to ensure a safe environment for all of our guests and staff members while viewing the trees,” said Seth Barbarow, Marketing & Media Specialist for The Blennerhassett Hotel.

Anyone who is interested in participating in the event can contact Easterseals (email aokonski@wv.easterseals.com or call 304.905.1706). Entry forms will be available in September.

“So many events have had to be canceled due to the pandemic, including all of Easterseals’ fundraisers up to this point,” O’Konski said. “We may have to get creative to pull off Festival of Trees, but for now, we’re holding onto hope.”


Kalkreuth Roofing Charities Donates to Easterseals

7.24.20 – The decision to cancel the 2020 Kalkreuth Amateur Golf Championship was a difficult one, but it was made with the health and safety of the participants and community in mind.

The tournament has been held every summer since 2007 in the Ohio Valley, drawing nearly 250 participants each year.

The event was scheduled to kick off with the Kalkreuth Vendor Invitational (KVI) on Friday, July 24. KVI draws more than 200 vendors from across the country to the Ohio Valley to golf, shop, and enjoy the beautiful scenery at Oglebay Resort.

“Due to concerns about the COVID-19 virus, we felt this was the best way to proceed during such an unprecedented global situation. Although it is unfortunate, because we always look forward to getting together and playing golf for a good cause, safety comes first,” said John Kalkreuth, chairman of Kalkreuth Roofing and Sheet Metal. “The best way to support our community right now is by following the guidelines to keep everyone safe.”

The KAGC was scheduled for Saturday, July 25 and Sunday, July 26 at the Palmer & Jones Golf Course at Oglebay resort. Since 2011, a portion of proceeds from the event have gone to benefit Easterseals, a local nonprofit organization that provides assistance to children and adults with disabilities. Although the tournament is cancelled, Kalkreuth was able to work with their partners and vendors to continue this tradition of giving and make a donation for 2020.

With the generous help of our vendors and partners, Kalkreuth Roofing and Sheet Metal was able to donate $27,790 to Easter Seals this year despite not being able to hold the event. Over the last 10 years, that total exceeds $150,000.

“The partnership we have with Kalkreuth has benefitted many of our families over the past 10 years. We are so grateful that, despite having to cancel the tournament, Kalkreuth is committed to supporting Easterseals. Their generosity helps us continue to change lives in our community,” shared Easterseals CEO Jay Prager. 

The KAGC will return for its 14th annual tournament in July 2021.


Easterseals Forgoes Telethon Due to COVID-19 Crisis

4.27.20—For the first time since 1975, Easterseals will not host its annual telethon. The organization decided to forgo its main fundraising event due to economic hardship in the community.

“While our need for financial support continues, we must be sensitive to conditions in the community,” explained CEO Jay Prager. “We could have transitioned the telethon to a digital format, but our board and management agreed that isn’t the direction we want to take during the pandemic.”

Over the past 45 years, generous telethon donors have contributed millions of dollars that have supported thousands of Ohio Valley families. Approximately 60 percent of Easterseals’ clients require some level of financial assistance, resulting in $300,000 in uncompensated care each year. That is why community support is vital to the nonprofit’s success.

Continuing Services

Despite the current crisis, Easterseals continues to provide essential services to most of its clients—even though those services can’t be offered face to face. The therapists and medical team are helping patients through telehealth and by sharing exercises and activities for families to do at home.

One service that has been largely unaffected by the pandemic is the West Virginia Birth to Three program. The service is free to all eligible children, available via telehealth, and does not require a doctor’s referral. Families with concerns about their child’s development are encouraged to call 1-800-619-5697.


UPMC Doctor Joins Easter Seal Rehabilitation Center

10.11.19 - The Easter Seal Rehabilitation Center is pleased to welcome Jason M. Edinger, D.O., of UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh (CHP) to its staff. Dr. Edinger specializes in pediatrics and physiatry (physical medicine and rehabilitation) and will treat new and existing Easter Seals patients in Wheeling on a monthly basis.

Since 2015, Easter Seals has partnered with UPMC to provide additional pediatric and physiatry expertise in Wheeling. At CHP, Dr. Edinger is the Clinical Director of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine as well as the director of both the Cerebral Palsy Clinic and the Brain Injury Clinic.

Dr. Edinger joins Ellen Kitts, M.D., who leads the Medical Services Department at Easter Seals and has more than 30 years of experience at the Center. As the only pediatric physiatrists in the region, they treat patients with a variety of diagnoses, from gait abnormalities to cerebral palsy.

“We are pleased to be able to offer this level of expertise to serve patients in the Ohio Valley,” shared Jay Prager, President/CEO.

To make an appointment with Dr. Edinger or Dr. Kitts, parents and/or caretakers should contact their primary doctor to request a referral to Easter Seals.


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