Today’s column is dedicated to the spirit of River East.
What brought this to mind so strongly was my participation in the Laps For Life Fun Run/Walk that took place at Kildonan Park on April 27th, 2013.
The event was organized in support of two Manitoba families whose young children are fighting Late Infantile Batten Disease, a rare degenerative neurological condition that presently has no cure. The purpose was to raise funds to help these families provide the unique supports necessary to live a fuller life right in their homes.
The Gairs, who live in River East are one of those families. Their daughter, Mackenzie, attends preschool at Emerson Elementary.
Laps For Life was organized by Jody Zarn, a motivated and motivating bundle of energy with an enormous heart. She grew up near Elkhorn, Man., a small community where neighbours banded together to help and support each other through difficult times. When she heard what these families were experiencing, she said, "we can’t take the disease away, but we can help."
In partnership with The Running Room, Jody enlisted the support of the Emerson Elementary team of Ms. Renee and Ms. Darcy, who run the River East Scholars Nursery School. And what a great job they did!
It was a moving sight to see hundreds from our community out to support the Gairs. It was especially gratifying to see so many young families participate.
While a few tears flowed naturally, the mood was one of celebration and of a community coming together with love and joy in their hearts. It made one think that by harnessing that combined energy and sense of caring anything might be possible to achieve.
My family has lived with pride in River East for almost 40 years. In the 27 years I have been your representative in the Manitoba Legislature, we have joined together countless times on special events and grassroots projects that continue to shape and define our community. I could not have been more proud to be a part of this great community than I was at the Laps for Life event.
Being there reminded us all that while we build with hammer and nails, we also build our community with love, caring and service to others. Thanks to Jody, the staff, parents and students of Emerson Elementary, The Running Room, and all those in the community that came out to volunteer, walk/run and to support the Gairs and Mackenzie.