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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

 

 

 

Christmas Homecoming

Home Sweet Home

Tracy was able to spend the day with us at her house on Christmas Day! She wanted it to happen, and had mentioned about being home for Christmas in her first CBC interview. It was her first-time home since the accident and we made it happen.

We hired a private ambulance and they brought her home in a stretcher. While it’s only a five-minute drive, Tracy still finds being jostled around in an ambulance or accessible van uncomfortable and painful. Her house is a tall walk up with many steps and turns to navigate. Unfortunately, the house that she loves doesn’t lend itself to being made accessible and livable for a quadriplegic. The ambulance attendants did an amazing job of carrying her into the house and gingerly positioned Trace in her wheelchair.

She spent the day with her boys and all of us. We opened gifts, enjoyed Christmas dinner and shared lots of laughs. She was happy to be there, to be a part of “the normal.” To be back in her own space, to be in familiar and welcoming surroundings with people she loves, to take part in it all and to savour the celebration. I felt mixed emotions, happy she was with us, but sad and even angry at times.

It was especially difficult when they came to pick her up. It’s not the image of your sister leaving her house that you want in your memory. Her being lifted out of her wheelchair, and put on a stretcher into an ambulance to go back to the hospital. It’s not fair!

3 Steps forward & 10 Steps back

Tracy in Sunnybrook Hospital E.R on December 17th

Saturday the 17th Tracy was sent by ambulance to Sunnybrook emergency in the morning. She had been VERY sick for a couple of weeks. Mom and I spent the day with her while we waited for the doctor, and then the X-ray, and then the diagnosis, and then the remedy. It was a long, tiring and stressful day. At the end of which she was to be sent back to Lyndhurst – this was around 8pm – only to find out that the “Ambu Trans” would not be available to pick her up for NINE hours!!! What?? By this point she was extremely uncomfortable and staying in the E.R. was not an option I wanted for her. We asked if they could admit her, but there were no beds. We asked if she could be sent by Toronto EMS but that was not allowed either.

She would have to wait.

So, after I had an emotional breakdown, Mom told me to go home and she would stay til the wee hours of the morning with Tracy and wait for Ambu Trans. As I was leaving, one of the nurses stopped to ask me if I was OK. As I turned my head to the emergency counter, I could see an EMS worker doing paperwork. She had just brought someone in, and so in my exhaustion and frustration, I looked at her and said “hey, what are you doing, why can’t you help us?” to which she replied, “maybe I can, what do you need?” And after telling her Tracy’s story and why she was there that day, she did help us –  even though she didn’t have to. Veronica Tello is the Angel who helped us that night. She and her partner took Tracy back to Lyndhurst. It was “kismet” that she was standing there at that moment in time. She is to be commended!

IRON PEOPLE: Cyclists & Spinners with BIG hearts

Lisa Bentley with Lesley Dort at City Buick Spin for Tracy

Ironman Champ Lisa Bentley with Lesley

On Sunday December 18th at 7am in the dark of the early morning’s dawn, on a not-so cold winter’s day, one week before Christmas – a group of dedicated,compassionate and super fit people gathered in the service bays at one of Toronto’s largest GM dealerships to help raise funds for Tracy’s Trust. Like most of the fund-raisers for Tracy, organizers Michael Carmichael the dealer operator of City Buick and professional triathlete Lisa Bentley, had never met Tracy.

They had simply heard her story through Canada’s cycling community and knew that they had to do something to help.

I was not joining in the spin but Robert and I had volunteered to help out and I co-hosted the registration desk with Connie, Michael’s amazing wife. The day before had been tough as we had spent almost 12 hours in Sunnybrook Emergency with a sick Tracy and so I was very tired, and was a little grumpy when the alarm went off at 5:45 am. Robert reminded me that for many of these athletes a 5:45 am wakeup was akin to sleeping in.

It turned out to be a very awakening morning in so many ways! As I greeted and signed people in, I was struck by the sense of community among this group of people. None of the folks spinning had ever met Tracy.  Nor did they know her before the accident. But their hearts were full of love and compassion. What they did understand and what seemed to create a very strong bond was —  that it could have just as easily been them.  Many of these athletes they’d ridden the road that Tracy crashed on and shared their own stories of close calls on Scenic Caves Road in Collingwood.

The 3 HOUR spin was lead by 11x Ironman Champion – Lisa Bentley who every day overcomes her own battle with Cystic Fibrosis. She is an inspiration and believes in overcoming challenges. Her mantra is to “Follow your passion, have a goal and share it with others”

City Buick Spin for Tracy Dort-KyneSeveral of the people who participated have done, or are training for upcoming Ironman races. They are focused, determined and dedicated and they all have a story to share about their journey. What I learned on Sunday morning was that the “Ironpeople” may have “Iron” bodies, but they definitely have soft and compassionate hearts!

Robert says he’s been inspired by all the cyclists from across Canada that have supported our family. While he hasn’t ridden a road-bike in almost 25 years, he now wants to train for the 2012 Centurion and is saving up his pennies to buy a Cervélo. He’s adamant that one of us needs to finish the race that Tracy had trained so hard to prepare for. Hard to argue that.

THANK YOU Michael & Connie Carmichael, all the staff at City Buick who helped out, Lisa & Dave Bentley, D’Ornellas Bike shop and all the amazing athletes who spun their “butts off”! Wow!

 

Life Goes On

It’s the old cliché that we’ve heard a million times, but sadly it is true. The clock nor the calendar stand still for anyone! People must get on with their lives, their work, their families, their day-to-day routines, their social gatherings, their celebrations, their appointments … their “busy“. Slowly the impact of Tracy’s accident is fading for some. Priorities shift. It’s amazing to think that it was only 3 months + 1 week ago on labour day weekend that Tracy’s life changed – along with our entire family.

The difference for Tracy is that the impact of that fateful day is more real than ever. Each day brings unknowns. Each day brings new challenges. Each day staying healthy, well, strong in her mind and her immobile body is paramount to survival. Each day she is completely dependant on others for every aspect of her life. Just imagine.

HOW TO LIVE LIFE at LYNDHURST

Tracy’s inspirational attitude comes from within her. She is tenacious and driven, but during this tragic time she has drawn great strength from the positive and powerful energy, love and compassion of people.  Visitors: families, acquaintances, work colleagues, fitness fanatics, school buddies, neighbourhood pals, ….FRIENDS….

True Friends Strengthen and Help Each Other
Ecclesiastes 4:9–12
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. (NLT)

GRACIAS, MERCI, GRAZIE, DANKESCHON!

A VERY BIG note of appreciation to Jane Roos and her husband Conrad for opening up their gorgeous Gallery on November 29th for a spectacular evening of art and friendship. Thanks also to a very special group of women called the MINOES (mother in need of entertainment) who have found the key to “happiness in the hood” and hosted a fantastic night of fun and fellowship Thursday December 1st.

WHAT IS CHRISTMAS?

I asked Abby today if it was OK if we didn’t put up a Christmas tree this year. I know how much she loves the tree, the ornaments and the amazing smell. I felt guilty. I explained that I just didn’t have it in me to take on this task. She paused and then she said “it’s OK Mom, the tree doesn’t actually matter.”  Of course! She was right, the tree doesn’t matter. What matters is that we are all together and Tracy is alive and every day we should be grateful for small miracles each day.

GRATITUDE

Words cannot express our sincere appreciation. Here is a growing but not inclusive list of those we wish to acknowledge and express thanks to:

  • Crestwood Preparatory College and all of Christian’s teachers
  • Peter DeMarco of Demarco Peprich Canada’s leading florist
  • Super-start realtor Carol Anne Warrington for taking care of the sale of Tracy’s home and providing a full commission deduction
  • Michael Kalles from Harvey Kalles Real Estate for graciously returning the company’s commission on the sale of Tracy’s home
  • Uptown Landscaping – Daron Robertson and his team of green thumbs for looking after Tracy’s house
  • Greg Clees at Clees Catering and team of foodies
  • Suzanne Martin – Speech Language Pathologist
  • Robyn’s Cookies makes of Toronto’s best chocolate chip cookie
  • Bedford Park School Moms
  • Stevie Krupski and Silvia Prime
  • Victoria Williams
  • Snowhawks – Heather and Mitch and their amazing ski and snowboard school
  • The incredibly talented Jane Roos of Jane Roos Gallery for a beautiful art-filled fund raiser
  • Track Fitness for hosting a great spin fund raiser
  • Moksha Yoga Uptown for sharing their studio for a sweat and spin fund raiser
  • Pure Fitness and Deirdre Casey aka Irongirl for a fantastic spin fund raiser
  • Extreme Fitness and VP Jaqueline Walters for their continued support and ongoing fund raising
  • MINOES for a very touching and heartfelt fund raiser
  • Milton Davis and the team at Davis Moldaver LLP
  • Sue Henderson from Suetables and her beautiful necklace fund raising effort
  • Mike Bullard and his team at Newstalk1010 for turning his show into a laugh-filled benefit for Tracy
  • Rick Hansen and his 25th Anniversary Relay Team for including Tracy in the Toronto leg of the relay
  • Craigleith Ski Club for supporting our family
  • Michael Carmichael from CityBuick for incredible spin fundraiser for Tracy at his dealership
  • 11x Ironman champ Lisa Bentley for leading CityBuick Spin for Tracy and for  reaching out to so many of her friends and clients

Love and joy, les :-) xo