Tuesday, October 17, 2006

There was not a dry eye in the room, even our speaker, Barbara Underhill shed a few tears as she shared her story. As she said herself, she'd experienced the highs of success as a skater and the depths of despair as a mother whose child had died in a bizarre accident.

Yet she used that tragedy to turn it into something positive - not just for herself - but for Canadian children. Through her work with the Stephanie Gaetz Foundation, children in Ontario have the opportunity to learn life-saving water skills, so that should an emergency occur, they know how to cope, and more importantly how to survive.

She's also found that when you give love, you get it back tenfold. Everyone was touched by her gesture of giving us each two angels. One for ourselves, and one to give to someone else who is hurting, and needs an angel.

Her other key message was around the importance of keeping your sense of humour, no matter what. When she showed the last clip of her skating with Paul Martini, just a few months after her daughter had died, you could see and appreciate the belly laughs, as she accidently pulled her partner's pants off during a skating routine. It was just what she needed, and it worked. It helped her turn a corner; to realize that life does go on.

While Barbara only talked with us for half an hour, she gave us a lot to think about and her message brought home the importance of relationships - family and friends. None of us lives in isolation, nor should we.

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