Welland teen creates SUP fundraiser for friends

An incredible story from a Welland teen, reprinted from the source, http://niagara.sportsxpress.ca/featured/welland-teen-creates-sup-fundraiser-for-friends/

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My name is Madeline Leblanc, and I am here to tell you the story of a personal fundraiser I created at age 17 in honour of two friends I lost to cancer. Ever since I was ten I had always wanted a stand up paddleboard. I got to try it out once on Lake Huron and fell in love. As I continued saving years passed, and in 2011 I lost two friends of mine due to cancer. On March 13th Lynn Lambert who was a high school teacher at Centennial and also my next-door neighbor passed away at 37.  Julia Turner was 15 years old when she passed from a brain tumor on December 23rd that same year. Julia went to my high school Notre Dame, and I got to know her through my grade nine-drama class.

Ever since their passing I wanted to do something to honour their wonderful lives. They both taught not only me but also all of Welland to treasure every moment of your life, and dedicate yourself to helping others when you can. They were amazing role models and deserve to be remembered. Finally in 2012 my family and I had enough money to buy a SUP board, and got it on Christmas morning that year. It was the best surprise ever! I began to take my board out frequently to the Welland Canal and have enjoyed paddling ever since. One summer day in 2013 when I was paddling, the idea of creating a SUP fundraiser just popped into my head. I started thinking about how I could turn this dream into reality. In February of 2014 I called the City of Welland Mayors Office, and spoke with Barry Sharpe about my idea of paddling 10km down the Welland Canal to raise funds for brain cancer research in honour of Julia and Lynn. He said it was an amazing idea, and from there I spoke with the Welland Recreational Canal Corp. to get the fundraiser up and running. I decided to call it ‘On Board’ because so many people were on board with my idea.

Now that On Board was official I started getting sponsors, creating t-shirts and spreading the word all around Welland about my fundraiser. My friends and family were truly remarkable and supported me the whole time. On Thursday July 10th 2014 I paddled 10km down the Welland Canal and raised over $4000 for brain cancer research with the Canadian Cancer Society. It was a fun filled day with free SUP demos hosted by Ausmosis Board Works (one of my sponsors) and over 100 people who came and waited for me at the end of the canal to come watch me finish. The atmosphere was indescribable, because I could not believe all of the people who came to support my ride, but also to celebrate the lives of Julia and Lynn. When they passed I never got a chance to say goodbye, and On Board for me felt like the perfect way to say just that.

With such a successful year I have decided to host On Board again this summer on Thursday July 23rd 2015. The event will be similar to last year, however I am inviting anyone who would like to come out and paddle with me 10km down the Welland Canal in honour of Julia and Lynn. My returning sponsors are Ausmosis Board Works, Impact Promotions Niagara, and Miss Dars School of Dance. My new sponsors are Surf the Greats, Proteus Clothing Co., Vesuvius Canada and Brailey&Chambers Bookkeeping Services. I am looking forward to another fun day of paddling and I hope you can join me!

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Photo by Anthony Gallaccio

Save our Hospital Fundraiser a huge success

On Thursday, March 26, Save the Welland Hospital held a fundraising dinner and had over 150 people in attendance. Natalie Mehra, Executive Director of the Ontario Health Coalition, underlined the importance in everyone supporting the Save the Welland Hospital campaign. The dinner was catered by Blue Star and was held at Royal Canadian Legion Branch 4 on Morningstar Ave.

An ongoing petition to keep the hospital open already has 6,000 signatures, and organizers are aiming to hit 10,000 in total before presenting it to Queen’s Park.

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Photos by Kurtis McCartney

Dan Gheesling visits Niagara College

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Dan Gheesling, Season 10 winner of the show Big Brother, paid a visit Thursday evening to Niagara College, presented by NC SAC and the Centre for Student Engagement and Leadership. Speaking to a packed auditorium of students staff and community leaders, Dan led a fascinating motivational speech that engaged the audience to the very end.

Before Big Brother, Dan was the youngest college football coach in American history at age 21. He used real-world experiences and humour to showcase 6 skills every leader has and outlined simple ways to utilize these skills in everyday experiences.

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Takeaways from each point:

#1. Ask ten questions before talking about yourself. Avoid yes or no questions or inserting your own stories when he/she responds.

#2. Remember names. Ask follow up questions to people based on past conversations. Remember details people mention that may seem unimportant and bring them up later. Listen to their response and be genuine.

#3. Always be available, even in the middle of the night. You may only get a late-night call once a year, but when you do it’s because that person trusts you and may not have anyone else to talk to. Being available to help is what leaders do.

#4.  Leaders must never gossip, even though followers will gossip to you. When this happens, compliment and redirect. Compliment the subject of the gossip, and redirect your attention to the gossiper. Ask how you can help them.

#5. Treat everyone the same whether they are the janitor or CEO. ‘Feeding’ everyone first may seem like a very small gesture, but allowing others to go ahead of you is something people will remember for a long time.

#6. He who says he can and he who says he can’t are both usually right.

2015 Jake Hughes Memorial Benefit announced

The 3rd Annual Jake Hughes Memorial Benefit will take place on Friday, May 22, 2015. An annual charity event in honour of Jake Hughes, it has given back over $30,000 to the community since its inception.

Building upon the success of the first 2 events, this evening will feature live music by Recording artist STREET PHARMACY fresh off their release of Pharmanomics as well as southern Ontario’s modern rock cover acts STONE THE RADIO who are the Toronto Blue Jays House band. Wrap this together with DJ Rob Kalmar of Ignite Entertainment playing some of the greatest party tunes.

Community Charities that have been supported by the Jake Hughes Benefit:

  • HELP A CHILD SMILE
  • WELLAND HUMANE SOCIETY
  • WELLAND SPECIAL OLYMPICS
  • CANCER IN MEMORY OF ROBIN LOWES
  • NOTRE DAME BURSARIES
  • JULIA’S HOPE CUP
  • MOVEMBER
  • NOTRE DAME BREAKFAST CLUB
  • HOPE CENTRE
  • BIG BROTHERS AND SISTERS
  • CHILDLINE
  • NICARAGUA SCHOOL
  • OPEN ARMS MISSION

Tickets: $20 (includes food, entertainment and a chance to win great prizes including a $1500 travel voucher with luggage set)

Friday, May 22, 2015

Riverstone Event Centre

Welland, ON

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More info: http://www.jakehughesbenefit.com/

Calling all Welland bands!

The Welland Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council’s (MYAC) annual skatepark fundraiser, ROCK HARD RIDE HARD is being held on May 2, 2015 at 2 p.m. and they need your help!

Band Application deadlines for Rock Hard Ride Hard are quickly approaching (April 1)!

The successful candidates will receive $100 remuneration and tons of exposure for a great cause!

Contact MYAC on Facebook for details or an application: www.facebook.com/WellandMYAC/