Inspired by Betty Londergan's What Gives 365 and the Bible (not necessarily in that order!), I'm giving away $250 a week in 2011.

This is where I'm recording that journey, and I hope you'll come along for the ride.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Yet again, it all comes together. I was late with the blog this week -- forgot about it completely in the busyness of yesterday -- but then writing it today worked out to be even better.

My intention was for this week's donation to go to the Broadbent Institute, a new think tank dedicated to social democracy. Not exactly a cause suggested by others (it is the 4th Friday of the month after all), but by Jack Layton's death this week. (His family asked that donations in his honour be directed towards strengthening the work of the Institute). As we were unpacking boxes this afternoon, I uncharacteristically turned on the television, looking for some Saturday afternoon distraction, and stumbled upon the live feed of Jack Layton's funeral. Not only did it jog my memory about doing the blog, but it affirmed this week's choice and gave me the privilege of basking in Jack Layton's presence one final time.

For my dear readers not in Canada (or living under a rock), Jack Layton was a determined and inspiring social democratic politician, the leader of Canada's official Opposition, elected to that post just in May 2011. You can read about his legacy here and watch his diverse funeral service (complete with a eulogy by Stephen Lewis and the Parachute Club singing 'Rise Up') here. I feel as though I can't write any more here than has already been written about him in tribute. I will say that I was blindsided by how hard his death has shaken me -- someone he'd never met or influenced directly. How much more so the countless others whose lives he touched more personally! The sketch of his face as the full page cover story in the Globe and Mail took my breath away unexpectedly in the grocery store. (I couldn't find a link to it on-line, but love the photo of this impromptu memorial in chalk at Nathan Phillips Square.)

It seems most fitting today therefore to fill this space not with my words, but with his. So it is my honour to reprint an excerpt from Jack Layton's final letter to Canadians, crafted with great care less than 48 hours before his death:

Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world. We can be a better one – a country of greater equality, justice, and opportunity. We can build a prosperous economy and a society that shares its benefits more fairly. We can look after our seniors. We can offer better futures for our children. We can do our part to save the world’s environment. We can restore our good name in the world. We can do all of these things because we finally have a party system at the national level where there are real choices; where your vote matters; where working for change can actually bring about change. In the months and years to come, New Democrats will put a compelling new alternative to you. My colleagues in our party are an impressive, committed team. Give them a careful hearing; consider the alternatives; and consider that we can be a better, fairer, more equal country by working together. Don’t let them tell you it can’t be done.
My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.


  1. Hello,

    I love the concept of what your doing here, You sound pretty amazing.

    I am writing to you today for a personal request if i may, I am taking part in a 13,000ft Skydive to raise money for the Spinal Injuries Association who is a user led organisation in the UK who work with Spinal Cord Injured people from the day of there injury and for the rest of there lives, the support for my Skydive has been truly heart-warming, mainly due to meeting people who have been affected by life changing injuries. The circumstances are often indiscriminate but the determination seen in many of the individuals we are supporting is humbling.

    My main focus is to raise awareness of Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI) and how they affect not only the injured but also the lives of there friends and family, would you please help me to connect to more people by reposting my website link, The more people I can educate about SCI the easier there lives will become.

    My website is: http://www.justgiving.com/didshefallorwasshepushed

    My Personal E-mai is: MGray579@gmail.com

    I Sincerely hope that you are in a position to consider this request and i look forward very much to speaking with you in the near future.

    Please, if i can return the favour or help you raise awareness of a cause close to your heart please do not hesitate to contact me on the details above.

    God Bless,

    Michelle Gray
    Milton Keynes

    (+44) 07989255650

    September 1, 2011 10:36 AM

  2. How exciting, Michelle! Thanks for the encouragement -- I hope that others here see your link and that you surpass your fundraising target. Stay safe on the jump and have a ton of fun!!