Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Power of Small Communities

The old saying “Small Town, Big Heart” has always rang true in my hometown of Port Dover. But not only Port Dover, our entire County is always so generous to give, to share, and to support.

Over the years I have planned many events. From figure skating carnivals and baseball tournaments to buck and does and charitable fundraisers. I have never once been disappointed in the residents and merchants in our great community. They are always willing to sponsor or to donate and help make any event a success. 

But I have three amazing stories about support offered to individuals and their families, above and beyond all the charitable events our locals sponsor and support, that I would like to share with you.

About 10 years ago, when I worked at the local grocery store, I got to know this family really well. Their daughter was a few years younger than me and she was very sick with Lupus. The family had so many medical bills, and car expenses from taking her to doctor after doctor, and I wanted to help. So, I rallied the staff at the store to volunteer their time and some high school girls to help too and we threw together a weekend car wash and barbecue. We were able to raise enough money to help them purchase a hospital bed for their daughter to have at home and new tires for their vehicle to get them to and from the hospital safely every few days.

Needless to say, the support and generosity of the community was amazing. One person even donated $100 just because. Didn’t buy a burger or get his car washed, just wanted to help. Shortly after this event (9 years ago as of February 11, 2013), the mom donated her kidney to her daughter. Today they are both are living happy and healthy and still here in Norfolk County!

Back about 3 years ago, a very dear family friend battled cancer and beat it twice. But the stress on the family from medical bills and travel expenses was immense. So, once again, the Community pulled together to help raise funds to assist the family.

We packed the place to capacity and beyond, had tons of local musicians volunteer their time and talents, amazing door prizes and even better silent auction prizes…all donated from business and locals just wanting to help someone in need.

Unfortunately, our friend once again faced the battle with cancer another two times, and lost that battle in January of 2011. The day we said goodbye to our dear friend is one I will never forget. The local community centre was once again packed to capacity. The love and support that was shown during his benefit to help the family with their debts, was once again present during their time of mourning.

A few months later, the family began planting a farm in which their son had ordered the products for the previous year. Family and friends and a few volunteers that no one really knew, went to the farm to plant their sons dream. All in a days work here in Norfolk County!

Most recently I was told of another friend who was suffering from a very rare disease. After battling cancer and being cancer free since January 2012, he was diagnosed with a very rare blood disease.  Friends informed me that his medical insurance would no longer cover his necessary medication, an extreme monthly expense that very few of us could ever imagine. So, they have decided to hold a benefit for him to help him and his wife and their 15 month old son, be able to pay for this needed medication. They asked for any assistance anyone could give.

Immediately I made a few phone calls to some local volunteers and organizations that are always willing to give. And without question they were on board. Once a facebook page was started, all kinds of people started donating amazing prizes and asking where they can donate to the cause. Again, Norfolk County took my breath away!

Donate for Duke (#donateforduke on twitter) is going to be a huge success, just like the past two events I mentioned, and all because of the kindness, selflessness and generosity of our small community.

So, when people ask me how I can live in the “middle of nowhere” or without all the amenities of the city, I will always think of these three examples of why Norfolk County is forever my home. You’ve probably heard it many times before, but it’s so true…HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS! And there is a lot of heart in Norfolk County.

For more information about Donate for Duke or to donate to the event, you can contact me at any time. The facebook event page can be found at:!/events/543007429073256/?fref=ts or you can chat with them on twitter using the hashtag #donateforduke

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