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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