Bottle returns for Leukemia

26 May

This weekend is the #R4L2012 Returns for Leukemia 2012 bottle drive. Returns For Leukemia is a fundraiser held each May by United Food & Commercial Workers Local 12R24 in partnership with The Beer Store to raise funds for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada.

All you have to do is gather your empty bottles and take them to your local Beer Store – they do the rest thanks to the many volunteers! It is a simple way to clean up at home and donate to raise funds for individuals and families affected by Leukemia.

On a personal note, I support this cause because I have a dear friend whose sister was diagnosed early this year with Leukemia. She has pulled through all her treatments with the love and support of family and friends. I have witnessed close hand the strain and struggle that it has been for her and her family. This disease is all-consuming and treatments are harsh and have often brought her to the brink, leaving her family praying for her to hang on and pull through. The amount of transfusions and side effects are too numerous to list. She still has a long road to travel with many unforeseen bumps and detours along the way to her recovery.

This is simply one story of one person struggling with Leukemia, there are so many more. This year alone, 5000 people in Canada will be diagnosed with Leukemia…, 2500 will die.  You can help. You can make a difference today.

This weekend for those that can’t get to a Beer Store to return their empties donate $5 by texting LLS to 45678

Learn how to be a donor at Onematch.ca , just another great way to help save a life today – you can be someone’s hero!

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“Mental Health is nothin…

7 May

“Mental Health is nothing to be ashamed of, but stigma and bias shame us all.” Bill Clinton

May 7 to 13 we are celebrating Mental Health Week,!  Let’s take a few minutes to talk about a subject that that makes people uneasy and uncomfortable. Isn’t it fun to watch people squirm! 

Do you love to exercise? When was the last time you did any mental exercise? Canadian Mental Health Association has posted some excellent ideas. http://www.mentalhealthweek.ca/mental_health_for_all.php

Keeping ourselves healthy includes a balance of physical exercise, healthy eating and keeping our minds well and strong. It’s easy to find tips and tricks on the first two, but how often do you hear people standing around the water cooler talking about how they keep themselves mentally agile and healthy? Minding Our Bodies is a great website that talks about wonderful ideas that help us maintain that balance. 

Take some time this week to learn more about keeping our minds healthy and share some information with a friend. If we share with one friend and they share with another friend we can go a long way to helping improve the mental health of our community as a whole. Creating awareness is the first step. Cheers to all who choose to work on improving their mental health this week. 

 

People like you

29 Apr

I recently attended my final class at McMaster University and walked away feeling a little numb. It has been a long journey, filled with so many challenges and countless hours spent on my little laptop into the wee hours of the night.  Now that I can say I have achieved the goal I set out to accomplish, faced with a bittersweet feeling, I am torn between elation and sadness that this chapter is over.  I found myself puttering around the house questioning what was next.

This last class was Integrated Marketing Communications and honestly, I wasn’t even sure why I chose to take it in the first place, other than I was curious. I wanted to know what IMC was and how it worked, but I wasn’t really sure what it was going to do to enhance my life or how I would ever find a use for it. As it turns out, this was the perfect class for me to take and I have not regretted a moment.

My teacher for IMC was Hilary Sadler. She is a dynamo! Hilary came prepared to teach and inspire and to cultivate skills and talents in each of us in the class. She was interactive, full of stories and knowledge and actively sought ways to bring out the best in her students. Hilary encouraged us to accept difficult challenges and not to back away or take an easier path. I know, without a doubt, that any who have encountered Hilary, either at school or at work, are blessed with her enthusiasm and brilliance in the field of marketing.  It is a true gift that she has developed and mastered and she openly shares her knowledge with passion, grace and humility. Her fervor in class urges you to want to succeed.

Our last gathering as a class was an informal gathering to chat about any last-minute questions and to pick up our exams and projects. Thank you Tanya for the scrumptious spread of goodies, how kind and generous of you.  The gathering was one-of-a-kind for me, as no other teacher had offered this type of closure or opportunity. It seemed right and necessary for me to attend and I am so glad I did. This class had obviously formed a bond. It was an amazing way to wrap up my time at McMaster and it further confirmed the value of the time I spent in all those classrooms.  I’d like to share the email that I sent to my classmates and teacher. It seems to sum up my experience in this IMC class as well as the other classes I attended and classmates I have befriended over the years.

“People like you, teachers and fellow students, are the very reason that I’ve been able to commit to attending courses at McMaster and finally complete my studies in Business. You collectively and individually inspire me. You teach me something new and exciting each time we meet. You challenge me to open my mind and eyes to new ways of thinking or viewing the world around me. You encourage me to reach higher and achieve new goals or dreams that I never thought possible. These lessons I will not forget.

So to each of you I say thank you. Thank you for the immeasurable value and inspiration that you have brought into my life. Continue on your varied paths, accepting the challenges set before you. Face your fears with defiance and confidence. Use the tools you have learned and conquer whatever stands in your way. Be fiercely proud of your accomplishments and hold your head high. Lend a caring hand to all that you encounter.
I wish you continued success and happiness in your journey of life.”
In the words of Albert Einstein, “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”

Burlington Performing Arts Centre

26 Apr

I just want to share with you a little gem that I discovered tonight tucked in the delightful downtown core of Burlington.  Just like their tag line promises, it was an “experience that inspired” at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre on Locust Street just off Lakeshore. What a fantastic evening. 

We were fortunate to enjoy the absolutely amazing talents of 11 young Brazilian men who charmed and enthralled the audience with their passion, endless energy, drama and humour. The Compagnie Kafig is the name of the group and Corrieria and Agwa was the performance. It means ‘running’ and ‘water’. This group of men, who have been performing together for 6 years, is comprised of talents and skills learned by practicing on the street and in formal training. They are dedicated to their art and committed to thoroughly entertaining their audience. 

What a lovely venue for an enjoyable evening. I know it won’t be our last time visiting the Burlington PAC. 

National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week

24 Apr

Greetings! Let’s have a little chat about Organ and Tissue Donation for tonight’s topic. For those of you who don’t already know, it is National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week. Did you know the following statistics:

  • it takes 4 donors a month to help someone with a blood disorder
  • 8 donors a week to help someone with leukemia
  • 5 donors to help a heart surgery patient
  • 50 donors to save a car accident victim

The need for donors is an ongoing need. If you sit for just a moment you will most likely be able to count a few people you know that have recently been in a situation that needs a blood donation. Cancer patients, surgery patients, transplant patients, car accident victims and so many more.

I will be truthful, I have not yet been brave enough to become a blood donor myself, but, recent personal events have encouraged me to overcome my deep-seated fear of needles to call and commit to making an appointment with the local Canadian Blood Services office to make a donation. My rationale is that if people who need these donations can bravely survive their serious medical troubles, I can surely get up the gusto to get over my fear and give a little help.

How about organ donation, have you signed your drivers licence and told your family members of your wishes? If not, now is a great week to have that all important discussion. Can there be any more beautiful or meaningful gift to give than the gift of life? Talk about it, and act on your decision this week. What a wonderful tribute to leave, a legacy of the person you are, caring and generous and selfless.

Find out more this week and talk about blood, organ and tissue donation with friends, family, and co-workers. Maybe you will join me in committing to give the gift of life today.

Stuff, stuff and more stuff

22 Apr

In honour of Earth Day 2012, I decided to write one more post, this time to tell you about the Story of Stuff Project. Maybe you have already heard about it or watched the video, but even so it’s worth a few minutes of your time to remind you that consumer choices are important and they impact our society and our world…our earth.

I first stumbled upon this video a few years ago and I realized I did not know much about the chain of events that lead up to the production and sales of the products I buy daily. I watched this video again today and it shocked me at how many of those details had slipped my mind and how materialistic I had allowed myself to become yet again. It’s like a drug or an addiction and that’s simply not healthy for me, or anyone else for that matter.

Recent events made me aware that we had accumulated way too much stuff in our home. When it came time to deal with the removal of the contents it was a conundrum about how to go ahead. What do we do with it? What do we get rid of and what should we keep? Where do we send it; dump, recycle, thrift store, family and friends? Purging the house felt good. But it was stressful. So many things had emotional sentiment and it almost felt like a personal betrayal to get rid of it, but yet it had to go. The clutter becomes overwhelming and unhealthy in so many ways. So how do we end up in this situation in the first place? Do we do it to ourselves? Did we cause our own crisis by our own consumer habits and reckless choices?

The short answer for most of us would be yes! Let’s accept responsibility for our actions. We shop for things we need, and convince ourselves that our ‘wants’ are also items that we need, we cannot live without. We life in a disposable lifestyle that tells us that we will not be happy without the latest and greatest, and that broken or outdated toy bought yesterday is better thrown away and replaced by a new one because it’s just not cost-effective to fix. Sound familiar? We are all guilty of that thinking…myself included. Where on earth does it stop? Where does it all end up? What is the impact on all of this in our world, environment, personal health, economy?

It changes when you and I decide to make different choices, better choices. Choices in our shopping habits about where we choose to shop, what we choose to buy and how we choose to live. Do the stores we frequent have healthy practices that support our environment and community, support those who shop in them and those who work in them? Do we know where the merchandise comes from or how it is made? Is it full of toxic chemicals that pollute our earth and our health? Can we source alternatives and find healthier products and live a happier and healthier life? Can our economy survive and sustain us in a less consumerist focused society? The answer lies with me and you. It comes down to our own choices.

Speaking from my heart, I know that I believe that it is possible to make change happen. I want to make better consumer choices that focus on ensuring that my choices make positive impact on my community and my earth and ultimately and most importantly my family.  It is important to me that I know where I shop and what I buy is supporting a sustainable earth. It is certain that I will make mistakes and sometimes sloppy choices, but committing to make a conscious effort is the first step. Following through on that decision is the second step. Informing myself of product and company knowledge is another step. All these little steps and purposeful choices add up.  Each person who decides to take these steps also makes a positive impact as well. Now the next important question is …what will you decide today?

Happy Earth Day my friends!

Earth Day 2012

21 Apr

Well it’s finally here, Earth Day Weekend 2012! I woke up this morning to the sound of chirping birds and knew I couldn’t stay in bed one more minute. I had to rise and enjoy a beautiful spring day (and yes, it’s 5:30am). The birds singing in the early morning is one of the things I miss most during those long winter months, perhaps when I need them the most. They seem to inspire me to get up and get going instead of rolling over and hiding deeper under the covers. 

As I am writing, I wonder what about nature inspires you to get up and get moving? Is it the sounds of spring, or the urge to get out and get your hands dirty in the garden? Maybe you are eager to push away the dead leaves that are covering the new plants that are already peaking out of the ground. I get excited to see that too. The trees and bushes are beginning to bud and colour is appearing everywhere. It is beautiful just to stand and look around. 

In Hamilton, people will celebrate Earth Day in so many ways, with family, friends and community. There are organized clean ups and tree planting and rain barrel sales just to name a few events. Yesterday I know of schools and daycare centers that organized grounds clean up and celebrated new water refilling stations. That is exciting news! It is important to get everyone involved and caring for our earth, from the very young to the very old. We can all make a difference and every little bit helps.

Last night, as I was browsing online Earth Day articles, I read a post on Facebook about the amazing David Suzuki and his decision to step down from the Board of Directors for the David Suzuki Foundation. If you wish, you can read his open letter on the David Suzuki Foundation page.  I was saddened to understand that, in short, it was political and societal bullying that caused him to decide to remove himself from his life’s work and passion in order to protect it.  In order to allow him to openly share his knowledge and understanding about protecting the environment, he chose to make a change, and a difficult one it was. 

Isn’t that what Earth Day is really all about? It is a reminder to all of us that we need to make changes in our lifestyle and the daily decision we make that affect our earth, our environment. Sometimes those changes can be difficult and require sacrifice, commitment and courage, but they can have long lasting impact…for our children and our grandchildren. If nothing else, this weekend I challenge you to think about what changes you can make around home, or work or your local community centre that can positively impact our world, our city, our neighbourhood.

 I was recently at a showing of The Lorax, the wonderful story by Dr. Seuss. It is a fabulous and highly entertaining movie about “environment vs business” and I highly recommend you watch it, or pick up the book for an inspirational bed time read with the kids. I must applaud Dr. Seuss for such forward thinking when he wrote this story many years ago.  Also inspired by the story is the Lorax Project and I encourage you to check it out with your kids. I want to leave you with a few of my favorite quotes: 

“I am the Lorax and I’ll yell and I’ll shout for the fine things on earth that are on their way out!”

“I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.”

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Happy Earth day my friends!  Celebrate the changes you will make for your life today and celebrate the earth around us that sustains us and brings us beauty and life.  Be inspired, and be the change needed today. Care a whole awful lot!