Do you know a hero in our community? You may know them as your neighbour, a volunteer in your child’s school, a support person at Grace Hospital or a pillar of strength at your local church. Heroes can be very good at disguising themselves, so you might have to look very carefully before discovering one.
I’m honoured to know a hero. I have known Laura since Grade 10. We met on the first day of high school at John Taylor Collegiate. Fast forward 33 years and you will see a close-knit group of five friends who have remained tight since graduation. But since my dear friend Laura was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia a little more than a year ago, our friendship has deepened to an entirely new level.
Not only has Laura had to endure gruelling chemo and other treatments, but she has also seen her marriage of more than 25 years crumble and her bank accounts virtually disappear during her struggle.
But she refuses to allow you to feel sorry for her when you are in her presence. Throughout this crazy path that she is travelling on right now, I have always had the pleasure of her smile and relish listening to her hearty laughter.
Unfortunately, we all know someone who has had to deal with life’s cruelties. Both of my parents and my husband have had this insane card dealt to them as well and have also handled it grace and strength. But watching a friend — someone your own age fighting their biggest fight against all odds — changes something inside you.
I call Laura my hero because not once has she put herself first or played the martyr. She has never stopped volunteering, even when she has hit the wall of exhaustion. I have always had a thoughtful birthday card or a word of support from Laura when my own life has hit a speed bump. I often forget her struggle because she wants it that way.
I think heroes are often unsung and I am asking the fine citizens of Silver Heights to look to their left and to their right, and tell me about their own hero. And no, your story doesn’t have to be as deep as the one I have shared with you.
Quite often that special person can be standing right in front of us and we just need to take a minute to recognize and celebrate them. All too often our lives can be speeding by and at the end of the day; we tell ourselves that we should have acknowledged someone’s kindness and efforts.
Now is the time to do it! Send your stories to me at email@example.com and let’s celebrate our neighbours and friends in Silver Heights! And don’t forget our local fire, police and paramedic stations if you have had experiences with them. We can all be heroes!
Virginia Sperl is a Silver Heights-based writer.
Neighbourhood Forum is a readers’ column. If you live in The Metro area and would like to contribute to this column, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.