Tuesday, March 28, 2017

In Honor of Kindness

A few weeks ago, I had the amazing opportunity of attending the Member's Statements Session of the Ontario Legislature at Queen's Park, as a special guest of Member of Provincial Parliament Granville Anderson. After meeting Mr. Anderson at one of my Jacob's Healing Rooms events, I had extended the invitation for him to join me for my Jacob's Birthday Bonanza party back in December to learn more about my Jacob's Healing Rooms project and my plans to help out Sick Kids Hospital by creating child-friendly spaces to receive outpatient IV treatment. Mr. Anderson was quite impressed with what I have done so far in fundraising and inspiring others to make a difference in this world of ours.

You can watch Mr. Anderson's speech via YouTube here:

These amazing words of recognition for my Jacob's Healing Rooms, along with the kind words later shared by other Members meant so very much to me. It's very encouraging to have my efforts recognised and it motivates me to work even harder towards my goals. However while it is nice to be recognised, I also am aware of just how much more I want to do to make a positive change in this world.

During my visit to Queen's Park, I had an awesome time chatting with another one of my local Members of Provincial Parliament, Jennifer French. We were talking about how Ms. French is actually my local MPP, while Mr. Anderson is in the next riding over. Good ol' political geographical boundaries, gotta love them. But the point is a good one - Jacob's Healing Rooms doesn't have a specific "location".  Children come from all over Central and Southern Ontario to be treated at the IBD Centre at Sick Kids Hospital. The impact that I hope to have with Jacob's Healing Rooms will hopefully make a difference for children from all over this province. Yes, I'm working right now to transform the outpatient IV treatment rooms, but I'm also hoping that this is just the beginning of some wonderful things to come.

Jacob's Healing Rooms might be working to create a better treatment area for sick children and their families, but it's about so much more than that at the same time. I've been thinking a lot about this while I've been struggling to find the right words that fit with my thoughts. Yes, I started Jacob's Healing Rooms because of my experiences at Sick Kids Hospital getting IV treatments for several hours a day for my Crohn's Disease but it all came from recognising a huge need, something that was lacking that could make the treatment experience better in this world. And that's exactly what needs to be done by us all.

Regardless of our geographical political boundaries, regardless of our race, age, gender, religion and personal beliefs, we all have one thing in common; we're all capable of change. Each one of us has the ability to take their personal experiences, find something that would make it better, and create positive change. If we do this, if we each make just one positive change in this world, one act of kindness, our world would become that much better for everyone and the future generations. That's what Jacob's Healing Rooms is about. It's about bringing people together to help inspire them and encourage them to always search for the one thing that could make a difference to others. It's about dreaming big and finding ways to achieve those dreams. Kindness, hope and love are three of the greatest gifts that you can give to others. And the best thing about those gifts? They're free to give.

To Premier Kathleen Wynne, Health Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins, Speaker of the House, Dave Levak, Lisa Gretzky, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedules to share some kind words of encouragement with me.

And Mr. Hoskins, when you asked me if I had any advice for you, we should totally talk because man, do I ever have some suggestions on creating healthier communities!

To learn more about Jacob's Healing Rooms project, please follow along on my blog, Facebook Page, Twitter (@KidWithCrohns) and Instagram (@jacobshealingrooms!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Golden Friends

"Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same" - Flavia Weedn

Strangers are just people you haven't had the opportunity to meet yet. Myself, I believe that strangers can quickly become friends and friends can quickly become family. I've had the amazing opportunity to meet a lot of strangers through my fundraising, Scouting, and being on social media so often. What always does surprise me is the amount of kindness that I've been shown by so many strangers who have quickly become like family to me. Seeing the generosity that has been offered by so many people on my journey has lifted my spirits on difficult days and inspires me to keep going. 

Gold Reflections in the Bowmanville Mall has been an amazing supporter of my Jacob's Healing Rooms Project. Marilyn, Karen and Ken Easby, the owners of the store, heard of my struggles with Crohn's Disease and plans to make the treatment process better, and jumped at the opportunity to support my charity work to make child-friendly IV treatment rooms at Sick Kids Hospital. The Easby family went to various local businesses and organizations to seek donations for promotional draw items that they could give away as prizes. All of the fabulous staff at the store encouraged customers to get involved in supporting my fundraising efforts. They were able to gather enough donations to host multiple weekly draws from Gold Reflection's 30th Anniversary celebrations in November to Valentine's Day.

In total, Gold Reflections was able to raise $5797 for Jacob's Healing Rooms! This goes a long way to helping to improve the treatment experience for so many kids at Sick Kids. The draws were the perfect example of how a local business can bring the community together to help create a positive change. 

But Gold Reflections wouldn't have been able to pull this event off without the help and support of the many local businesses who generously donated prizes. I'd like to give a shout out of thanks to: 

Kelsey's Restaurant - Bowmanville
Shauna Duff of the Bowmanville Mall
Rotary Club Bowmanville
Dr Doreland at the Oshawa Animal Hospital
GEM Lab.
Rhonda Miller & Ron Baldwin
NEBS FunWorld
Enesco Canada
East Side Mario's Bowmanville
Staples Bowmanville
Hair House (Bowmanville Mall)
Top Choice Nail Salon
Nygard - Bowmanville
CJB Insurance
Canadian Tire
Cineplex Theatre Oshawa
Cineplex Theatre Bowmanville
Shoppers Drug Mart Bowmanville Mall
GoodLife Fitness - Bowmanville Mall

And of course, none of any of that would have been possible without the kindness of the people who made donations as they picked up their draw tickets. Thank you SO MUCH to those who got involved in supporting my special project. 

Even my words of thanks are not enough to say how overwhelmingly grateful I am for all the hard work everyone put in to make this event such a success. Thank you Gold Reflections and welcome to Jacob's Squad. Together we're going to make a huge difference!