My life was forever changed in one diagnosis: cancer. After 25 years, I had finally learned that the rash on my body was the precursor to a rare form of cancer called for Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma (CTCL) that would need to be treated with full-body radiation. My treatment plan was as unique as my diagnosis.
In early May, we buried an amazing 19-year-old-boy. This was Ryan Marston, an inspiration to us all. He fought the good fight three times before finally losing his battle, but in his passing, this young man left behind a legacy -- he was determined not to be forgotten, though he did not know it then.
After being shamed into action by media report and letter writing campaigns, the Ontario Liberals have finally introduced an election financing reform bill. Unfortunately, it doesn't go far enough. The changes move the dial in the right direction -- by banning corporate and union donations, for example. But privileged hands can still find their way into the cookie jar. Quebec may have the solution to this problem.
The Ontario Liberal government has introduced legislation that will ban corporate, union and association political contributions and impose lower limits on those made by individuals. I am agnostic about this fundraising issue. In many ways, Ontario's current system works. All donations are made public. There are limits to how much each organization can give. Lobby rules require advocates to disclose their activities on a public registry. It is far less underground than people think.
You can try and spin it how you want, but the bottom line is that donors are only as altruistic as much as their socio-economic circumstances allow. A majority for the most part give because of their emotional connection to the cause, but that is only as long as they have additional income to give in the first place.
The status quo parties at Queen's Park have laser-sharp focus when it comes to attacks on each other's fundraising practices. The accusations they are throwing around ask who is selling access to whom. The truth: none of the three parties at Queen's Park have a clean record on donations. I support calls for inquiries into past practices and committees to consult the public, but I don't want these efforts to delay passing legislation to transform the system. Fixes should be in place before the 2018 provincial election. We need transformational change now to get the stink out of Queen's Park.
Dear Mike Bernier: If you truly believe there are no funding issues in our public schools, then I assume you think it is the job of parents and PACs to raise upwards of $30,000 a year to supply basic necessities for their children's school. Do you think that giving students in B.C. $1,000 less than the national average will offer them the best opportunities in their education?
Six weeks ago, when I thought about the Shoppers Drug Mart OneWalk to Conquer Cancer, it had not even occurred to me that my husband wouldn't be waiting for us at the finish line. He was fighting so hard to conquer his very aggressive lymphoma and by all accounts it seemed he was at least in partial remission.
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.
Because my cancer was hormone-sensitive, I need to take a drug called Tamoxifen that is proven to reduce the risk of the cancer returning and possibly spreading to another part of my body. The newest recommendation is to stay on this drug for 10 years. Great news, right? A drug that could actually help keep me alive. I am lucky to have that option. Unfortunately, hormonal therapy for cancer comes with a whack of side effects. The biggest one for me is that I've been told not to get pregnant while taking it, due to its potential to cause birth defects.
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.
People would pitch us whatever awesome thing they would do with money. Whoever won, would get the entire pot of cash, no strings attached. Awesome Shit Club was born. I thought that since our beer consumption encouraged the name and concept that the event would die or at least stay underground, but it's had the opposite effect.
When it comes to fighting brain tumours, having a strong and supportive team is the greatest weapon. I've been a social worker on the neurosurgery floor of a hospital for over 26 years. As one of the first people to have contact with a newly diagnosed brain tumour patient, I can attest that a strong network, a resilient team, is one of the greatest assets a patient, and their families, can equip themselves with as they begin this new chapter of their lives.
After a bout of severe vomiting following a few bites of food, she went to the ER and refused to leave until she got answers. She knew in her heart something was seriously wrong. After a series of tests, a gynaecologist arrived to break the news. It was indeed ovarian cancer. In fact, a tumour the size of a grapefruit was removed from her body.
Toppled piggy banks lay discarded on dressers. Couch cushions litter living room floors, the remains of an archaeological expedition for loose change. Cup holders in family cars across the country are missing coffee money. Youth across Canada have been busy collecting coins, especially pennies, and creating change.
One of my earliest memories as a child was going to Prince's Island Park in Calgary every June to walk The World Partnership Walk. Back then, I looked forward to it because we made it a family affair. I would head down to the park with my family and it seemed that in exchange for walking a mere 8 kilometers or so, I would receive a delicious chili lunch, have a chance to part in some fun activities, get my face painted and even come away with a few prizes (it was all well worth the stickers).