cysticfibrosismom

I'm just a regular mom, figuring out life with my daughter Sophia, who has cystic fibrosis.Take this journey with me.


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Awareness

One of the hardest things in life is remaining non-judgmental. Many of us claim to be completely open-minded in a self-righteous sort of way. “I would never judge a person…” But if we are true to ourselves and actually self-aware, we know how many disapproving thoughts fly through our heads. When a parent carries a screaming child down the grocery store aisle, we think ‘I’m glad I have better control over my own children.’ When a driver cuts us off in traffic, we pick the most salient attribute (car type, age of driver, sex of driver, etc) and make a disparaging comment under our breath. Now, thankfully, most of us keep these thoughts in our heads. Some of us even open our minds to why people behave the way they do. Perhaps that child missed a nap or is coming down with a cold. Maybe the driver is on route to the hospital to visit a sick relative, or perhaps he/she just made a mistake.

I believe that one way to cut down on prejudice is to watch how we label people. Take a few days and listen to your inner commentary. Do you tend to refer to teenagers as ‘punks’, to whiny children as ‘brats’? Do you refer to people by who they are or by what they are? On a more subtle note, is Mr B down the street a cranky old git or is he a man who has led a difficult life? Is my daughter a cystic fibrosis patient, a cystic, a cyster? Or is she a young girl with cystic fibrosis. How would you prefer to be addressed? ‘Person-first’ language is a great rule. We all have complicated lives. We all make mistakes. At some point in our lives we will all battle with illness, whether it’s the sniffles, the stomach flu, or a serious disease. We are all people first.

 

“The first step toward change is awareness…”

Nathaniel Branden

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An Ultimate Success

After a couple of months of planning, we pulled off our 2nd Annual Charity Ultimate Tournament last weekend. My friend TJ is a great ‘ideas’ kind of guy. He approached me in January and suggested we try to make this year’s tournament bigger and better. Last year we had 44 people join our overnight Ultimate tournament (11pm-4am is a tough sell). Even I wasn’t all the keen on staying awake during my prime sleeping hours. This year we decided to try for an all-day tournament. We secured our indoor location, Soccerworld, for March 30th. TJ thought it would be a good idea to try 4 vs 4, and to divide the soccer fields into smaller playing fields. Sounded great to me. Having very little tournament experience, and absolutely no experience with the 4 vs 4 format, I had no idea what I was in for.

We started spreading the word, and in no time we had teams and individuals signing up. We ended up with 14 teams from all over Ontario (London, St Catharines, Hamilton, Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, Kingston, Oshawa) and even some brave souls from Buffalo. 145 amazing individuals signed up for our tournament! A 3.5-fold increase from last year. We even had VC Ultimate jump on board and offer a great deal on jerseys. This was turning from a few friends gathering to play Ultimate, to a legitimate tournament!

Two weeks before the event, I found out that my ‘team of volunteers’ who were supposed to be securing grocery store gift cards to pay for the tournament food weren’t having any success. With 2 sick children, a husband organizing a conference and then away at the conference, we had to do some last-minute scrambling. Incredibly, we were able to secure over $300 in gift cards from Fortinos, Metro, Whole Foods, FreshCo, and Sobeys. More than enough to supply a lovely array of bagels, fruit, granola bars, Gatorade, etc.

Thankfully TJ knew what he was in for, and had no trouble working out playing schedules for our Competitive and Recreational divisions. After some last-minute behind-the-scenes stressful moments (timing changes, accommodating individuals and juggling a multitude of scheduling needs), tournament day arrived. It went off without a hitch. Looking at the facility from above, it was a beautiful display of organized chaos (see picture below). Our most spirited team, Inner Ninjas, even arrived with personalized jerseys, swords, bandanas, prizes, and music! I can’t speak for anyone else at the tournament, but I had a great time. I love watching good Ultimate, and I love playing mediocre Ultimate (I bet I’d love being really good at the sport too, but I’m happy where I’m at).

From registration alone, we were able to raise $5000 for Cystic Fibrosis Canada. There are more donations coming in daily from Ultimate players who weren’t able to attend the tournament. Being able to donate funds to vital research is what gives me hope for my daughter Sophia’s future. What an awesome community to be a part of. Thank you Ultimate players. We’ll see you next year for an even bigger tournament!!

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