Reading The Sign

Man, writing attention grabbing openings for these is getting harder! I’m raising funds to have my head shaved in support of St. Baldrick’s next Wednesday. You can read all the details here. If you’re already in the loop, I know what you’re thinking: “What’s today’s giveaway then?” Well, the good folks over at Great Lakes Brewery have provided me with a dope sign to give away. Whether you put it up in your den, or stick it to your front door so your neighbours all know you’ve got awesome taste in beer, this sign will serve you well. Contest closes tomorrow, Saturday May 31st 2014 at 10am. All donations of $1 or more are entered. As usual, $20 or more gets you entered into the following draw too, and $100 or more gets you entered into every draw until the event.

Donate here:

And a big congratulations to yesterday’s winner, Suzann M! Enjoy that growler of Granite Brewery beer!

Great Lakes Brewery tin sign

Pretty dope sign!

So why am I doing this? Well, I mean, aside from the fact that it’s a great cause, there’s a bit more to it than that. I used to teach water-skiing/wakeboarding at a summer camp called Muskoka Woods. Just down the highway was a camp called Camp Oochigeas. Ooch is a camp for kids with cancer. It’s the only residential camp in Ontario that provides onsite chemotherapy and blood transfusions. They are committed to providing a camp experience, for free, for any child with cancer, no matter how debilitating their condition. It’s heavy. They’ve actually grown enormously, and now have multiple programs year-round that include camps for siblings of kids with cancer,  and for kids grieving the loss of a sibling. Really heavy.

When I was young and teaching watersports, they were located on the grounds of Rosseau Lake College (they’ve since bought the old Camp Hollyburn property, just down the highway in the other direction from Muskoka Woods). Ooch would often bring kids over to Muskoka Woods to use our high-ropes course, gymnastics facilities, and to take them tubing or water-skiing. Driving kids, some of whom were still bald from chemo was amazing. These kids, who had been through so much awfulness were so joyful. I remember pulling one camper, who really wanted to get up on skis. He was tiny and white as porcelain. His hair was super short and thin, and I guessed he probably had been through chemo pretty recently. Another instructor got in the water with him, and helped him grab the boom. An Ooch volunteer got in the boat with me and the spotter. He told me that the boy really wanted to try, but that I shouldn’t expect too much. I said that if I had to hold the boy in front of me while I was holding the boom with one hand, I would get him standing on a pair of waterskis. But my heroism wasn’t necessary, the boy was more heroic than me. He popped up on the skis the first try, and we pulled him for easily 3 minutes before he told us he was getting tired. I would have pulled him until the tank ran dry if he was up for it, just to keep seeing the smile on his face. I have no idea what his prognosis was. I know that for many kids at Ooch, it’s not good. Maybe that was one of his last victories, maybe is was a happy respite from treatments, or maybe it was one of the first days he started to feel like a normal kid again, I don’t know. But no matter what, I was so blessed to be a part of it. And I’ll be blessed to be part of this event for St. Baldrick’s too.

Peacefully bald

I’m glad Buddhists don’t believe in hell, because I’d be going straight to it for this one.

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