We did it. We actually did it. This past week, we raised more than $5200 for my dear friends Ange and Ryan, whose home was devastated by the Calgary flood on Friday, June 21st.
With only a 30-minute evacuation notice given, Ange and Ryan were forced to pack up their two young daughters and flee their home as the sewers backed up and the river raged just a few blocks away. Most streets were dry when they left, but less than 24hours later, they had murky, hazardous water up to the ceiling in their basement. Wedding albums…children’s clothes and toys…textbooks…washer…dryer…basement fridge…furnace…hot water tank…all ruined beyond repair. Their lives will forever be defined as ‘before the flood’ and ‘after the flood’.
As you’ve undoubtedly seen in the media, Calgary has rallied together and gone into crisis-mode. What you may not have seen, is the emotional toll the flood has taken on so many lives. Because along with the flood waters comes a feeling of powerlessness. Along with the cleanup comes feelings of shock and despair. Along with the rebuild comes feelings of sadness and loss.
This has been an emotional week for me. Ange is one of my closest friends- she was the first person I met when I moved to Toronto, she was a bridesmaid in my wedding, she is my confidante, my listening ear, my sounding board. The Sunnyside neighborhood in which she lives is also near and dear to my heart- it’s where I lived for three of my University years, where I began to figure out my life’s path, where I connect to when I think of Calgary. I’ve lived in Ontario for a decade, but I’ll always be an Albertan at heart.
To see pictures of my friends rolling up their sleeves to help haul mud out of Ange’s basement, water-logged garbage to the curb, and insurance-claim items to the backyard has made me feel far away and helpless. I want to be there to take her kids to the park. I want to be there to deliver meals. I want to be there to help. And since I cannot, the next best thing is to send money to help.
I set up a fundraising campaign online last Tuesday afternoon, and for the next 72 hours I could think of little else. And as the money poured in, I began to feel a bit less helpless and a bit more helpful. To the more than 70 people who generously donated, I hope you felt that too. I hope you felt the difference you were making. I hope you felt the power of coming together. I hope you felt the appreciation, the gratitude, the all-encompassing thankfulness.
On Friday afternoon, as the donations continued to roll in and we exceeded our $5000 target, I began to cry. It was a complete shoulders-heaving, breath-catching, tears-streaming ‘ugly cry’. Because we did it. And even more than the money, much more than the money, we showed Ange and Ryan that they are loved and supported during this disaster.
They will rebuild, and we’ve helped them start.
***If you want to make a donation, please click here.