Meet Kayla Baker

I headed to Toronto today to check in with my Orthodontist. I was hoping to take these damn braces off and be done with everything but alas they are still firmly glued on to my teeth.

While I was there I wanted to meet a young girl who is local to me that has been doing amazing things. Her name is Kayla Baker she is 14 years old and has been though much in her short life.  When she was 18 months old she was diagnosed with cancer and underwent many rounds of treatment and had surgery to remove a mass that had invaded her young body. Thankfully she was considered to be in remission and spent the next few years being a vibrant girl. At age 11 she was again facing another battle this one because of a disease called Pulmonary Fibrosis, which is described by Canadian Lung Association as “…a chronic disease that causes swelling and scarring of the alveoli (air sacs) and interstitial tissues (tissue between cells) of the lungs. The scar tissue replaces healthy tissue and causes inflammation. This damage causes your lungs to stiffen and makes breathing more and more difficult.” It is believed that Kayla’s cancer treatment is what brought this battle to her as certain drugs are known to be linked.

What Kayla needed was a double lung transplant. Kayla was on the wait list for 15 months when she received her gift of life, one lung. Thankfully one can live with just one lung and on April 3rd 2013 she got that amazing gift. Her energy sparked a movement and brought awareness to the plight many are dealing with, the lack of organ donation. She is trying to bring awareness and is also hoping to raise a boat load of money for our mutual favourite hospital: The Hospital For Sick Children” she is trying to raise $10,000.00.

If you want to donate:

I connected over the last week with a family friend of Kayla’s named Sarah Taylor who agreed to talk to Kayla’s mom Susan to see if it might be possible to meet Kayla and get her permission to write about her in my blog. I was THRILLED when she said it would be ok. Kayla has been on a ventilator and now that her new lung is in place has to relearn how to breath something we take for granted. I met Kayla in the ICU today when they were just having her use assisted breathing not having a machine do the work for her. She was visibly scared but she was sticking with it. She wanted her mom there for support and when she started to panic a little her mom held her hand helped her to feel her breath by holding Kayla’s hand to her abdomen. Kayla is such a brave girl and still has a long road a head of her but I know after meeting her that she will pull though it all.

Organ donation still seems to be such a taboo subject. Why are not more people agreeing to become donors.  I have…my stance is that I’m dead what do I need my stuff for? If I can save a life or two, or three…. then my life would have been worth it. All my friends and family know this is my wish. If you haven’t had this talk with your family or friends I urge you to do so. For my Canadian readers please register here:

I found an interesting fact that over 1000 Canadians are waiting for some type of organ. Be it lung, heart, liver, kidney or any other that’s a lot of people that may not make it. The hardest part is knowing that someone has to die in order for someone to live. In that one moment where a family’s life is shattered some are brave enough to offer the gift of life to another family/person. I couldn’t imagine having to wait knowing that but I heard something interesting from Susan (Kayla’s mom)  in a TV interview that said that even if she hadn’t made it Kayla had already made the tough choice to donate her organs. This is one amazing young woman!!

I’m proud to say I have met Kayla possibly in the same ICU room I spent time in when I was just a bit older then her. I’m proud to say that I join her in her quest to bring more attention to organ donation. If you haven’t registered please do. If you are not Canadian please look at the options that are available in your own country.



Other links:

Facebook page called “New Lungs for Kayla”

Run aLung:

Have you ever “Googled” yourself

I have searched for myself on the internet every once and while before all of this craziness and only a few things came up. I decided to Google my name this evening and I’m kind of shocked at how much comes up. The entertaining thing about Google is looking at the images that they associate with what you are looking for. Try Googling yourself let me know what comes up.

Someone also alerted me a few days ago to an apparent online conversation that was going on social media site called MetaFilter. I had NEVER before see this website and I didn’t stay to sign up because if I sight up for any more social media I will explode!

What was really interesting was the conversation. Most of it was good and constructive and open dialogue about how other people felt about the article but also about their feelings in general. I’m going to copy and paste a few of them and respond to them. In the even that someone reads this and I copy and pasted your comment and you wish me to remove please leave a comment or email me directly and I will take the appropriate action.

sfred wrote:  She was on CTV as well last night, she’s got a lot of guts doing this, and is of course absolutely right. What are we saying when we hold a real, live person to be so grotesque that their picture merits a warning?

me: I agree (clearly) with the bottom portion of this comment. I have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that when someone looks at ME they don’t “see” me. I also agree there is no amount of “grotesque” within a live human being that deserves any warnings labels.

thelonius wrote: “…….. It seems like that’s the cultural background that Ms. Loker is fighting against – disfigurement is something that must be hidden, it’s too horrible for people to be exposed to or even told about. That’s courageous as hell, and I admire her.

But I’m not totally OK with discounting the reality that a lot of people cannot handle pictures of this, and are pretty traumatized by suddenly being shown them on the news. Not sure what the right thing is here.”

ME: Hit the nail right on the head. I am trying to fight upstream against a society that enjoys placing labels on EVERYTHING, not just people but I mean everything. A really great point that was touched on in this comment was about “hiding” people who have a facial difference and I will touch on this in a future entry.

crossoverman wrote: “I’ll admit it makes me uncomfortable, but I personally view that as a character defect of mine – something I should face and address. 

I am the same way; I know it’s my issue to address, but congenital deformities are something that make me very uncomfortable. But I’m not asking for a warning.”

ME: this comment was in response to el io’s comment which I have boldded above. I LOVE that both of them realize the fault is with them. This is why when I was depressed and it was suggested I try anti-depressants I refused. I don’t/didn’t see my self as different therefore I didn’t think the medications would work since it wasn’t my attitude that needed adjusting but everyone else.

Wingless_angel wrote: “Right on. I have microtia (a relation of Penny’s conditions) and most of my life after early childhood I wore my hair over my ear to save other people from seeing it. Only recently have I realized I should be proud, confident of who I am and if other people are disturbed, well. F***k them”

ME: YOU GO GIRL!! on my good days telling every idiot to F*** off is great in theory but more times then not I’m too afraid to say anything.

SPrintF Wrote: “I don’t know. I’m obviously, physically deformed, but I’ve never expected anyone to accept me as I am. I avoid mirrors and shiny surfaces for a reason; I understand that I am repulsive.

That’s the thing: I’m not blind or stupidly entitled, like this woman seems to be. I understand and appreciate physical beauty. And I understand that I’m condemned to the shadows forever.

In my life, I’ve encountered a few kind people who have been able to smile at me, but they are rare. Everyone else tolerates me, at best, but everyday I see the contempt in their eyes.

“Some are born to sweet delight,
Some are born to endless night.”

Welcome to the world. That’s just the way of things.”

ME: I take offense to this individual saying that I am “…blind or stupidly entitled”. The smart ass in me wants to say that technically i’m visually impaired does that count? But in all seriousness I do not see myself as “blind” or “entitled” I’m FAR from it.  I’m not sure how reading the CNN article lead anyone to believe anything other then that the story was about my experiences. I also don’t look in mirrors or shiny things for the same reason. I have NO illusions as to how I look to others. I’m reminded every day as I go to and from home. When ever I have talked to people I have reinforced the fact that I prefer the shadows. I have been told by many people I know that they had to “get used to me”, I am not immune to the looks I see when parents see me, look at their kid then look back at me and shake their head. I wonder everyday how people can look at me I find myself also repulsive so I really identify with this comment and feel the same angry that this person does. I feel bad if the person who commented this doesn’t have a “family” or “support”. I know by posting this comment readers will be quick to come to my defense. This is strictly not required!!

It really is all about perspective I use humor and sarcasm as a defense mechanistic  It doesn’t always work.  We all have bad days but there is NO way to compare. 

My Support

I am who I am in part because of what I have been though but also because of the people I do have in my life.  I can’t imagine where I would be or who I would be without my family, friends, and teachers.

My family has been with me always. They never told me I couldn’t do something. They always laugh at my jokes even if they are not funny and I do the same with them.

My family has been with me always. They never told me I couldn’t do something. They always laugh at my jokes even if they are not funny and I do the same with them.

ImageMy Mom & I

My mom is an amazing women. Like any mom she does sometimes know which button to press, or in the case of the remote which one to make the TV go haywire! Her story is one of great loss, betrayal, loneliness and love. She always talks about us kids with a sparkle in her eye an I have always looked up to her. Her strength and work ethic can not be duplicated. She is almost 70 years old (OMG I don’t want to write that number if she sees this she might hurt me) and still working full time. She doesn’t know the meaning of the words “SLOW DOWN”!. We keep telling her that it’s our turn to take care of her but she says if she retired she would be too bored. I can’t imagine (nor will I) the day I no longer have her in my life because she is my rock when all else failed she kept me here by her love alone.  Some of my favourite memories are of us alone in Toronto where we would see the sights in between doctor’s appointments or shopping at Toronto’s Eaton Center. One day I will tell her story because if you think I have been though a lot you haven’t heard anything yet!


She is my best friend always has been and always will be. I would go to the ends of the earth for her and she would do the same. She has always been my protector. When kids were mean to me she would tell them off or tell them to leave me alone. She always played with me and didn’t treat me like a little sister. But she was also fair. When I pointed out to a classmate that he was riding a pink bike and that pink bikes were for girls he came over and hit me in the back. Crystal looked at me and said I deserved it! Which was really true! When we were younger and got our first 2 wheeler bikes I remember being WAY too small for that bike but we learned real fast how to ride them. I was really REALLY small for my age (about half the size of my younger class mates) so sitting on that bike was sometimes scary. Crystal and I were riding one day when she was joking around saying that if I didn’t speed it up she would hit my back wheel. Well as my luck would have it she did! I flew over the handle bars and back in those days we didn’t wear helmets. Well Crystal was beside herself and I think she was “hurt” more then I was. She managed on her own to get me and our 2 bikes home and she cleaned me up. Besides my mom I never felt so safe with someone even if it was her fault. I still have scares on my right knuckles and using them to joke with her now.

ImageLaura, me, Linda, Suzanne, and Becky “The Rocks”

You have probably seen this picture before now let me introduce you.

Laura I met though Becky we started hanging out and we have become close. Laura is a bright and cheery person who is struggling with endometriosis and lives in pain for most of the time however you wouldn’t know it by looking at her. We get together when we can to knit and I can always count on her to make me laugh and to listen. She also gives excellent advice!

Linda, I have known since high school but it wasn’t until after high school that we really got to know each other. Linda has 2 great kids and is a single mom. Linda is so giving she has an Independent soul but is truly one of the most generous people I know. One of my favourite memories is one time we were both a bit tipsy (her more so then I) and I was trying to help her out of the door but I couldn’t support her full weight and we both fell down laughing so hard. We also tried giving her a sobriety test by asking her to say the alphabet she didn’t make it past “G” which she kept repeating!

Suzanne is Linda’s younger sister whom we used to torment when we would hang out at their house. Suzanne is so strong and a great mother to her 2 kids. I always know I can count on Suzanne to lend me a hand and to listen. When she is not studying she is such a light to hang out with!

Becky, I have known her the longest and met her though Crystal. Becky once described me as the “annoying little sister” but it didn’t take her long to think differently. I knew my persistence paid off!! As we all got older and she spent more time with Crystal we also became closer. Becky has an awesome sense of humor but also a willingness to listen. When Becky laughs she sometimes can’t stop. Case in point one day her, my mom and I went to a local craft store, it was winter and we were waiting for the bus. I was so cold and I was thrilled to see the bus that I didn’t think about what I did next. While standing atop a snow pile I leaped onto the bus. Didn’t think that it would be slippery oh but it was. I fell backwards with one leg pinned underneath me and there was Becky and my mom laughing their collective butts off. The bus driver continued to stare forward and was pretending this whole thing wasn’t happening. The only assistance Becky provided me was to pick up my hood. She was laughing so hard I had to laugh to. I know this story might sound mean but I’m writing these words with a smile on my face imaging Becky laughing because her laughter can light up a room!!

I don’t have a picture right now of my other good friend Kim but will see how I can change that. I met Kim in high school when her, Crystal and I all took musical keyboarding we all had a blast but the teacher had to separate us because we talked too much. Kim also knew Becky and we all started to get together. We have shared many drunk fun nights together one of which involved waking me up at 3am to give me pizza. When I asked if it had olives on it (since I HATE olives) they said no… Now I will admit I kind of knew that their drunk butts were lying but took a bite anyways 🙂

ImageDaka & Ellie


Our dogs… our very crazy dogs. We were lucky enough to be able to adopt Daka and Dorje from our good friend Shannon they are father and son. Daka is afraid of thunder and fireworks. He can give you a high-five and speak with a howl on command (after he has worked up to it). Dorje is a big oaf he is only afraid of the fridge and will endure anything without complaint. He is one of the vets favourite dogs because he will just sit their and as long as he is being touched or talked to he doesn’t care what is going on around him. Ellie was adopted about 2 years ago and is not the same dog that was brought home. She is now a lovable crazy girl who has boundless energy, and great intellect  I have managed to teach her to fetch and play ball and also to speak. When I’m having “one of those” days and need some time to myself and if I’m crying they will come down and cuddle with me. Any dog owner will say this about their dogs. Animals in general are so sensitive to our needs and their selfless love is empowering and can not be replaced.

We all have our supports, we all have that someone. What we sometimes forget is that not everyone does. When you see someone crying, someone in need try to be THAT person because it could make all the difference in the world.








The extended version

I’m so tired so for tonight I thought I would post the original extended version of CNN’s article. Debbi from CNN was an artist. When we were speaking she weaved the story to a pose that flowed really well.  There were only a few small edits that for the purpose of this blog doesn’t matter.

It is REALLY awesome, but long so no worries if you don’t read it all. Here goes:


We first met Penny when she wrote to us following a CNN Photo Gallery showcasing children suffering from the disfiguring effects of Agent Orange.  With photos that would be difficult for some to view, our gallery was prefaced with the standard “viewer discretion” advisory.  Penny’s heartfelt email to us spoke of the anger and sadness she felt over the “graphic content” warning given to photos of children who look different.  Having been born with Left Hemifacial Microsomia and Golden Har syndrome, Penny was left with a portion of her own face malformed.  Seeing the CNN Gallery touched an emotion in her and she was compelled to reach out to us and share her concerns over what she found to be an insensitive label.  She asked “how can I not speak up about this? If not me, then who will speak on behalf of these children?”  So we invited her to educate all of us by sharing her story and allowing us to see the world through her eyes.  This is her story.



As a little girl she never got a valentine at the school Valentines’ parties. 


As a teenager she never had a best friend.  Or a boyfriend.  Or a date. 


As a woman she’s never had a relationship.  She’s never had her first kiss.  


Her dream to one day become a wife and mother is beginning to fade, and she is coming to terms with the reality that it will probably never happen. 


Penny Loker was born with Left Hemifacial Microsomia and Golden Har syndrome, two birth defects that left portions of her face disfigured and require a lifetime of surgeries as the face grows and changes.  Hemifacial Microsomia is characterized by the malformation of the ear and/or the structure of the lower jaw.  Golden Har syndrome is a congenital condition that produces abnormalities of the head and the bones of the spinal column.  It usually affects the appearance of eyes, ears, facial bones and the mouth.  The conditions are complex and complicated, as are their names.  But for a little girl facing a big world, the names were simple – Monster, Ugly, Freak. 


Penny was raised in a home where love and acceptance was given freely.  Her father died soon after Penny’s first birthday, but her mother was a strong, loving woman who readily took on the challenge of raising Penny and her two sisters.  Even though money was tight, her mother worked hard and made sure her children had the things they needed.   She knew how important her role as mother was because she had survived her own difficult childhood, quitting school at age 10 to care for her siblings when her own mother walked out on them.   So it came naturally to her to put her children first and provide a nurturing environment.  Working in a variety of low paying jobs – often two or three at a time – she was determined to make a good home and a good life for her family and teach them of the truly important things in life.


In the safety and comfort of home Penny’s looks were not an issue and she was not treated differently than her sisters.   While she knew she looked a bit different she had a child’s unawareness that anything was “wrong” with her.  But the day came when it was time to start school, and that’s when she first discovered how different she was.  Her life changed at that point, and away from home she spent a lonely childhood never being included in games, parties or other events.  She had no friends and was always chosen last for recess games.  She accepted the name-calling as part of her life and seemed to understand that crying or fighting back only made it worse.  So she quietly endured it. 


As she got older the name calling continued, but was more often behind her back than to her face.  By the time she reached high school she had learned there would be no friends, parties, or dates; being included was not part of life for a girl who looked like a freak, and she understood that now. But she continued to bravely face each challenge and to hope that time would bring her an opportunity to educate others, and to teach the importance of seeing others with eyes that saw beyond the surface.  While day to day encounters with strangers brought the same hurtful stares and comments, being used to it made it easier to bear.  But then came a day, one day in particular that brought with it a cruelty that remains a vivid memory to this day.


She had finished high school and on a day not too long after graduation she visited a local beauty salon with a gift certificate for a manicure and pedicure. This would be the first time she’d had one, and the experience itself was wonderful. Admiring the handiwork of the manicurist, she felt for the first time in her adult life a real sense that she was pretty.  She left the salon feeling happy and hopeful, enjoying the walk home on that beautiful day.  But less than a block from the salon she encountered a carload of teen boys who slowed to look at her, and began pointing and calling her names.  The pretty nails made no difference at all.  She was the same girl that everyone made fun of and no one wanted for a friend.  She was not beautiful after all.  The joy that had filled her heart mere moments ago was replaced with a feeling of shame and humiliation.  She remembers that day as one of the worst. 


Today Penny is a 31-year-old working woman who lives in Waterloo, Canada.  She leads a simple and happy life, although a somewhat lonely one.  While life has left her with a few unfulfilled dreams, things have become easier as she has matured.  She has a core group of girlfriends (including her sister) who cherish her for her friendship and personality.  She makes a good living and speaks proudly of being able to provide for herself thanks to her job as a telemarketer with Rogers Communications, a wireless voice and data communications provider who just last month was recognized as a diversity leader corporation in Canada.  With a multi-year diversity plan developed and championed by both the company’s senior leaders and employees, the company is committed to creating and maintaining a respectful workplace that recognizes the talents of a very diverse staff.  Penny is one of several special needs employees there and has been with the company for eight years.  She’s had the opportunity to grow in her career with them, and to learn about life, both the cruelties and the kindness when you face each day outside the safety of home.  That’s important to Penny.  She longs for normalcy, stability and to be “just like everyone else” in the world that is hers.    


There are many adventures in life that she is hesitant to embrace even though she is physically able.  She doesn’t visit malls very often but when she does she prefers not to go alone.  On occasion she will muster her courage and challenge herself to make such a trip alone, using it as an opportunity to win the battle over fear, an ever-present enemy ready to pounce and rob her of new experiences.  She loves the outdoors, but only feels safe in those adventures if her friends and family are part of the outings.  And while visual problems from the condition make viewing 3D movies impossible, she does enjoy movies and feels somewhat shielded by the darkened theatre.  She has never been on a vacation and says the thought of one is scary, yet it’s a feat she is determined to accomplish.  She is saving now for a trip to California to visit either Blizzcon or Comi-con. “I’m kind of a geek and play the online MMO World of Warcraft with my sister and her husband, and we always talk about how cool it would be to go there. People dress up so I would feel ‘normal’ and not out of place.” While she saves for that “someday adventure” she continues to think positive thoughts and prepare for the inevitable incidents that she has learned will be  part of the trip, but she’s excited about it and ready to face it head-on. 


And of course one of her greatest joys is being able to help her mother, who continues to work a 40-hour week but allows Penny to indulge her with a few niceties to make life easier.  Penny has never forgotten the sacrifices her mother made for them, and she’s never forgotten how beautiful she is in her mother’s eyes.  She knows that her mother’s unconditional love from an early age gave her the strength she would need to face what can be a very cruel world from time to time.  And that’s ones of the things she wishes she could change by educating others, especially children, whose natural curiosity will eventually become cruelty if left unaddressed.  She believes that educating them early on would help them learn to be more tolerant of others who are different.  While she knows it would be difficult to do she wishes adults would bring their curious children over to her and kindly ask about her appearance.  She would welcome the opportunity to help them understand about the condition that has made her this way.  “Educating folks is my only agenda here.  If I can help teach others to be open and honest, to remember I’m human and have feelings, then there’s a chance for a kind of compassion that may help others.”  Penny hopes for a way to eventually remind people that who you are is found inside, and the outside appearance is only a shell for the heart and soul that lives inside.  “The ability to love, teach, share, and bring happiness and health others is the real beauty of a person.  The exterior doesn’t necessarily reflect the beauty that often lives inside.  And when people fail to remember that, they can miss out on the love and friendship of a truly special person”. 


But until that day comes she hopes only for “good days”, which for her means days where she is ignored.  “Most people hate being ignored, but I welcome it.  When I go out to dinner with my friends and no one at the restaurant stares at me or asks to be moved to a table further away from me, that’s a good day.”


And in spite of it all Penny is quick to point out her many, many blessings.  Being able to share a home with her family, having a job she loves, having good friends and a good healthcare system to help with the cost of a lifetime of surgeries are all things that she counts as blessings in her life.  The only sadness in her life now comes from knowing that unless she meets someone special enough to see past what other men in her life have so far been unable to look beyond, she’ll probably never have her most desired dream realized.  And that is to be a wife and mother.  “I was blessed with a mother who, by example, taught me how to love patiently and unconditionally.  I would love so much to share that with a family of my own.  I understand it will probably never happen, and I am learning to accept it.  But I am sad about it.  It feels like the one great loss in my life”. 

Being Grateful

Another day….

This morning I went to the KW Record and picked up my tickets to the Grand River Food & Drink show for which again I’m SUPER excited for! I get to enjoy good food and good wine. I get pretty tipsy from a few glasses of wine so need to remember to bring a bottle of water. Don’t want to be “one of those”!!

I also got to meet with a wonderful up and coming reporter for KW Record who contacted me to do an interview. It went well and I like the different take she took and asking more about the local angle. I’m excited to see how it goes. I also met with their photographer and had a whole lot of pics taken. It was super sunny out and I squinted a lot but I’m sure she got amazing pictures. They do have a website and will publish link to article when I know it’s up.

While I was out I decided to pop into work since I was given the heads up by someone that I should expect flowers. Well there they were all nice and pretty. Got them home and was super excited to unwrap them. Thanks Ryan M. (you know who you are!)


Mondays I also get to do my weekly knit night with a group of cool people. It’s been about 2 weeks since one of the group members had surgery. The group is made up of Shannon Wilde (Pic and story to follow), Monica H, Ingrid F, Mary H, Donna B, Candice L, and new addition is Christie M. I didn’t actually do any knitting tonight neither did Shannon but good time had by all every week. I went the first time because of Shannon she said that she met with these group of ladies and they knitted or did other crafty things and suggested that I come along, so I did. It has been an amazing time.

Shannon and I hung out a bit before knit night and we were in Bed Bath, and Beyond and she found this really funny shower cap it was all shiny and glittery. Here she is modeling it!!




Today marked another first for me. Today while I was a work an older gentleman spotted me and said “I saw you on the news. Was that you?” I confirmed indeed it was. He gave me a hug and said thank you! I was SO touched and gave him a huge smile. A little while later while I was at the entrance of the building he was passing me with his wife and again pointed out to her that they had seen me on the news. He came over and asked my name when I told it to him he responded “I will never forget it!”. I was SO touched he was so cute and makes me long for my grandparents again.

Well that’s all I have time for time to go squeal like a little girl as I see myself again on TV!! YIKES!!.

I’m sorry I didn’t answer the questions but will get to those tomorrow!.


A Column. REALLY?

I drew a blank yesterday hence no blog post. I petitioned for ideas and got bacon and coffee which I probably could have worked with maybe even posted some fabulous recipes about the 2 possibly together. Alas that didn’t materialize.

I was thinking about changing the theme (meaning the background) of this blog but didn’t see anything free that stood out. Also if anyone knows anything about WordPress would love to figure out how to show “about” separate from actual posts if that’s even possible.

In the early morning hour this morning I was working my way though various messages and found one from the web development guru at a web magazine called Positive-Magazine with the most beautiful story of his friend that he had lost years ago because of a medical condition. The way he spoke about his friend was so heartfelt that I was happy with just reading that. I was good to thank him and keep on trucking (as they say) however there was more to his message. What he offered me was truly a remarkable gift that if you had told me last week that it was going to happen I would have been laughing so hard I’d have tears in my eyes. But today all I have is awe and amazement at this wonderful gift. If you follow me (friend me) on Facebook (and if you’re waiting for a response I sorry) then you will already know this news.  I’m not one to sit on good news for long so it was only about a half a day later I posted it after receiving a confirmation email back. What I have been offered is my own column within their magazine. THAT IS CRAZY!! I will be provided my own edit line and will have freedom to write about my experiences and whatever else suits my fancy. This is a volunteer position and I gladly accepted. When and how everything will come together is still up in the air as I still have to communicate with him. I still have to come up with a name for my column since you all helped me get here I figured I’m open to suggestions.  Feel free to leave a comment or email me directly.  I will be writing mostly about things that have happened to me things that are great learning experiences for not just me but everyone. It would almost be an extension of the original CNN article.

On a unrelated random musing how many of you have never tried Lemon meringue pie? So far in a short period of time 2 people have told me they have NEVER tried this, my favourite pie of all time!

I have also had the pleasure because of all this to reconnect with people from my past some of whom I went to school with. They have been really positive experiences where my former classmates have apologized for their actions and mean spirited behaviour. I wasn’t seeking apologies or explanations but it was nice all the same to hear. I look at it as if they helped shape the person I am for better or worse those are my collective experiences and I can’t change them. I can’t send a message back to my younger self and not sure if I would if I could.

Tomorrow I will be heading to KW Record’s office to pick up tickets that I won for the Grand River Food & Drink Show for which my sister and I are THRILLED!! Also the paper is also doing a story on me and again I will post link as they do have a website as well as print papers.

I’m also open to questions so feel free to post them and I will have at it tomorrow. Feel free also to ask my sister anything and I will convey her responses.

And finally I was speaking with my friend Monica with FaceTime when her son walked by and gave her a piece of paper. He didn’t want to interrupt our conversation and wrote this note to me. I promised Logan I would share it on my blog! He is a cute kid!


Look mom I’m on TV

Well today was an adventure.

I was at working doing “workie” things when I got an email from a co-worker in another center and she was writing to inform me that a florist had reached out to their office trying to find me. She had kindly passed on the contact info for the florist. I did call them and the lovely woman who answered the phone was quite thrilled to have found me.  We chatted a bit and asked did she want me to send them to my home address or work address. Thankfully my TM (Team Manager) had made up my mind as she was just a curious as I was to see what they were so I had them delivered to work.  I got the most beautiful long stemmed red roses! This is the first time anyone has ever purchased me flowers before and I was just so HAPPY they are SO beautiful.  I haven’t reached out yet to the individual who sent them so I don’t want to reveal who it is but I will ask their permission if it’s alright if I give him the public thanks he deserves.



They are now the center piece of my dinning room table!

On my lunch today I was sitting with a co-worker when I noticed one of my local news anchor Abigail Bimman started following me on twitter, which isn’t odd since I follow her so thought, ok. However a bout 2 minutes later I see a DM asking if I would consider an on air interview, and asked me to call the news room. My lunch was just about over at this point so I asked if I could call later, I asked what time she would be there until because I didn’t want to risk going over on my break at work. I didn’t happen to look at my phone again until my last break when there were a few DMs waiting for me from her saying if 3:30pm would work and what my address was…. I was like WHAT?? So I called the news room and spoke to Rosie Del Campo who asked if they could be at my house to shoot required footage in order to have it ready for 6pm news. I take public transportation and it’s about an hour commute (give or take) so I asked them to meet me at 4pm, and I was late! I was lucky enough to meet David Imrie and camera man Jeremy. They were both really nice and made it super easy. By the time I freshened up they had about 30 or so minutes to shoot everything and they did a great job.  My lovely sister also made it on air which she wasn’t so thrilled with. Well it aired while we were eating dinner and my sister and I both squeeled like school girls and we covered our eyes! LOL It’s a surreal experience seeing yourself on the nightly news that you watch almost every night.  They did a really great job. Here below is the link for the on air story.

Now off to bed. 

What “going viral” looks like

I thought I would actually try to insert some photos for the first time.  Today I had the pleasure of being a guest at our local CBC radio station 89.1FM. Here is their website I got to meet 3 very awesome people today. Andrea Bellemare, Jacky Sharkey, and of course Craig Norris. They made me feel really welcome and made my first on-air radio experience a blast! They said that my story went viral!  I can see why they choose to do this every day! Andrea reached out to me via Twitter and asked me to join them in studio to share my story. I was slightly nervous at first and I have to apologize to Craig because at the start I was looking down more then I was looking at him. You wear earphones and can hear each other so I think my brain forgot that I was still having a conversation with a real live human sitting right across from me. The interview wasn’t long but it was fun! You can listen to the interview by going to that website. If anyone has issues let me know via email and I will send link that way.  I got some awesome swag which included a hockey puck which my mom thought was pretty cool!!

Here are some pics from my time at the station




Me sitting pretty in the booth getting ready.



Chatting away with Craig.



All done! Whew made it.


Me and the lovely Andrea!

A great time had by all 🙂


I also did a Facebook discussion which didn’t start out so well. After an initial hiccup it got somewhat going. I answered some really great questions some were left there from hours ago but a few people dropped by to say hey! It was a great experience where I also got to know a very lovely lady by the name of London who helped me stay on track and made sure I didn’t forget anyone’s question.


I also want to share that I broke down today at work and bawled my eyes out. My manager came over to see if I was alright and told her they were happy tears. I have been so overwhelmed with the out pouring of love, admiration, and well wishes. It’s a lot to handle in a short time. A week ago I had taken the day off work because of an expected ice storm and stayed home Friday because it hit and EVERYTHING was covered in ice. Want to see?



My point is a week ago I had NO clue what I was getting myself into. It’s been a crazy ride a fun one but man….I’m still shocked. Maybe my “breakdown” was a sign that maybe it’s starting to sink in??  Thanks again to all of YOU…. you know I’m going to keep saying that right!! Right??

Tomorrow is a new day and another new adventure!

Your comments answered

Hi everyone 🙂

No blog entry last night but I did update the “about” section, didn’t realize I had left it blank so took some time to add my contact info so if you want to drop me a line, or send me anything (but I will stress this again YOU DO NOT HAVE TO!!).

So I thought today would answer most of the questions and comments received so far. Here ya go:

Shawn:  Thanks for the kind words about my writing style. I haven’t considered living in the US I love that I’m Canadian, I love the health care system, I like that people don’t walk around with a gun strapped to their waist. I know that this isn’t true for most of the states but I’m not all that comfy with the thought of living there. Love to visit and plan to hopefully lots of visits!!  I haven’t yet been to Comic-con or Blizzcon yet but it’s on my bucket list! I very much in joy watching almost any Sci-Fi. I also haven’t lost many of my baby teeth and also would think it weird if I lost them now.

Paper Bugs: You’re poem brought tears to my eyes thanks SO much.

Robert Kerrigan: Too sweet! Thanks!

Joey Cameron: I plead the 5th…. Can I do that even if

Chris Lanigan: I have been to Ohio and one of my fav authors is from/lives. It is a beautiful place.

Bill: at this point I have some money saved but not a lot. I may have already had some plane tickets donated. 3 out of 4 but I’m good all I need is you support.

Everyone’s kindness and positive comments are AWESOME

Tommorow night I will be on CNN’s Facebook page at 8PM!! SO excited.

Will also try uploading some photo’s for tomorrow’s entry!

It just got crazy up in here!

First off I want to say THANK you and welcome. I hope that this blog is deserving of your view and I hope I keep everyone engaged.

Secondly I am SO new to this so please forgive me if it takes a bit to either approve comments or respond to them. I think the way I will structure this blog is that one day a week and respond to all comments posted since last comment updates. I’m needing to pick a day soon because WOW are people so nice and being responsive. I will Just send a quick note here to Bill and Kevin that I removed your email addy from the actual comment (I have kept it safe don’t worry) but didn’t want you both to get unwanted emails although anyone here wouldn’t probably be bad.

Thirdly but also about comments if you posted a comment and you don’t see it again I’m new and WordPress seems to “filter” for me and some may get labeled as spam and trying to find out where I can see those so that I can save any that went to the great beyond in error.

I wanted to also mention that we all have by now heard about the horrible attack that happened at the Boston Marathon please send positive thoughts their way. I’m always amazed at the level of both horror and kindness that both intertwine themselves with these events. To think that some crazy person packed ball barrings in to bombs with the intention of hurting people is really mind blowing. It’s really hard to wrap one’s head around it!! I was so glad to hear that the red cross said they didn’t need any more blood donations!! If only that happened more often.

Because of today’s horrific events my scheduled Facebook discussion was postponed and I’m 100% ok with that!! For those interested it should be happening either Tuesday night or Wednesday night.

The other crazy thing today is that CTV National news team was in my house!! I had tweeted the CNN article link to head news anchor Lisa LaFlamme just in the hopes she would read it. Only because for a long while she was in my hometown doing my local news and thought she would think it was cool. Well no sooner did I send the link did I get a tweet back asking if I would consider an on air interview. I didn’t say yes right away……who would?? It’s just crazy!! But after talking it over with family and friends decided to say yes thinking that it wouldn’t be for a few days well again imagine my surprise when the producer asked if Monday worked for me. I was nervous but said sure why the heck not I already committed might as well get it over with!! So John Vennavally-Rao and his camera man who’s name at this time escapes me, which is so bad to say, came!! They were both SUPER nice you could tell the story was rushed but they didn’t make ME feel that way. They spent over 3 hours with me and I can tell you filming for a news program is hard work (on their part not mine) lots of takes doing the exact same thing so that they can get different shots to make the editors happy. They filmed me walking 2 out of our 3 dogs, filmed me playing World of Warcraft and other various activities. I have no idea what the finished story will look like but I trust them to do good with it. Plus John knows to expect a “nice” email from me if he pronounces my last name wrong. The story was set to air tonight but because of the bombings a lot of their stories to bumped and mine was one of them. Again i’m 100% fine since I know that when it comes to news anything can happen. I really thought that having a camera in my face would make me nervous that I would sound like a fool but it was really easy.

On an unrelated note I again want to say thanks for all the people who have taken the time to write to me, to post on my facebook page, to tweet me… It’s all been overwhelming but in a good way. I know that i’m loved from my close friends, and my family but to have all of YOU, strangers just open up and tell me your stories to let me know that I have had such an impact has left tears in my eyes. Tomorrow I will go back to work and it will be with a new perspective I deal with a lot of angry and sometimes down right rude/mean people but I think I might treat them differently too. All of the comments where people say I’m a hero or their hero, that i’m an inspiration is so amazing and please forgive me when I say SO un-necessary as I am just a person who like everyone has a story to tell. I am still processing everything and will probably take a while to get used to people seeing me differently then I see myself.

On that note it’s quite late and I really need to stop (I could keep going, and going……) as I do have to get up at what I call the crack of stupid in order to make it to work on time.

Have great day tomorrow everyone!