Thursday, 21 April 2016

#TBT Looking into the rearview mirror on the many adventures of the L&G Road Runner

I have to admit that when I first read Dale's welcome to the team on the Hometown TV12 Facebook page I'd laughed out loud.  On one hand I was tickled pink to be continuing on our crazy adventures but the message itself tickled my funny bone. 

"I would like to welcome Tammy J. Wilson to Hometown TV12.

A tireless worker and community supporter, Tammy will be in charge of our Information/News Department as we progress as well as being involved in the planning stages of this new business and a staff writer. 

Welcome Tammy glad to have you aboard!!!."

Thinking back over the last 6 years of my many adventures along side the Leeds and Grenville Road Runner I can't remember a time when my job description or duties list was so concise.  Though who could blame him, when I listed out all of the things I've come to do in the course of a day I couldn't put a name on what my "job" should be called either..  but it still amused me.  Sometimes you just have to take the opportunity to laugh, right?

I'd actually joked with my teddybear about all the free time I'd have and what a new experience that would be.  his response made me laugh even harder -- he didn't miss a breath and said "Yeah right!  Good luck with that!"  Ah yes, he knows us too well..but then again , who better than our respective teddybears to know just how many hours we spend with our faces at the camera or computer. 

We are so truly blessed to have such fabulous support.  I know for myself, I truly don't know where I'd be without my beloved teddybear... his name is James by the way.  It occurs to me that I have gotten so used to calling him my teddybear that I seem to have replaced his name at least in print. 

I've been thinking a lot lately about this journey.  So many ups and downs, things I'd do a little differently if I could do them again and other things I wouldn't change for anything in the world.  

I was telling someone the other day about the very first event I'd ever covered for Brocknews.  I remember heading inside scared to death that the folks inside would see right through me hiding behind my camera and know that at the heart of it all was a simple step-mom and housewife, a survivor -- but certainly no media pesonality by any stretch.  

I wasn't very far inside when someone shouted "Oh good local media is here!"  you can imagine her surprise when I turned around to see who was coming,  or how red my face was when I turned back around realizing that she'd been referring to me..  If she noticed, she was gracious and didn't say anything, thank goodness.  

But oh how far we've come since then and what a ride it has been.  

I've gotten to meet so many fabulous people from all over our region. We've met some famous faces, and local dignitaries and folks that I never dreamed I'd be chatting with over tea. 

As awesome as it was to chat with some of favourite country music artists at the Capital Country Fest / Spencerville Stampede last year, and having my teddybear pulled up on stage with his camera..  sometimes I still feel like I should pinch myself to see if it's real.  I've been equally excited to meet a variety of intrepid volunteers and local dignitaries and some of my own personal hometown heroes.  I have been blessed to call many of you friends.   

Perhaps more importantly though, it's the every day people in our community that are out there knee deep making things happen, making a difference.  "Getting shit done!" as a good friend of mine is fond of saying that get me the most fired up.  Seeking out those unsung heroes and people doing unimaginable things with little or no help or legions of people banding together for a cause.  SO many adventures to pursue..  

So many amazing things that never would have happened to us, if I'd never met Dale Elliott.  

Over the last several years many have alluded to a thing or two.  In the last several weeks I've had many comment on my committment -- my loyalty to the community and to the man himself.  Some have asked on occasion if there was a thing.. (laughs).  Sure there's a thing! It's a big one!  A love of community, of people and of telling the stories from people in our community that are just waiting for someone to come and find them and make some noise.  

It's a thing.. and it's a powerful one! 

Friday, 8 April 2016

A Surprise Smile in the Mailbox - A gift of hope.

You just never know what the mail carrier might bring.  
I thought it a bit strange when I opened my mail this morning and saw that I had a letter from the Huntington Society of Canada but I opened it right away being the curious sort that I am..
I'd heard it was going to happen, but I guess it slipped my mind. Our area's very own Erin Wade is featured in their latest fundraising letter!!  You may recall that I wrote an article about Erin's journey last year.
Seeing that familiar smile made me stop and take pause. I've seen this picture many times -- why was today any different? Perhaps it truly wasn't, but in many ways a switch had been tripped. As strange as it may sound, her's is a smile that will never leave me. I will no longer see a post or PSA for HD or JHD without thinking of that magical smile. The eternal hope, and the wish for better days -- not just a wish -- Erin and Cindy are in active pursuit of the elusive light at the end of the tunnel. That kind of energy is contageous.
This wasn't someone in a country far away, or an unknown victim. She could be the lady that lives next door, or he daughter. She could be your daughter.. and she had my attention.
I pulled out the letter and read it. I knew the story, but I read it anyhow -- I couldn't help but think that the story needed a happier ending, but I guess that's where the letter ends and the opportunity begins.  
Though the core of the story is sad, I cannot help but applaud Erin and her mom Cindy for sharing her story and not letting JHD take away that magnifcent smile and spirit they share. 
As I type this, Erin's Mom Cindy and a crew of dedicated volunteers are well underway for a Vendor and Craft Sale to benefit the Huntington Society of Canada. The event will be held Saturday, April 30th, 2016 from 10am - 3pm at St. Francis Xavier School in Brockville. For the latest details on the event visit their Facebook page.

People always say that you don't really know about anything until you've experienced it. Causes don't really connect with you unless you've experienced it first hand, either personally, or by way of a friend or loved one. I'm the first to admit I've recycled dozens of these sorts of letters over the years because I simply didn't have the money to support at the time. In hindsight I think as many were because they didn't resonate with me in any way. There are so many causes to support. Surely we cannot support everything that comes our way.

I cannot help but send my thanks to those fearless warriors in our communities that keep on keeping on despite seeminly inhuman odds and just keep on going. I am ever inspired to tell your stories.. Like many of you I see so much that needs betterment but I haven't got the means to "fix" it. For some things, I wouldn't have the first clue where to even start.
I'm here to tell you.. every person CAN make a difference..

One person, can share an story, a thought, an idea with another, and then there are two. With enthusiasm and energy come progress and before you know it the seed becomes the garden. Supporting area charity and your community is much the same concept. It is where My idea for my "Opportunity Knocks" column popped up. I have plans for its return very soon.
Today I share a story, what comes next is up to you!
If you'd like to learn more about Huntington's Disease please visit the Huntington Society of Canada's Webpage.
If you'd like to make a donation, there's a link right here for your convenice. This letter says that all donations made before June 30th will be matched dollar for dollar --- that's like doubling your investment!
But don't let a lack of cashflow dampen your enthusiasm. THere are plenty of ways you can help out without spending money you don't have. Volunteering, for example, costs nothing but time. Get connected, ask what you can do.

The simple act of sharing Erin's story is an act of kindness and compassion. Without awareness, we are all in the dark. Turning the lights on make even the scariest of nights turn to daylight.  

We need only find the darkness that compels us the most and take a step.

When Opportunity Knocks, How will you answer?

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