This week, I want to talk about a place very dear to me. That place is the Hearth Place Cancer Support Centre in Oshawa. The Hearth Place offers a home-like supportive atmosphere for people diagnosed with cancer and their families.
Hearth Place delivers a variety of different support and wellness programs for people of all ages, because cancer can affect everyone. They design the different support groups to let the participants discover new ways of coping and caring for themselves and for others.
You may now be wondering why this place is so important to me; well let me tell you. Some of you may know, I lost my mom to breast cancer nine years ago. My mom attended some support groups offered by Hearth Place. Even now, it still means a lot to me that my mom could receive this support, comfort and hope, during the hardest battle of her life. When my mom went to Hearth Place, she was never alone, there were other people there going through the same thing. I love Hearth Place because it makes people, such as my mom, feel welcome, supported, comforted and not alone during their cancer journeys.
Hearth Place does not receive any public funding and is entirely funded by donations. It holds several fundraisers during the year. On Saturday, June 15th, Hearth Place is having their 20th annual Artists in the Garden tour. The tour is made up of different homes, showcasing their beautiful gardens. Each garden has musicians and local artists displaying their work for sale.
I spoke to Shauna Cartlidge, who is the Senior Event Manager at Hearth Place, and she informed me, on the tour this year there will be seven gardens to see in Oshawa and Whitby. “This is just a great fundraiser and has been so successful for us”, said Ms. Cartlidge.
The event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Information about the event and location of the gardens will be posted on www.artistsinthegarden..com no later than the morning of the event. Tickets can be purchased at the gardens for $25. Call 905-579-4833 for more information.
In closing, I want to state again how important Hearth Place is in our community. Hope, Encouragement, Acceptance, Reassurance, Trust, and Help. This is Hearth Place.
Every once in a while certain events happen, and the way humanity reacts makes me lose faith in the goodness of people; of course I am talking about the way people have been reacting to the new Amber Alert system.
Since the Alert Ready System’s launch, there have been an influx of complaints from the public, usually when an Amber Alert is issued late at night or in the early morning.
In order to try to combat these complaints, I want to talk about the history of Amber Alerts. The Amber Alert System originally started in Texas, after a young girl named Amber was abducted in 1996, and did not survive. After that, an initiative was started to create an early warning system to alert the public of missing and abducted children.
Since 1996, the system spread across the rest of the United States and into Canada, and became the system we know today.
After learning the history, I wanted to know more about the process and the success rate of the system everyone seems to love complaining about. I asked Constable Anil Maharaj of Durham Regional Police Services (DRPS) North Division about this. He explained there is a committee which lays out parameters of what a child abduction involves, if those specific parameters are met it is an automatic Amber Alert, and is sent out to the media, cell phones, and other channels in order to get out the information as quickly as possible. Because the new system goes to people’s cell phones, the success rate of finding the missing/abducted child increases.
It is my opinion, people are always on their phones, so the Amber Alert will be seen by more of the public and the chances of finding the child safe will increase.
“The new system I think is highly successful, because we are doing something about it,” said Constable Maharaj.
Finally, I wanted to ask Constable Maharaj if he could say one thing to the complainers, what would it be? His answer, “What is the best system you could come up with that will get important information regarding a child’s life out quickly?”
It is so hard to believe it has now been a year since I started working at this newspaper. I can remember it like it was yesterday, I took a chance and ended up being adopted by this wonderful family. A lot of things can happen in a year, and I am certainly no exception to that statement.
I want to take this opportunity to reflect on some of the things that happened in this past year. I reached many academic, political and personal triumphs in the past months. I saw the fruits of my labour at school bloom, as I graduated from Durham College and went on to my next phase at UOIT. I had the privilege of being a part of MPP Lindsey Park’s campaign team, during the provincial election, and shared in her well-deserved victory. I was also a part of Mayor Bobbie Drew’s campaign for the recent municipal election and got to share her victory as well.
Working on campaigns has definitely taught me just what hard work and perseverance can accomplish, and so far, I like what I see. Most recently, I have gotten one step closer to getting my degree, as I just completed my third year. I was also elected chair of the Scugog Accessibility Advisory Committee, in March, and words cannot express how excited I am to make a positive difference in this community.
Those are some of the biggest highlights from this past year, and I am so excited to see what this next year has in store!
For my first entry, I want to write about a very important cause to me –mental health.
Why this topic? Well; mental illness was something I struggled with.
When I was 12, I lost my mother to cancer. That is when everything started for me. I started suffering from depression. At first, my days were always full of sadness, some days I never even laughed or cracked a smile, instead, my eyes were always brimming with tears.
I was just angry at the entire world. Back then, I could have sworn that the sun would never shine again and I would spend the rest of my days in darkness. My 12-year-old self never saw herself getting through that and succeeding so much – but she is sure glad she did.
Slowly I have been realizing that mental health deserves the same kind of care and attention as physical health. With this realization, I have been able to seek help and take a lot of weight off of my shoulders. I have been able to talk to my family and my friends, something that I used to be afraid to do for fear of judgement – but I am not afraid anymore.
Now almost 8 years after losing my mom I am able to say that I still have some bad days, but I do have a lot more good ones. I can see that life is worth living to the fullest and each day has something new and exciting in store.