The American labour leader Cesar Chavez said, “We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and progress and prosperity for our community… our ambitions must include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.”
Over the past few weeks, Squamish residents have demonstrated their commitment to others around us in spades.
The response to the situation first reported in a Chief article (“Food bank donations urged”) on Aug. 23 has been nothing short of overwhelming — a “Back to School Food Drive” that raised a truckload of food as well as some cash; a marked increase in donations at Squamish’s grocery stores; and this past weekend, a group that included representatives of Squamish’s Sikh community, Baha’i, Christian and Mormon faith communities pulled together to haul in more than 7,500 pounds of food to support the approximately 400 locals who rely on the Squamish Food Bank’s twice-monthly distributions to make ends meet.
That commitment to community has also manifested itself over the past few months in the compassionate response to the medical and financial hardships faced by the families of young Theo Lazaridis, Lina Palethorpe and Jasmine Blake.
This month is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in Canada, and with three families Squamish has ample reason to be aware and involved in lending a hand and helping to find a cure. Little Theo — knock on wood — is currently in remission after having spent several months at B.C. Children’s Hospital being treated for a rare form of leukemia. Jasmine, age 5, became severely ill in March and has undergone surgery and ongoing treatments both in B.C. and in Boston. “Baby Lina,” as she’s known around Squamish, has just come through surgery to have a most of a tumour that was lodged next to her spine removed. Her mom, Kati, says the initial pathology report on the surgery’s aftermath was good news. Here’s to lots more of that, eh?
Monetary support — to pay for travel, wages lost because of the need to spend time away from work, and perhaps expensive drugs and treatments — is but one way to show you care. But the warm embrace shown to the Palethorpes, Lazaridises and Blakes over the past few months is of even greater value and further demonstration of our commitment to community.
— David Burke