All posts by Lesley Dort

I'm Tracy's sister - the middle one.

Remembering Tracy

Tracy Dort-KyneIn Loving Memory of Tracy Ann Dort-Kyne

Jan 14, 1970 – Nov 27, 2013

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One year ago today…

One year ago today Tracy’s life changed in a instant.

“Isolated, by itself, what is a minute? Merely a measurement of time. There are 60 in an hour, 1,440 in a day. At seventeen, I had already ticked off more than 9,000,000 of them in my life.

Yet, in some cosmic plan, this single minute was isolated. Into these particular sixty seconds was compressed more significance than all the millions of minutes marking my life prior to this instant.” from – Joni: An Unforgetable Story by Joni Eareckson Tada

Thank you to everyone who has donated, supported, participated, visited, volunteered and cared!

The journey continues…..

Journey

The Next Chapter Begins

It’s been 9 months…

HOMECOMING: Tracy moved out of Lyndhurst Hospital yesterday and back into her house on Ranleigh Avenue to be with her boys. She decided this was the best move for her at this time. Modifications were done to the basement to make it an accessible living space and she now has her own team of personal caregivers.

Tracy Dort-Kyne and her 3 boys

So here’s the scoop….I have not written a blog post over the past few months because my relationship with Tracy (and my Mom) has been very strained. As you can imagine Tracy’s accident turned all of our lives upside down and we all naturally took on the roles best suited to us.

In the beginning we rallied for her without hesitation. It was instinctive. We did what we needed to do to help her survive and made decisions that we all felt would help Tracy have the best quality of care and quality of life possible – all things considered.

We all seem to refer to these past nine months as a “journey” that we are going through. As with many journeys there are, have been and will continue to be bumps in the road, delays, frustration, fatigue, intersections with more than one path – choices!

These are just some of the challenges one encounters on a journey. Combine this with strong personalities, priorities, personal values, temperament and family history and you have a recipe for major turmoil. The “rallying” our family did in the beginning becomes the tearing apart of the family. The crisis that triggered the journey exposes the best and the worst of whom we are as humans – our reluctance to want to forgive, our inability to want to acknowledge our deepest flaws…and so on….

And so the “journey” continues…

I hope for much healing and forgiveness for us all as we move forward.

Les

p.s. While Tracy is now back home, she’s still eager to have visitors. She’s continuing to use Lotsahelpinghands to manage the schedule. You can sign up here to visit Tracy at home!

gratitude

March Update

The Updates

I am long overdue in writing a blog post. It is close to 7 months since that fateful day. It has been an unbelievably difficult journey ……too difficult to write about at times. So here’s the Tracy scoop:

  • Tracy is still at Toronto Rehab’s Lyndhurst hospital.
  • She is learning to use her motorized wheelchair using a sip and puff controller – not without its challenges but she is very determined.
  • Tracy sold her house and purchased a modest bungalow near Lawrence and Don Mills that she is planning to renovate and make accessible. The move out will happen at the end of the school year.
  • Tracy has had on/off medical issues – and she continues to experience quite a bit of pain.
  • Tracy has been out of Lyndhurst several times, and is learning how UN-accessible the world really is.

The boys: Lynn hired two excellent caregivers for the boys – Leslie who is full-time during the week and Beverly for the weekends. She finally packed up her little Prius and drove to Chicago last week so that she could fly to Phoenix for some serious R & R before heading back to St. Louis to resume her life.

Lynn sacrificed so much for our family! She left her life in St. Louis for almost 7 months to care for Christian, Malcolm and Thomas. They did so well under her watch and they’ll really miss her. Thank you big sister!!! xo

“Layers” & Lessons

What I know is that Tracy learning to live as a quadriplegic is only a small part of the challenges we have faced and continue to face. The dynamics of our family are forever changed and changing. There are multiple “layers” to this conversation and within each of them – they too are multifaceted. My nephews without their mother; our mother not living in her home and away from her husband; Lynn who gave up close to seven months of her life to live away from her family and take care of someone else’s kids; my Dad at their home in Ottawa alone and trying to run a business; me – the only one who actually lives in Toronto juggling full-time job, teenage daughter, husband, home; finances/fund/fundraising; and the ongoing worry of all things Tracy; etc…

Selfishly I feel I have lost my mother as I knew her, my father as I knew him and my daughter has lost the grandparents she once knew. They are forever consumed – changed, ripped and torn apart at the pain & suffering of their baby. I don’t ever want to imagine what it feels like, as I only have my sweet Abigail, but I am one of the able-bodied daughters and the sister, so my perspective is different.

Emotions run high, and there is strife. People don’t talk to each other. There are arguments and disagreements. There are short tempers and tears. Feelings are hurt. Words are used like daggers that can’t be taken back. Healing and forgiveness seem so distant. Guilt sets in …

….but I can move.

Gratitude

It continues to amaze us all at the overwhelming generosity of people! People, who most often do not even know Tracy, yet go out of their way to help her. Some of those people include:

  • Sandra Dower – for doing Tracy’s hair on a regular basis!!
  • Michael Carmichael and Universal Motion for lending Tracy an accessible van – on several occasions.
  • Peter Grande for for lending Tracy an MV-1 purpose built accessible van – several times and especially for the drive to Collingwood.
  • Crestwood Upper and Lower School for Christian and Thomas’s bursaries.
  • Christina Kaufman and Gears Toronto for the Spin that Tracy was able to attend on Thursday January 26th.
  • Cindy Drohan, Gail McGregor and Macpherson Homes for the Silpada Jewelry Fundraiser at the Orchard at Craigleith on Saturday February 4
  • Beverley Daniels for her February photo shoot fundraiser
  • Marsha Hamilton, Marlene and Jeff Stubbins and the entire school community at St. Clements Early Learning School for their February fundraiser
  • Mona Harrison, Leigh-Anne Copp, Tammy Comish, Ashlynn Band and the Craigleith Ski Club for Craigleith Ladies Day on March 2 – Tracy was able to be a guest of honour.
  • Bedford Park Moms for their Suppersolved Meal
  • Brianne Stewart and Bryn Copp for their “Caring Motivating Tracy” t-shirt fund raiser.
  • Wesley Kwong from Barefoot Wine for donating wine and bubbly for our fund raisers.
  • Milton Davis and his team at Davis Moldaver LLP for their advice and counsel.
  • Robert’s colleagues at 6S Marketing for the work they are doing on a much improved web site.
If I missed anyone…I’m sorry. We’re all so very grateful. xoxo Lesley

Upcoming fundraisers:

1. Saturday March 31 from 2pm to 4pm – Arbonne tea at Tracy’s house RSVP jo-annmcb@rogers.com

2. April 2 at 6pm – Plank a Thon RSVP online or ross2170@sympatico.ca

3. April 14 from 4 to 6pm – Spin for Tracy at Max Revolution RSVP gagsanna@gmail.com

4. June 24 at 11 30 am – Golf for Tracy RSVP golffortracy@gmail.com

5. Team Tracy at the Centurion – contact debbie.gray@sympatico.ca

 

 

 

Never Give Up!

I spent last week in Miami at my company’s annual customer conference and sales kick-off. While I had hoped it would be something of a respite from the challenges of the past five months, Tracy was never really far from my thoughts — especially after listening to the inspirational words of Nando Parrado our keynote speaker.

I’m sure most of you are familiar with the story. In October 1972 a rugby team from Uruguay was flying to Chile for an international match. Their plane crashed high in the Andes Mountains and the survivors endured 72 unmanageable days of hardship, starvation, frostbite and even an avalanche.

Nando told us about how those two and a half months changed his life completely. His mother and younger sister passed away in the accident, and Nando made a superhuman effort to survive including a hellish 11 day mountain trek across the Andes to find help for the other survivors.

Nando told his amazing story in a best-selling book called “Miracle in The Andes” which was recently made into motion picture called “I AM ALIVE.” His story really resonated with me. It’s a message about perseverance, choices and never looking back. He told us to “never ask why,” because there are no answers, and it’s not helpful. Our family continues to try and be strong for Tracy, but there are days when our “humanness” overcomes and our emotions take over – anger, sadness, despair and more recently exhaustion.

Nando signed books after his talk and I was eager to get a copy for Tracy. We were asked to write the name of the person we wanted the book inscribed to on a little yellow post it note. I wrote Tracy’s name and when I reached Nando he smiled, looked up at me and asked “who is Tracy?” He could clearly see my conference name badge – Lesley Dort. I was overcome with emotion in that instant and sobbed as I retold Tracy’s story. He leaned over and very gently held my hand. We talked about Tracy and her will to live. It felt to me like we were the only two people in that room, even though there was a huge long line of people waiting behind me.

His inscription to Tracy was “Never Give Up.”

Nando’s story is inspirational and the message of resilience and a positive attitude gives me hope. If he could survive two and a half months in the Andes and live to tell his story, we can help Tracy to transition to her new life as a quadriplegic.

My husband and I continue to believe that she has a calling. Her story, just like Nando’s, will inspire others to be better and do better in their own lives.

Resolutions, Nanny Search, New Board and Little Angels in Markham

As I watch the programs on TV and listen to people talk about their New Year’s resolutions, I wonder about them. Isn’t a resolution really more like a wish? We wish to be skinnier. We wish to get in better shape. We wish to be a nicer person. We wish to be tidier and if we’re lucky,  we change our behaviour to actually make the “resolutions” come true.

My resolution and my wish is for continued courage, hope, resilience, tenacity, determination and drive for my sister. My resolution is to never take anything for granted and to always be grateful – for everything!

Some of you have asked about the number of visits we’ve had to Tracy’s website. We launched the site in early October and as of December 31, 2011, we’ve had over 160,000 visits. Robert says that pretty good.

NANNY SEARCH

We’re  searching for a Nanny/Caregiver for Tracy’s boys to move in and work alongside Lynn and/or Mom. This person will ultimately live with Tracy and the boys when Lynn returns to St. Louis and Mom heads back to Ottawa.

Requirements for this full time live-in Caregiver/Nanny/Housekeeper:  drivers license (car will be provided), duties will include – managing all aspects of care for the boys: meals, homework, school, appointments, laundry, activities, social outtings, clothes, driving to/from school or activities, etc.  Must be a self starter with lots of energy, patience and compassion. Must clear a police background check. If you know of anyone please have them send me an email at Lesley [dot] Dort [at] rogers.com

TRACY’S TRUST FUND :: BOARD OF DIRECTORS

We’ve decided to assemble an informal board of directors to provide some oversight of Tracy’s Trust Fund and the money you’ve  generously helped us raise. While the Fund is still relatively small, we think it’s important to have a team of pros helping us manage disbursements. We’ll be assembling the board in the coming weeks and I’ll share more about this soon.

SPECIAL THANK YOU TO MRS. TORSHER’S GRADE 3 CLASS

In late November, Robert received an email from Maureen Torsher, a Grade 3 teacher at St. Justin Martyr School in Markham Ontario. Maureen had seen Tracy on CBC News and was touched by her story.

“Yesterday my Grade 3 class was on a field trip, and Tommy, one of my students, said, ‘My mom said teachers get too much chocolate.’ And he’s right. So today I talked to my class, told them about Tracy’s accident, and have asked them to make donations instead of buying me any teacher Christmas gifts. I will send them to your website to make donations if that is ok. Keep well, prayers for all of you.”

As my Mom likes to say, “we are surrounded by Angels!”

Mrs. Torsher's Grade 3 Class fund raising for Tracy Dort-Kyne