Blessing of a morning sunrise
In our east-facing condo, we have chosen semi-sheer blinds so, every morning, I wake to see the dawn and my wonderful husband Grant. On ‘good’ mornings, I wander into the apartment, make a coffee and spend time meditating and watching the colours of the dawn explode and fade and finally become a new day. In my meditation, I reflect on gratitude and the privilege I have of possessing the blessing of community membership. It is with a full appreciation of the power of community that I proudly worked to help evolve this community of ours in the Furniture Bank Network.
Most of you in the FBN have never met me. Dan Kershaw, Tammy Peddle and I have a sort of Wizard of Oz, “and pay no attention to the man behind the curtain…” sleight of hand going on. Apart from a terrific profile photo (NOT how I look in the morning), I could be an avatar.
What very few of you know is that a group of really wonderful, generous, kind people have been supporting me in my role as Furniture Link and friend so that we could all be celebrating the incredible impact that the recent Ikea gift has made for our communities.
Two years ago, a series of tricky and unnamed health issues began to accelerate. The reasons and diagnoses are so numerous and in hindsight so irrelevant that it is pointless to list them. Six months ago, they had escalated to loss of use of my hands almost completely, difficulty walking, constant pain and fatigue. Every blood test came not only normal but the most damning of things, perfectly healthy.
Throughout this period, the board and staff at Furniture Bank provided unwavering support in working around every new limitation so that we could forge ahead on our vision of an FBN. I have 40 years of corporate finance experience and have never worked with a board of directors more talented, more committed, or clear of vision. The pettiness and politics of other NFP boards is completely absent and they take their leadership roles on with great integrity, led by Bob Waterworth, FB’s intrepid chairman.
As my health declined, our relationship with Ikea and the remarkable group of people who support community and sustainability advanced. Here again I was unbelievably fortunate to be surrounded by two groups of warm hearted and competent people. The gang at Ikea were not universally aware of my condition but stepped in every time they saw a gap and made things happen. A very special thanks to Melissa (Mirowski) Barbosa – Head of Sustainability at IKEA Group.
One very special thanks to Haroon Azam – Sustainability Business Partner at IKEA Group, who had asked me why I am so committed to this cause. As nearly always happens, I became emotional on the issue of children sleeping in piles of clothes on the floor. Instead of looking away uncomfortably, he magically produced duvets for our community and shared his own experiences. This is not an experience you see much in the corporate world.
My MRI Results
On April 2, 2020 during yet another pain clinic appointment, an MRI result revealed the source of the condition, termites! Visualize those RAID commercials with the little critters chomping away at the walls and foundations of some poor householders.
I have the blood cancer equivalent in the form of multiple myeloma. By the time it was diagnosed, they had chewed into four ribs that are now cracked, bones at three places in my spine and were the cause of the nerve damage in my hands and feet as they munched their way into my spinal cord.
Again, I am fortunate to be surrounded by an incredible team of people that make me look like I am managing a complex situation but truly am being carried along by Dr. Christine Chen’s staff at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto during a nearly post-apocalyptic pandemic wrapped around my radiation and chemotherapy. As my chemo is being managed from home by Dr. Chen’s team and my limitlessly patient and loving husband Grant, I have been free to contribute as I could and when I could during the mass coordinated effort to take advantage of the IKEA gift.
I also became a Grandma during all this!
To top this off, I became a Grandma during all of this. Naomi was born on March 31 to her Moms, Marissa & Lizzy. It breaks my heart that I cannot be with them and hold her.
Thanks to Furniture Bank
The loving, cheerful, heroic and tireless support I receive from the entire team at Furniture Bank is impossible to describe. It makes for many joyful moments in my day. It also means that we focus my bursts of strength and stamina on the big issues while many many people pick up the operational pieces I leave littered like lego all over the rug.
Thanks to all the Staff of Furniture Bank!
Finally, thanks to Dan Kershaw, Executive Director of Furniture Bank, Chairman of the FBN, companion of many battles, Monty Python/HHG/Tolkien geek and friend of decades. Dan sold me on the idea of a Furniture Bank Network and then let me blow it up and commercialize it with glee and a complete lack of ego. We have a long history of bringing our disparate areas of skill and personalities to the table to imagine new worlds and turn them into a Live Action Role Play (“LARP”).
Dan, this is our most excellent of all adventures.