Joe Coughlin: A Camper, A Timmy, An Award Winning Singer

Joe was born semi-paralyzed on his right side and spent his childhood on crutches, and today is in a motorized wheelchair. It wasn’t easy for Joe to watch the other kids run around and play, but around the age of five, he began attending Easter Seals Camps and everything changed–for the better.

“Living in a world that is not accessible and then having the opportunity to go to a summer camp that had a completely accessible environment was life changing,” says Joe.

Camp was also a place where he could see how other kids just like him, dealt with their disabilities and challenges. “Growing up I wasn’t around other kids with disabilities, so to make friends with kids that were similar to me, and we could talk and understand what was going on in each other lives, was very impactful,” says Joe, who’s remained friends with the same boys over forty years later.

Camp was so life changing that Joe became a ‘Timmy’ so he could share his positive experience with everyone he met. For two years as a young child, Joe was an ambassador for Easter Seals Camps, giving interviews and sharing his experienc

e. It was being on stage as a ‘Timmy’ that gave him the love of being in front of an audience and hearing people clap for him.

Going to camp and being a Timmy gave Joe the confidence he needed to take part in his every day life:

“The experiences I had at camp, gave me the confidence to tackle grade school, high school and university, and pursue a career that would eventually put me in front of an audience,” says Joe.

Today Joe is an award-winning Canadian jazz vocalist who’s performed with an amazing number of great Canadian artists with international credentials. Joe also volunteered his voice at our Victoria Regatta fundraiser back in the mid 2000s. Giving back to Easter Seals Camps is an important, full-circle moment for Joe.

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