What’s On Your Holiday List?

We’re trying something a little different today so bear with me!

Yesterday I mentioned that after years of working retail throughout high school, November 1st has long felt like the beginning of my Christmas season. We’re two days into the new month and already my mind is beginning to plan everything that goes into this time of year: scheduling get togethers, figuring out gifts, and of course budgeting for said gifts. The fact of the matter is that this time of year can be expensive – it doesn’t have to be but costs have the potential to balloon if you’re not careful – and so when fundraising events come around, such as Movember, I have to take that into account. (Sometimes being an adult and understanding the importance of budgeting stinks.) It’s not that one single donation will break the bank but when you take into consideration just how many important causes there are, it adds up.

I mention this because in addition to Movember, something which I strongly support and deserves a post of its own, today is the launch of the 2015 SickKids campaign – another cause that is near to my heart. If you’re in the Greater Toronto Area and I would even wager, anywhere in Canada, there’s a good chance that you know of Sick Kids Hospital and also the chance that you might know someone that’s been in their care. I don’t think I can sufficiently explain just how important Sick Kids Hospital and their work is to the thousands of people that have passed through their halls but if you watch the trailer below, it might begin to demonstrate the impact of this one single organization.

The personal connection between myself and Sick Kids runs deep. Through our extended family we’ve seen what Sick Kids Hospital can do having witnessed someone go through their care and we’re grateful to all the doctors, nurses, administrators, support staff, and volunteers that make the hospital what it is; they’re truly special people. This spring when I met with my wedding photographer for our first “get to know you” session, I found out that in addition to working as a photographer she was also a nurse in the haemotology/oncology division at the hospital – and given what was happening in my life at that time – it felt like the stars had aligned. Even more than her beautiful photographs and sunny personality, I wanted to hire our photographer because it felt like I was inadvertently supporting the hospital as well. Because she’s so special to me, getting the opportunity to work with our photographer is actually one of the reasons I was motivated to plan a second wedding. However, I digress.

Fortunately, since we’re able to, my husband and I support the organization through monthly donations because it matters to us. But I get it, it’s not always possible to donate to every cause out there and we need to be selective.

So what can we do?

Well, in lieu of financial support we can always gift our time, especially around the holiday season. At this time of year, we want to be with our families and friends, we want to be surrounded by love, and we want to be reminded that we’re not alone, that we belong to a community – so if you want to support Sick Kids Hospital or any other organization for that matter, in ways other than through financial donations, you may want to consider becoming a volunteer. There are so many ways to do so, and if you want to get involved, you can find more information here.

In addition to the suggestions listed on the link, there are other ways to help as well (sorry in advance for the shameless plug). This summer I became involved with an organization called Arts Healing Hearts which provides arts based programming to help supplement the existing creative arts program already in place at Sick Kids. Even though my role at Arts Healing Hearts isn’t very hands on, from the feedback we’ve received I know that the programming helps. As a growing organization, we’re always looking to expand our roster of volunteers and if you have any questions, please feel free to check out the website or send me a message.

At the end of the day, whether it’s Movember or Sick Kids or the Princess Margaret Hospital, or whatever organization it is that’s important to you, please consider extending your support either through your time as a volunteer or by financial donations (donations often fund critical work); I know it’s a busy and expensive time of year as it is but your generosity has the potential to do so much good and shouldn’t we try to carry that forward? It’s never too early to start!

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