Tag Archives: Lynn Pang

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!

 

Leadership

Uncle Darren interviews Boston Bruins Captain Zdeno Chára after winning the Stanley Cup

Many speak of leadership, yet very seldom do you see someone really step up at a time of need and lead by example.

In hockey, there are plenty of leaders. They usually wear the C or the A on their sweater. There are always others that step up, say something when it is time, or simply do something that can turn the tide, change the momentum.

Sometimes leaders have to do things that are “uncomfortable” to do. They can upset people with decisions, but leaders make those hard decisions. Someone always has to.

On Sept 4th, the day Tracy broke her neck, her sisters, Lynn and Lesley, took charge. Their lives took a significant swerve in the road. They were both being challenged, both emotionally and leadership wise.

They both lead in very different ways. Lesley has an incredible ability to communicate, get on the phone, email, talk and smile, all while having a full-time job and family of her own. She has great energy and spirit.

Lynn too has always been a leader, in good times, and in tough times, stressful times. When the chips have been  down in our family, The Pang Family, she rises. She generally clenches her jaw and just gets to work. She is a grinder. She doesn’t take many orders, and has that “charming stubbornness” about her. (I call it charming as it sounds better that way! ) She makes lists, has an incredible grasp on time management and quite simply “gets things done..and then checks them off her list.”

Darren Pang

Bedtime story with Thomas

This moment in her life, as a result of this very sad and catastrophic injury to her youngest sister, has been defined. She has really shown her true colours, her leadership ability and character.

These sisters don’t always see eye to eye on how they deal with things. That’s pretty normal as they are both different personalities. Lynn gets right to the point and doesn’t hold back, while Lesley can also get her point across,  she can display a softer ability to say the same thing. But in this time of emotion, stress, anxiety and wonder, both Lynn and Lesley have been simply amazing.

Getting back to the early events of the accident to Tracy, Lynn, Sammy and I were pulling up at the front door of our good friends, the Browns, in St Louis,  when we received the call from Lesley about Tracy’s accident. Not many details at the time, but they would come, though, as the night developed. We went inside, explained what had happened to Jeanette and her kids. I don’t know exactly what was going through Lynn’s mind, as we were all very numb, but I do know she knew enough to say to me, “Our lives just took a different path” and now, more than 4 months later, Lynn remains in Toronto.  She arrived on September 5th and only came back home to pack up the car, put some clothes together, and get our 2 dogs to Toronto in her trusty Toyota Prius.

She has been living at her youngest sister, Tracy’s house, and has been the daily caregiver for Tracy’s 3 sons, aged 7 to 13, as Tracy has sole custody of the boys. Lynn and her Mom Joan, have that house so well-organized and in control, and although there was some adjustment early on for the boys, they know how Lynn works, what she expects and are thriving in their new environment.

Lynn reading with Thomas

Teachers have said to Lynn in Parent-Teacher meetings that ” Whatever you doing with these boys, keep doing it, because they are doing so well.” I know that means a lot to Lynn, and of course, to Tracy.

The boys have been great. I really can’t get over how well they have handled all of this, and we all know that there is a long road ahead for everyone, but it has been impressive. The boys can certainly be a rambunctious trio. As boys will be boys, they can be a handful. But it has been awesome getting to know them, to REALLY know them. I see Lynn with the boys, and she is special. She has really formed a great bond, and on drives to school and back with Christian, they have some really neat banter back and forth. He has been such an awesome kid. He is getting good grades, eats lots of food (and if you know Lynn, she loves to cook)  and fun to be around. We recently went skating at UCC and Christian couldn’t get enough! He skated for almost 2 hours, never stopping.

Darren Pang and Christian at TSN studios

Uncle Darren and Christian at TSN studios in Toronto

Lynn has everything so well organized, from Thomas activities, school work, reading lots of books, his outdoor hockey, to Malcolm trying out for the school hockey team, and playing in the Lawrence Park Athletic Association outdoor hockey league with his buddy Charlie. I am going to take them to TSN’s studios while I work an NHL game on the Panel, as I did with Christian and his buddies a month ago. Christian just loved it, and couldn’t have been any more respectful!

The boys couldn’t wait to get the Christmas decorations up, and helped getting the boxes in the house, making sure to help Lynn figure out if the lights worked, what usually went where and then off they went, helping out. Christian confirmed that the big tree would look great in front of the window, and gave it a big thumbs up when it was done.

I really enjoy being around the boys, being an Uncle, and try to help Lynn and her Mom. I’m looking forward to Christmas as Tyler and Sammy will be there as well. Our kids have been amazing in this time, and it is so great to see Sammy and Ty show the same qualities and character as their mother in this really difficult time. They are growing up, and showing up, when needed the most.

In the meantime, when I broadcast hockey games, I always look for the players that rise to the occasion, that fight for their space on the ice. The difference makers. It’s not all about the players that get points and media attention. It is about the “glue guys” as much as any. The guys that stick to the fight when they’re hardest hit, that when things get worse, they don’t quit.

Malcolm proudly wears #5

They don’t leave town — that’s for sure.

I can’t even begin to describe my thoughts on how proud I am of my wife of 24 years. This has been incredibly stressful on everyone. But in this time of such duress, it is amazing where the strength can come from, how deep you can reach for it and find it, even when you think the well is dry.  The entire family reaches down deep every day, and should all be very proud, I know I am of them all.

Enjoy the Holidays, and take nothing for granted. Some moments in life change the path you were on, and when adversity hits, if it does, then your true character will step out…and lead. Just like what Tracy’s entire Family and so many friends have done.

Merry Christmas and Enjoy the moment.

Darren

Darren Pang
@panger40

 

Hoopla

Media Attention

CBC, CTV, Global, Rick Hansen, NewsTALK 1010’s Mike Bullard have all interviewed, videotaped, photographed and spent time with Tracy over the past few weeks. The Globe and Mail, Canada’s National Newspaper, even put her on the front page as part of a major report on catastrophic injuries. She has become an awesome spokesperson and advocate for those living with spinal cord injuries. She enjoys the limelight, thrives on the attention and rises to the occasion each time. It is what has fuelled her each day. It has given her a reason to have her hair blow dried and her make up applied. It keeps her mind occupied and off of the pain, the paralysis, the prognosis and the future.

So, what happens when all the “hoopla” dies down. Where will her thoughts go when the lights, the cameras and the reporters go away? What “stage” of grieving is she really in? Could it be denial? We talk of her strength, her spirit and her being inspirational. But are we – her family – also in denial? Are we fooling ourselves?

September 4th to November 13 – 70 days, 2 and a half months, 10 weeks – that’s all it’s been since she had her accident. Is that enough time to process that for the rest of her life she will be confined to a wheelchair? Is it enough time to understand how dependant she will be forever more on others for everything. Can she really have grasped the notion of her “new normal”? And how will she cope if or when she does? Or am I wrong, and she’s already moved past this? I do hope that’s the case.

There’s always Hope

There are many people we’ve met since this happened, some who have been injured or paralyzed themselves, some who practice in the field of SCI patients, and others who are related to, or know someone with paralysis – but one common thread in the conversation is you’ve gotta have HOPE! It’s the “Secret” – that life is a self fulfilling prophecy. If you believe and put your mind into a positive space you will achieve your goals. The doctors are not always right and have often been proven wrong by tenacious, strong minded, determined patients who overcome the odds and can now use their arms, use their hands or even walk!! We have hope for Tracy and I know she has the drive to prove all the textbooks wrong!

Gratitude

I realized that I have not said THANK YOU in my recent posts. I want you all to know how incredibly grateful we are for the generosity and compassion of everyone around us – friends, family and strangers. We can’t thank you enough for your: donations, your visits with Tracy, your support, your prayers, your notes, your calls, your willingness to pitch in and your caring. It is this positive energy that helps us all to keep going. We could NOT do it without you! Words don’t seem to express our enormous feelings of gratitude and appreciation. God Bless

Lynn

I want to send a shout out to my sister Lynn Pang. The oldest of the Dort girls. Lynn has moved to Toronto from St. Louis, given up her life to become the main caregiver for Tracy’s three boys. She has been cooking (so good!), caring, driving, nurturing, nursing and loving Tracy’s boys since the accident. She helps with homework, meets with teachers, organizes activities and plans ahead for all things kid- related. She has become their advocate and their protector. I don’t know what we’d do without her selflessness.Thank you Lynn! xo

Robert

I would be remiss if I also didn’t mention how much my wonderful husband – Robert Lendvai - has done to help Tracy. He’s the marketing genius/social media expert behind this website and her Twitter profile. He’s the one who set up the online donation mechanism, he’s become the finance manager, the car salesman, the PR/Media Manager, the go-to for all things fundraising. He has lifted me up on the bad days and cheered me on, on the good days. He’s always thinking about how he can help and what’s next on the list. I can’t thank him enough! How lucky I am. xo

– Tomorrow is a new day –

les :-)