Twelve years ago, we lost the most incredible brother, son, friend, and teammate to a devastating tragedy. On this day, every year, he is celebrated, remembered, and honoured by all of those whose lives he touched - and let me tell you, there are many. Nick meant so much to so many people:
His life was so full of colour, his soul overflowed with light and his heart radiated love. My best friend, partner in crime, unconditional love and greatest gift - his smile was infectious and his curiosity intoxicating. The light he brought to every room never went unnoticed. His passion for adventure, the game of hockey, his loved ones, and his life was endless. Brave right up until the very end, he will forever be remembered as the rare, special kind of person that so effortlessly replaced darkness with the brightest light you could imagine. Not a day goes by that Nick isn’t in my heart and in my mind. We love him and miss him beyond words.
Losing my brother turned my life upside down and my grief journey has been anything but linear. It’s been heartbreaking, isolating and lonely, filled with anger, sadness, jealousy, anxiety, and every emotion in between. Even more so, I’ve become intimately familiar with how short life really is.
Throughout the years I have felt compelled to try my best to use my own experiences to help others going through similar journeys. A year ago, I was approached to be a part of the founding team that now makes up The Nightingale Centre for Grieving Children, Youth and Families.
Today, we are about a week away from our first event, and will be opening our doors to the Guelph-Wellington community at the end of this month. We can never anticipate what is going to be for the better when loss first occurs, or how we will become empowered by our experiences - but I know for sure that being a part of the development of The Nightingale Centre has allowed me to fuel my own capacity for resilience.
Even after he was gone, Nick gave back in so many ways. From $30,000 donated to the SickKids Trauma Unit, to promoting helmets and safe play on outdoor rinks, to giving the greatest gift of all - the gift of life - and so much more. I am dedicating this fundraiser to my brother’s incredible, beautiful life and legacy.
As a bereaved teenager, I quickly realized the lack of peer and professional support that was available to me. The Nightingale Centre is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing grief and bereavement support to children, youth and their families, while building a community of courage, hope and resilience. The one thing we can control for sure as we move forward in our grief is how we remember and keep the memories of our loved ones alive. In honour and memory of Nick, all money raised will go towards The Nightingale Centre,
so that the children and teenagers who walk through our doors never have to feel as isolated as I once did. Whether you are going through it or bearing witness to it, we have all been affected by grief and loss, or will be affected by it at some point in our lives.
For those who may not be familiar, the number 12 has been significant in Nick's story. To signify the 12th Anniversary of his death, I will be running this campaign for 12 days with a goal of raising $1200 in his name.
Today, and in the days that follow, I ask you to keep Nick’s memory alive in your hearts and in everything you do. I know I will be. Your continued love and support is so, so appreciated. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
As a non profit organization that does not receive government funding, The Nightingale Centre for Grieving Children, Youth and Families relies on the generosity of donors and fundraising to provide children with the support they need at [absolutely no cost to their families]. The funds raised for The Nightingale Centre will help children and families get the clinical programs, psychoeducational workshops and community events they need to make it through one of the most difficult times in their lives:The Nightingale Centre’s upcoming formal, manualized bereavement programs
These include the Family Bereavement Program (FBP) and the Youth Bereavement Program (YNP)Ongoing clinical programs
Including various grief groups, individual counselling, psychoeducational events/workshops and outreach programsDevelopment of community presence