Monday, January 18, 2016

The Curling Community and Me

I'll be the first to admit it proudly; I'm brains, not brawn. Not that I'll never be brawn or anything, it's just that 3 years of being extremely sick have led me away from sports. If I can't walk across a field without feeling like my heart is going to explode, I'm pretty sure most sports are going to be crossed off the list...for now.

Something strange has happened though. Something wonderfully, delightfully strange and awesome has happened.

Sports has touched my life in another very unexpected way. It all started because my grandfather, an ice-maker for a curling club likes to brag and tell stories about me. First he told everyone he met how, when I was out of medical options for healing my colon, I donated it to research. Then he would carry on the story of how I've crossed the line into the Operating Rooms 15 times in 3.5 years. He talks about how I'm out of options to treat my severe Crohns disease. My experiences have left him way too many stories to tell.

But the story he shares the most often is how I decided to make a difference. How I decided to take my disease, and all the "crappy" things that go with it (no pun intended!), to change the experience for other kids. It's the story of Jacob's Healing Rooms.

The curling community has given amazing support to Jacob's Healing Rooms. Last June, the Ladies Division of the Leaside Curling Club hosted their annual golf tournament in honour of Jacob's Healing Rooms. They raised a shocking $3600 which was a really great start to getting the project off and running. This was also the start of my public-speaking, and I remember being so worried about what other people would think, or how they would react when they saw me with my NG feeding tube hanging out of my nose. The ladies made me feel at home, and I was able to share with them the importance of an encouraging, supportive environment on healing.

Next, it was time for the Whitby Curling Club to get involved, and through their collections was able to collect $625. I was super-excited to be able to deliver my first "freestyle" speech after forgetting my prepared speech at home. I loved being able to share my experiences so openly with the members, to build some awareness of what kids like me go through. After-all, we could be the next generation of curlers.

Last, but certainly not least, the members of the Oshawa Curling Club, plastered my article around the club and had a donations jar that members were reminded frequently was "available for your spare change". All of this "spare change" together, added up to $711 which was presented to me for my birthday in December! The thing I like most about "spare change" is what it represents; spare change to create positive change. I was able to talk to the members of the Oshawa club this past week all about change and how if we don't do anything, change won't happen. Such an important message that we all can learn from.

The curling community has done so much to help me out, and I can't begin to express what it means to me. As I said, I'm not a curler. I understand the sport but have never played. But what I can tell you from my experiences so far, is that curlers are full of heart. They are full of compassion and acceptance. They have forever earned a spot in my heart.


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