Every day, 27 Canadians are diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. On April 7 of this year, 26 of them were strangers to me. The one who wasn't, the one whose text message -- "please come home ...I have the bad brain cancer" -- is seared into my memory like the deepest of scars, the one whose eyes I've sought for strength, resolve, security and acceptance for two decades, is my wife.
We value charities mostly based on how low the overhead is -- this is a deeply entrenched, if not consciously examined, measuring stick for charities. We want our support to go exclusively toward program delivery and not into staff, operations, technology, or training and development -- as if the two are completely unrelated.
Charity, they say, begins at home, though it it can be born anywhere where heart and soul prevail. Cue a recent project in The Annex -- home to Sheena's Place. With no available budget, we knew the only way was to depend on the generosity of others. Here's how with a dash of Scottish fairy dust and the generosity of our friends, we brought the space alive.
For the most part, Hailey is just like any other seven-year-old. However, this past December, she was diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition called Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Hailey's wish is to have a pop-up camper so that she can go camping with her family and friends and play in the woods, stare up at the stars, stay up past her bedtime.
The mission of #JustGive, to inspire the idea that giving can be simple, spontaneous and contagious, is something that I am really passionate about. Here are my top five fun, easy and totally free ideas that we can all incorporate into our daily lives that will have a "pay it forward" effect on our community.
Some call him a hero, but Imad Zammar says that if his mom, Freida Zammar, is present, she is quick to correct them and say, "he's not a hero -- he did what you are supposed to do -- for family." Maybe, but not everyone saves their older brother's life by giving him a kidney. And that is exactly what Zammar did.
My dog was carefully assessed, x-rayed, and operated on by the best veterinary surgeon, and then received excellent private follow-up care. All of this cost several thousands of dollars. I did not think twice about spending the money. But after reading a piece in the New York Times recently, John and I began to grapple with the ethics of directing so much money to an animal.
With every action you take, you change the world, too -- for better or for worse -- whether or not you even realize it. Changing the world for the better, in my view, is an achievable goal for every single Canadian. And it's much like achieving any other goal in that all you need to do is start working on forming habits that contribute toward the change you want to see.
At 23 years of age, Nasreen Sheikh radically redefines what it means to be a Nepali woman. She is a Sunni Muslim living in a predominately Hindu community and is the founder of a fair-trade sewing collective called Local Women's Handicrafts. Nasreen is an outlier in her community. Typically, most Nepali girls marry between the ages of 15 and 18. The pressure to have a married daughter began to increase with each year Nasreen remained single however, and in 2014, Nasreen's parents decided that they had to take action. For Nasreen, this arranged marriage would have meant the end of Local Women's Handicrafts.
Sure, you might throw a few coins in the Salvation Army Christmas kettle at the mall, or write a cheque for the charity canvasser who comes knocking on your door, or send some canned goods to school with your kids for their annual fundraiser. But you probably do it without giving it a lot of thought, at least if you're like most of us.
It's true that most governments in developing countries provide education for children. And there's no doubt that millions of children overseas are intelligent, hard-working and yearning to succeed. But let's consider the many challenges which children in the world's poorest regions face when trying to attend school.