What is courage?
Is it an inherited trait some people are born with so when they come across situations — some life-threatening — they reach into their own tool box, feeling around for the proper tool to navigate them through their circumstance?
Is it something that we learn after an accident, a stroke, a medical condition or a freak act of nature which forces us to subscribe to a courage course where you individualize the lessons you learn?
Is it something you share with those who need it the most, cheerleading, encouraging and uttering those words when even you feel there isn’t any more left it your tank: “Come one. One more try. You can do this?”
“All of the above,” perhaps, is a much too flip answer to such a serious question. But that’s the verdict the Glenrose Courage Foundation inspired and blessed SHAW conference centre with Friday.
A jam-packed banquet celebrated but also embraced the chance to make a financial investment into a state-of-the art piece of technology, to give patients the best possible opportunity and to push the play button again on their lives.
The Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital borders the north side of 111 Avenue, on 103 Street. Its tall white pillars demonstrate the resolve of courage of three amazing communities: patients, their families and the Glenrose staff. Within those walls, countless stories have unfolded of patients who have had their lives turned upside down and have triumphantly walked or wheeled out through the sliding doors on the south side of Glenrose.
We heard some of those incredible stories Friday night: we heard about Vicky, a new Canadian who sustained a spinal cord injury shortly after she came to Canada from the Philippines, and the Glenrose helped her through her focusing on her new dreams.
There is Tristan, a 13-year-old who has cerebral palsy and is in Grade 7 but his unique sense of humour will certainly assist him to do great things in the future; Ryan, who had a farming accident, but is determined to return to the world of farming; Lana, who had a motor vehicle accident but, thanks to the Glenrose, has new dreams; and Emma, who was a Second World War refugee and, at 86, has had two stays in the Glenrose, inspiring all those around there.
Now meet Richard and his wife Heather. Richard loves cycling but a crash a few years ago put his life in balance. Richard went to the Glenrose and, together with Heather and Glenrose staff, we got to see Richard Friday night as he walked with his walker onstage accompanied by Heather to tell their story.
Cue standing ovation.
It’s everywhere, isn’t it? We may not feel we have courage but, indeed, we do.
Courage can take us anywhere. It can make us anyone we want to be. It can engage the ones we love who help us, showing their own courage.
The Glenrose is a shrine of courage. We saw that clearly Friday and couldn’t help but leave the event feeling incredibly courageous.
THE CLICK OF COURAGE: RICHARD AND HEATHER