Happy Mother’s Day

My mom is a force of nature. She’s almost 87, and is as strong, fit, and funny as if she were 67. She thinks nothing of sump pumping her back yard during a Whitehorse spring thaw, whipping up a rhubarb pie or a batch of buns, taking care of my Dad for the last 63 years, or taking on just about anything else life throws at her. And she remains upbeat, positive, and looks for the good in people. Unless they don’t deserve it. I’ve got a lot to live up to. Happy Mom’s Day, Mom!

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In you to give and doesn’t hurt a bit

Last night Canadian Blood Services threw a Saskatoon bash for bleeders, and recognized the dedication of people who’ve made 25, 50, 100, 150 and even 200 donations. Steve Shannon was the host; there were speakers including Amanda Taylor, whose husband needed blood–lots of it–after a motorcycle crash. It was a particularly poignant event given the need for–and spike in–blood donations following the Humboldt Broncos bus crash. There were some of my favourite nurses who stick me every three months, and the chance to meet other donors like James Jackson, a 200+ donor. I was happy to receive my 100 donation certificate and renew my vow to find someone who’s never donated before to take up the habit. I’m booked for my 105th in June; who wants to come with me?

 

One to add to thoughts and prayers

As we are consumed by media coverage and haunted by the bus-semi crash that killed 15 Humboldt Bronco hockey players and staff last week, the victims of another bus crash are deserving of our thoughts and prayers, too. It was a small item in the paper, but no less horrific. 27 people, 23 of them children between the ages of 4 and 12, were killed when a private school bus carrying 34 people went off a cliff in India. As we grieve for our Canadians, and think fervently hopeful thoughts for those injured and affected, it’s a gesture of shared humanity that we take a moment to think of families on the other side of the world and extend our compassion to them, too.

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Our homies with extra chromies

I didn’t make that up for World Down Syndrome Day, but I wish I had! Hard to believe, but I’ve known Jessica Rotolo since 1998, and her dynamo mom since 1978. Not surprised to see that Jessica has turned into a firecracker, too. Mom Dorlean and I lost touch for a few years; she moved to Toronto, I became the communications person for the Saskatchewan Association for Community Living, an advocacy organization making life better for people with intellectual disabilities. I gained a husband and three stepchildren, one of whom, Jim, has Down syndrome. She got married to Joe, and had two girls. Back in 1998, by a little twist of fate, I got a call at my office one day. It was my old buddy Dorlean. “I think there’s a reason we met 20 years ago,” she said. “I just had a little girl. She’s beautiful. Her name is Jessica. She has Down syndrome.” When I screeched and yelled “Congratulations!” the years in between disappeared, and we were reconnected by Jim and Jessica. Fast forward: Jim was just named the Saskatoon YMCA Volunteer of the Year 2017 for over two decades of steady service. That’s my old pal Dorlean and Joe with Jessica, holding the Friends Don’t Count Chromosomes sign. Brilliant. Take a look at Jessica, appearing on CBC’s The Goods morning show and CITY’s Breakfast Television in Toronto to make everyone aware of World Down Sydrome Day last week (the whole wearing odd socks was part of the campaign). Jessica is hitting the Big 2-0 soon in April. Happy Birthday, Jessica! Keep it up; you’re becoming a great ambassador for people with and without disabilities, and I’m proud to count you among my homies with extra chromies!