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Community: Paying it Forward

December 16, 2016

Shanni Eckford and Emily Lazare were the dedicated co-chairs of the 2016 Gift of Time Gala committee.  They are also successful local buisnesswomen and mothers. For them, supporting Canuck Place care is an important and personal cause.

Canuck Place struck a chord with Shanni five years ago when she witnessed firsthand the grief that her friends experienced after losing their 17-month old son. “I choose to support Canuck Place because it is so unique and impactful,” Shanni said. “This organization takes the most difficult of circumstances and works with families through an unimaginable time in their lives.”

Coming from a family of doctors, Emily has always been interested in medicine. A mother of four herself, she finds herself drawn to families. Her personal philosophy is to give back to the world when it gives you so much. “Every day we easily live our lives without thinking about families that are less fortunate than us,” Emily said. “Ever since I’ve been involved with Canuck Place, I’ve never been happier and I believe that my life is more balanced and rooted in giving.”

Shanni and Emily led a dedicated team of Gift of Time volunteer committee members that resulted in an incredibly successful night raising over $1.1 million for Canuck Place.

By starting within her community, Shanni has the opportunity to talk to her kids about what’s important and demonstrating it by helping others. “Canuck Place has become part of our family. Our kids raise funds through the Adventure Race and by collecting money on their birthdays to donate,” Shanni said. “They also love attending the Lighting of the House each December. They know that Canuck Place represents the love and compassion that we all need and that we all have to share.”

In the same way, Canuck Place is also a huge part of Emily’s family and, like Shanni, her children have become involved by donating their birthday money or attending Canuck Place events.

“In the years that I’ve gotten to know Canuck Place better, I’ve been able to witness all the amazing comfort and support that they can offer to a family that has been through one of the worst situations possible.” Emily said. “Canuck Place is so special and it’s something that’s so important to me, ever since I got involved, everything feels better in my life, so I want to keep that connection going.”

It is often said that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Shanni and Emily are living examples of the domino effect of community service:  inspiring others within their community, but also paving the way and setting an example for their children, and the next generation to do just the same.

Community is featured in 2016’s 12 Gratitudes. Follow along as we share joy and gratitude.

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