It takes a village…

IMG_0210The truth is that is DOES in fact take a village – to endure this process and all the ups and downs along the way. What is shocking is how big your village really is. There’s the village you expect – family, friends, neighbours. Even teachers at your kids school or co-workers who turn into more than interested cubicle mates.

We found our village has grown exponentially in the last four years. We have met people who have their own story and experience and because they are now a part of the community that gives back, that says thank-you, that tries to make something a little bit easier, a hard moment a little less dark, they become part of our tribe somehow.

I first met Gord Bamford at a cheque presentation and, to be honest, I didn’t know who he was. But I soon learned what he was doing and the role he had played in creating the Music Therapy program at London Children’s Health Foundation. The truth is that music is what could reach Fiona – it was the only thing that could reach her – when she went dark. There was a time in her treatment – and recovery and complications – when she stopped talking, she stopped interacting and went into herself.

We didn’t know if she would ever come back to us at all. Or if she did, would she be the same curious, funny, bright-eyed little firecracker she had been at the beginning.

Gord Bamford continues to support our community in lots of ways – even though he is a big-deal, country super star living in Nashville (and I know who he is and, don’t tell anybody, but I also listen to country music now and am a fan!). This year, the Gord Bamford Foundation will be generously supporting our tournament in our effort to give back to the community here in London and the kinds of programs that the Children’s Health Foundation offers.

Thanks for being part of our tribe Gord.

Read more about the pivotal Music Therapy: Out of the Darkness…

 

Blotting Out The Sun

The eclipse today (I promise I didn’t stare at the sun…for long) got me thinking about how powerful darkness and light is. On the heels of Fiona’s transplant anniversary (3 years on August 14th), I’m feeling particularly contemplative and the blotting out of the sun was just another reason to reflect on where we are and where we have been.

There was so much darkness in the past few years and, for a while, Fiona retreated into it. She was a child, frightened, confused and in pain – so she went dark. She stopped talking, she stopped eating, she just stopped. Like someone blotted out her sun.

It was the resources at the hospital – from child life therapists to rehabilitation support to music therapy – who helped her come back to us. Everyone from the staff who cleaned her room, the volunteers who would bring a coffee when i couldn’t (or wouldn’t) leave her. We didn’t know if her light would ever come back, or if it would be the same. We had to be patient. We had to wait. And now? She’s not quiet anymore!

It’s been a busy year for Fiona! She turned 6 in April and continues to surprise us. Her winter was a bit rocky and she was hospitalized twice for virus and infections – but not as rocky as the winter before – so we take all these little things as a win! She officially graduated from Kindergarten and will be starting Grade 1 in September. It was not long ago that we wondered if she would even get the chance to go to school at all so to see her performing (and man, that kid can perform!) at her graduation ceremony was a big, big deal.

This summer she has embraced the cottage life and turned into quite the little fisher-person. She loves her Barbie fishing rod and has learned how to bait her own hook and ‘reel ’em’ in on her own. Daddy still has to help get the fish off the hook but, to be fair, I get his help to get my fishes off the hook too¬†

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Last week marked the 3rd Anniversary of her Transplant (her re-birthday). I will always have mixed emotions about the Transplant as it was the treatment that ultimately saved her but, also, almost killed her and left her with issues she will have to manage for the rest of her life.

But then I remember she gets to have a “rest of her life” and I feel a bit better.

The last 3 years with her have been charming and challenging, uplifting and soul-destroying, frustrating and joyous. She challenges us with her bold and independent natures, she charms us with her personality. She lifts us up and reminds us that she – better than anyone – has perspective and sometimes remembers things that hurt my soul. She frustrates us in the way a 6 year-old only can and that, in itself, is a source of joy.

She is 6 years-old, 3-years from her re-birthday, having experiences – and sharing all that with us.

And she cannot wait to welcome you at the 5th Annual Autumn Classic.

Fiona is a hell of a kid and our family is stronger for the resources and resilience of our London Community. I hope you can join us to raise some money and awareness of the invaluable asset we have in the London Children’s Hospital. Quite simple, Fiona wouldn’t be here without it.