I can hardly believe it has been almost a year and a half since my team and I made it across Lake Ontario! Yet at the same time it seems like forever ago!
I’m going to summarize the last year and a half as a whirlwind! It’s been fun and I’ve learned so much about life and PUBLIC SPEAKING. Meeting the people I have got to meet, including Prime Minister Harper and all the people in Ottawa who gave me a standing ovation in Parliament when I was invited there to get the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal for the Prime Minister himself. I’ve also met Elizabeth Manley, Walter Gretzky, Paul Henderson, Joe Carter, Devon White, Eddie Shack, Dennis Hull, Jeff Francis, Brutus “the Barber” Beefcake, Jerry Haworth, Damon Warner, Joe Bartoch, David Willsie, Bruce Cockburn, Victoria Duffield, Wendel Clark, and I even made NHL tough guy Darren McCarty cry ! There are sooooo many more people I’ve met it’s just crazy!!! I had a day with the Toronto Maple Leafs, with James Reimer giving my brother Ayden and I one of his goalie sticks each, and being interviewed on the Leafs bench by Brooke Pashley in between periods in front of 20,000 people! An evening with the Raptors meeting many of the guys in their change room and having a great chat on the bench with Jose Calderon only a few days before he was traded. Raptors assistant coach, Jama, and ambassador, Jamaal Magloire, are two of the greatest guys I’ve ever met, and Jamaal is one of the tallest ! I met tons of Leaf alumni and players while I was the Honorary Ambassador for the Inaugural MLSE Team Up Challenge in support of Camp Trillium. I’ve become good friends with His Honour, Ontario Lieutenant Governor David Onley and his wonderful wife, Ruth Ann, who is from my hometown of Simcoe. Also with Shane Feldman, the founder and producer of “Count Me In Canada” and last year named one of the top 20 Canadians under 20 years old! Both Shane and His Honour were kind enough to come to Simcoe in August 2013 for the renaming of the Simcoe Rec Centre pool to the Annaleise Carr Aquatic Centre.
I travelled to Alberta, Miami, all over Ontario speaking and swimming in fundraising events, and to Ireland, to receive the 2012 World Open Water Swimming Association Woman of the Year award!
The greatest highlight, however, was getting to speak to my hero, Marilyn Bell-DiLascio, who without her, I would not have had this way to help the kids and families at Camp Trillium!
That leads me to Norfolk County! This is my home and I love it!! The County has treated me so great! Renaming the pool, the parade, commemorative signs in Walsh and now they have partnered with me for this swim attempt across Lake Erie! Landing in Norfolk is the most important thing for me as I want to swim home!! The support of sponsors and people from here and all over has been more than overwhelming!
Why do this again!!!??? Camp Trillium!!!!! For those of us who are blessed to not be affected by childhood cancer, we have no idea what these people go through! “Until there is a cure, there is Camp Trillium.” It’s a saying I hear over and over!! There is no doubt that life isn’t fair, specifically for a lot of kids in this world! When we can help people in need it is such an HONOUR!!!
As you can see in the logo for this swim, the AC looks like a drop of water. A drop of water by itself can seem small, like me, and even insignificant. But what happens when you put a drop of water into a puddle or lake? When you put a drop of water into a lake ripples form. Then this one drop becomes significant because of that ripple it creates and as the ripple spreads out farther and farther the rings that form. This happens in our lives too. Each of us touches the lives of those around us. Just like when I swam across Lake Ontario for Camp Trillium, and this is my goal with swimming across Lake Erie too. Having the honour to touch other’s lives is such a wonderful thing!
I‘d like to invite you to partner with my team and I on this journey and form one, or many, of those rings.
Well that’s enough for a first blog…or an essay for JP ! I’ll touch on my book and the wonderful Deborah Ellis in my coming blogs!! Good night for now!