They are everywhere, aren’t they? As well they should be: those white boxes full of poppies to honour — more importantly, remember — the hundred of thousands of Canadians who fought to give you and me the “F” word Grandma and Grampa use over Sunday dinner with no hesitation: Freedom.
It’s also a heartfelt thank you to Canadian military members who are currently defending our country — perhaps, not on the same scale as both world wars, but still, nonetheless, serving. The very least we can do, as the sombre countdown to Remembrance Day comes closer by the second, is to buy a poppy.
But, if you are, hopefully, like me you want to do more to show your patriotism. Purchasing a poppy: a rich and sacred tradition to match the cooling November winds and snowstorms. As time marches on in our world, the need to create and support the Canadian military for generations to come is crucial. And then there’s the powerful story of Waurechen family which so beautifully illustrates my thesis, is colourfully knotted in a thread connecting to the David Foster Foundation.
Meet Tom Waurechen. By his own admission, the Cambridge, Ont. man was sick, very sick, in the early 2000’s. Sugar diabetes — the cruel cursor to kidney dialysis. An answer came in 2003 when Tom received a telephone call, and he thoughtfully recognized it as bittersweet. Someone did lose a family member. But their farewell on earth turned into a legacy, still today. Tom had a new start. With that, he treasured raising his two children and served 21 years in the Canadian military.
The CTV story about Tom is one to celebrate. While Tom received his double organ transplant as a young man, the DFF helps with expenses young families incur when they are navigating through their child’s organ transplant. And that, too, opens the door to unlimited potential for the youngsters.
Money, sadly, cannot buy everything — especially organ transplants. Figures used by us here at DFF are somewhat repetitive. Absolutely. For they drive the oh-so-important communication that the need is real. And for some families, life and death. That’s why we keep sharing numbers with you: a Statistics Canada report this year says more than 4,400 people are waiting for an organ transplant. The aging population is one reason why the waiting list is where it is, and, sadly growing. It’s estimated that only 34 percent of Canadians are organ donors.
For me, the 11th month of the year has always been bittersweet. The theatre of war is horrific … yet, such sacrifices are needed so we navigate the future — always a sight of promised beauty in our collective mind’s eye. We never know the Canadians like Tom Waurechen who answer the call to proudly wear the maple leaf to defend and protect us. We need more people like them. Who’s to say a child who has an organ transplant and is assisted by the DFF cannot be a future member of the Canadian army? That only happens if an organ is, indeed, available. Buying a poppy and signing a donor card: a uniquely Canadian way to salute past war heroes.
And create new ones.