June Awareness | Get Involved!

AwarenessJune is a month full of awareness and opportunity for many to do good, to participate in walks and runs to support their favourite charities, or to donate their cars for a great cause! Sometimes it can be overwhelming to decide where best to donate your time or your funds, but each of us knows someone affected by disease or injury.

To put perspective on some of these life altering issues, please allow me to share personal stories about each of the following charities who so deservingly need our support.

It’s ALS Awareness month (otherwise known as Lou Gherig’s disease). Several years ago I worked with a gentleman whose wife was diagnosed with ALS and he had to watch the love of his life deteriorate slowly, over a few years. When she passed away, he was a completely broken man and it took a long time for him to recover from his loss. In those moments, it would have been fantastic to have a ray of hope, to have some lifeline to offer her for her agonizing deterioration and for him to not experience that kind of loss for so many years before she was gone.

Please visit one of our charities – The ALS Society of Alberta – for more information about the disease and how you can make a difference.

Watching a baby who needs to have a shunt surgically implanted in his little body to drain the fluid from his brain and watching him endure multiple surgeries before his first birthday, was probably one of the most challenging things I’ve ever experienced – and he wasn’t even my child. His little life encompassed brain injury due to premature birth, along with cerebral palsy. Caring for this wee one to provide relief for my dear friends certainly brought awareness of the things people go through that sometimes we have no understanding of.

These two charities – Spina Bifida/Hydrocephalus Association of Alberta and Brain Trust Canada – impact the lives and families of those dealing with the challenges that come with both disease and brain injury, and are deserving of the funds they receive to carry on the work of research and family support.

Awareness 2The other event taking place this month that does happen to me near and dear to my heart is the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. We all know more than one person in our lives who has experienced the ‘C’ word, and the ripple effect on the families is enormous. In my immediate world, it was my son. He was diagnosed at the ripe old age of 10 months (you can read more about it here) and we participated in our first Relay when he was 18 months of age. One thing I was naïve about before our experience in the wide world of cancer, was how much of a difference research really does make. Ten years before he was diagnosed, the survival rate for my son’s type of cancer was about 10%. When he was in treatment, the prognosis had changed to a 96% survival rate. Every dollar counts.

For my boy’s 5th Relay for Life Victory Lap in Edmonton he got to lead the pack!

As you consider donating your vehicle to generate funds for a charity you are passionate about, never underestimate the value of your gift. As you can see, lives are being touched daily by people like you, willing to give to better the life of another.

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Shandra Carlson

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