A person’s wallet can say a lot about someone. Stuffed with credit cards, rewards cards and old receipts of course. But, often, hidden gems like photos are found within the layers of paper and plastic of everyday life.
Meet Laura. Teacher, Mom, Hiker and Volunteer.
On a beautiful sunny day in July, Laura Poirier reached into her wallet and pulled out three high-school photos of her son Mitch. He is handsome, has curly dark hair and a bright smile. His whole life ahead of him. It would only be months after the last photograph was taken that Mitch would start experiencing severe symptoms of colon cancer. It also began a long journey of treatments in both Canada and in the USA, major surgery, a remission, and a year of studying science at Wilfried Laurier University.
His family and friends were right next to him through all of it. And, the community was there for him too, raising significant funds to pay for specialized treatment in Arizona.
It has been 8 years since Mitch died at Sakura House at only 20 years old. Every year, Laura continues to hike and raise funds in honour of Mitch as part of the team “Mitch’s Journey”. The team has gotten smaller over the years but Laura remains compelled to hike, even if it is just herself and a family member or friend because: “I believe in it and I understand Sakura’s value in a big way.”
Remembering back to the 20 hours they spent at Sakura House with Mitch, Laura said she “couldn’t get over how beautiful Sakura House was. They looked after needs we didn’t even knew we had. The staff and volunteers have the hugest hearts and they just know what to say.”
Laura also began volunteering as a Personal Care Assistant at Sakura House six months after Mitch died and has never stopped. “I desperately wanted to volunteer. I wasn’t worried about not being able to do it. I feel like it was part of my healing therapy. It offers something you can’t get anywhere else. I get more than I give.”
While we are grateful that we were there for Mitch, Laura and their family when they needed us, we are forever grateful to Laura for her commitment as a hiker and volunteer. Thank you Laura for for sharing your family’s story with us, and for continuing to care for our community.
If you would like to hike with us on September 21st at our Hike for Hospice, please register or donate here: http://support.von.ca/hikeforhospice