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Airdrie City View reporter proud of community's giving spirit

By: Allison Chorney

  |  Posted: Thursday, Dec 19, 2013 10:29 am

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As the community reporter here at Airdrie City View, I have the distinct pleasure of writing about the many fundraising events and general acts of kindness that occur each week, and I must say I am deeply proud of this city.

In the past year, I have had the delight in meeting and reporting on Kassie O’Brien and Bailey Sharpe from Dog “E” Daycare.

These two ladies have spearheaded or helped in several fundraising campaigns in 2013, including Bark’n’ for Boobies in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Chill ‘N’ for Children in support of the Ronald McDonald House Southern Alberta, Movie Night in the Park in support of the Ronald McDonald House and Bully Breed in Need, Photos with Santa in support of the Wild Rose Humane Society and a fundraiser to provide gifts for the Ronald McDonald House Magic Room.

The two also started the Dog “E” Loyalty program, which allows families to leave their pooch in the care of Dog “E” Daycare free of charge while their child is in the hospital undergoing treatment and the family stays at Ronald McDonald House Southern Alberta.

O’Brien and Sharpe not only come up with most of the ideas for these fundraising events themselves, they are also keen to give up their own time, effort and money to promote, run, bake goodies and attend the events themselves, all on top of running their new business. They are kind spirits with an infectious enthusiasm for helping others.

I also had the absolute pleasure of meeting Allison Prentice, whose story really inspired me.

After talking with her, I truly felt a sense of awe at her strength and wish to make things better for others.

Prentice has suffered from a debilitating form of epilepsy for the last 12 years.

The seizures it caused were so severe Prentice avoided going in public for fear she would have a seizure and frighten others while embarrassing herself.

She underwent surgery in 2005 to remove a portion of her brain in an effort to reduce the seizures. Unfortunately, the surgery had little effect on her condition and left her with a sizeable scar and dent in the left side of her head.

It wasn’t until five years ago that she finally found some relief in the form of a new medication and an electrical stimulation implant that have lessened the severity of her seizures considerably.

This enabled Prentice to once again enjoy getting out in public and this October she made the decision to join in the fundraising effort Bare Naked Noggins Head Shave in support of the Epilepsy Association of Calgary.

Despite her fears of how people would react to the scars left from her surgery, she bravely sheared her head and helped bring funding and awareness to a cause that meant so much to her.

Her quiet strength and determination to help others had me holding back tears as I spoke with her.

Another of my favourite stories and people from 2013 is that of Rhonda Lee MacDonald and her participation in Mud Hero, a six-kilometre, off-road obstacle course in support of the Alberta Cancer Foundation.

MacDonald lost her mother-in-law to cancer on April 5, 2013, and by May MacDonald had made the decision to participate in the fundraiser in her mother-in-law’s name. MacDonald was very close to her mother-in-law and still felt the heavy weight of her loss when she joined Mud Hero.

In June, she shaved her locks in the lobby of her workplace in Airdrie as her first step in raising funds for her campaign.

In August, she got down and dirty and ran the mud-filled course that was Mud Hero and in September she was named Mud Hero of the Month for all of Canada in part due to her amazing fundraising efforts.

MacDonald showed immense strength in facing these challenges with a heart still healing from loss and I commend her winning spirit and go-get-them attitude throughout it all.

These are only a small sampling of the wonderful people I’ve had the absolute honour to meet and to report on in 2013 but each one has made this community brighter by their efforts and better by showing us all we can do a little more to help.


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