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Amy Phillips; Dr. Caroline Roncadin; Cliff Martz; Arlene DeGroot; and Karen Margallo

Lighting up the World

After their seven-year-old son passed away in 2016, Arlene and her husband Cliff chose to honour their son by helping others with his condition.
“It’s exciting to know how these carts will impact patient care.”

Ryan Martz was born with a congenital disorder called Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum, which meant that the hemispheres of his brain couldn’t communicate with each other. But that didn’t stop this extraordinary boy from lighting up the world and inspiring those around him.

“His condition resulted in a number of developmental delays,” explains Ryan’s mother, Arlene DeGroot. “He found appointments distressing because he was out of his element. Ryan loved lights and other sensory experiences, which calmed him down and made the appointments go more smoothly.”

After Ryan passed away in 2016 at the age of seven, Arlene and her husband Cliff Martz founded Ryan’s Rays, a charitable foundation inspired by their late son.

To help other children in need, Ryan’s Rays funded the purchase of two Snoezelen carts for Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre. The carts provide various lighting effects, sounds and tactile accessories to help agitated patients relax and focus.

“We’re extremely grateful for this generous donation,” says Dr. Caroline Roncadin, Clinical Director of the Autism Spectrum Disorder Program. “We also appreciate the portability and flexibility of these carts, which we can bring to sessions throughout the building for children with various diagnoses, medical conditions and challenging behaviours.”

For Arlene and Cliff, funding the purchase of the Snoezelen carts through Ryan’s Rays was a wonderful way to honour Ryan.

“We wanted to do something local and give back to the community,” says Cliff. “It’s exciting to know how these carts will impact patient care.”

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