Help Tracy Keep His Home
From Homeless to Thriving
Help Tracy Keep his Home
Help Tracy Keep Paying it Forward
Tracy’s perfected the pay it forward movement - whatever he lives through and overcomes he instantly gets to work helping others do the same with acts of kindness, giving encouragement, and sharing his great wealth of knowledge.
Now he needs our help. Due to lack of any government funding for even his basic needs Tracy is fighting to pay his mortgage, his monthly $600 prescription bill, and currently is going without glasses.
Two years ago Tracy Cook fell while working at a client's home and broke his neck. As a result Tracy is a paraplegic and his only income is a small CPP cheque, which barely covers his mortgage. Tracy’s done all he can do and needs your help to keep his house and independence.
Hey there! Thanks for stopping by to read about our campaign to help Tracy Cook. As you read about Tracy’s story we’re sure you’ll also get strength to keep going regardless of what struggles you’re going through.
Who We Are
We’re Melissa and Koralee. We’ve been friends for 32-years and since our first meeting we’ve engaged in various projects, but Helping Tracy is the most important.
In early 2000 we had the opportunity to work with this fascinating man at the George Spady Centre. For those not familiar with it, The George Spady Centre Shelter and Detox Programs provide a supervised environment for men and women who are under the influence of alcohol or other drugs and require assistance in stabilizing their condition. The majority of clients are homeless.
Since then Tracy, who was one of our supervisors, has continued to give us strength and inspiration in all aspects of our lives - now more than ever.
But it’s important to note that Tracy hasn’t only profoundly affected our lives but hundreds of others in the inner city of Edmonton as well.
Since his accident, Tracy has done all he can do and now he needs our help. We’re confident you’ll want to join our cause and help him too once you learn about him; particularly what he stands for and the trials he’s faced and overcome.
When you donate to our cause you won’t only be helping Tracy but hundreds of others who Tracy will help when he pays it forward (like he always does).
How you can Help Tracy
We’re raising money to help pay off Tracy’s mortgage and the money will go directly to him so he can stay in his home and focus on:
* Walking again
*Helping people who need to overcome issues stronger than themselves
*Speaking publicly to give encouragement to other victims of spinal cord injuries as they leave the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital
*Making Edmonton more mobility friendly to individuals with spinal cord injuries
*Working with his hands again - Tracy can still work, but needs modifications to his carpentry and cabinet making business.
The above is only a short list of all the things Tracy will accomplish with your help.
About Tracy Cook
How Tracy has lived his life can be summarized in a picture that hangs in his kitchen:
“Priorities: We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give. “
Tracy Before His Accident
In the late 1970s to mid 1980s Tracy suffered from alcoholism and after he lost everything including his family, Tracy ended up living on the streets of Calgary and stayed there for a decade.
After resolving to change his life Tracy left the streets and quit drinking. After an intensive recovery process he moved to Edmonton and got a job at the Georgy Spady Centre where he became a supervisor.
Tracy chose this position because it was the environment where he knew he could make a significant impact in the lives of others in a similar situation to his own. Tracy stayed at the Spady for 15 years.
The Symbolism of Tracy’s Home
After a few years Tracy was able to buy a home. When he put the down payment on his house it was something tangible to show how far he’d come in such a short amount of time.
A carpenter by trade Tracy wanted to return to creating with his hands. He left the Spady for a position with the Edmonton Inner City Housing Authority. After a few years he wanted to start his own business doing what he loves - and it paid off.
His business flourished and he lined up 2 years worth of projects because of his reputation for stellar work and reliability.
For both the City of Edmonton position and his own business Tracy hired clients from the Spady knowing that their addictions wouldn’t make them ideal employees.
But having a firm understanding of what their life is like and being able to see what they could become if given the opportunity, Tracy gave them a non-judgmental environment to earn an income - and never gave up on them.
One day the unthinkable happened, and Tracy fell from a ladder in a freak accident in the bathroom of a client’s home and broke his neck.
After his accident Tracy was told he would never walk again. His attitude in response to this diagnosis was that no one could tell him he couldn’t do something. He was determined to walk again and even went on a trial drug. The drug shut down his kidneys and he almost died - but that didn’t stop him.
After grueling hours of pain, trial and error Tracy was able to walk again for short periods with a mobility device.
Tracy Following His Accident
Abandoned by most of his friends, Tracy arrived home from the hospital determined once again to create a new life.
Tracy assumed there would be government financing available for him to help him create and thrive in his new life; But he soon discovered that reality showed a different picture. Tracy doesn’t qualify for funding because he owns his own home even though it’s not paid for.
To qualify for funding Tracy has to sell his house, tools and essentially become homeless again without a means to support himself. A natural fighter he doesn’t want to do this. He knows there’s a better way, but he continually faces road blocks.
Tracy does what he can financially. Tracy actively looks for work both through companies and clients; and he rents out rooms in his house to help cover his costs. But this comes with its own challenges. Sometimes tenants cost more than their rent and leave Tracy vulnerable to being taken advantage of.
Tracy has a strong family support system who love him, but they’re not able to help him financially.
Tracy prepared for the future when he started his business and purchased mortgage and disability insurance in case something like this happened.
His mortgage insurance has run out (it only lasted two years) and he hasn’t gotten a cent from his disability insurance policy.
Tracy has an amazing inner strength, great sense of humor; he’s also intelligent, humble and full of wisdom.
Tracy used to quote the title of a book for advice:
“Don’t sweat the small stuff, and it’s all small stuff (emphasis added). We’re sure that what Tracy’s sweating now must feel like it’s going to consume him; but with your help, we can make his ‘stuff’ small again.
Tracy continues to help individuals from the inner city giving them odd jobs he can’t do himself; he speaks to patients at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital when they’re ready to leave the hospital. He’s actively involved with the Spinal Cord Injury Alberta, and plays wheelchair Rugby.
Tracy sees a lot of problems with wheelchair access in the City and has great ideas to tackle the problem.
Tracy has based his life on paying it forward and now he needs it to come back for him. Tracy’s done all he can do, now he needs help.
Please Help Tracy Keep his Home
Although Tracy isn’t one to wallow in self pity it’s becoming blatantly obvious how much of a toil the stress of facing life without his home, and not being able to support himself is taking on him.
There’s still a lot more Tracy can do to help others. But if he has to sell his house and tools it will kill him. Not physically, but emotionally - taking everything away from him and leaving him vulnerable is not going to help anyone.
Melissa moved in with Tracy about a month after he was released from the Glenrose Rehabilitation Centre because his common law spouse decided his disability was more than she could handle.
For two years Melissa has lived with Tracy paying him rent and keeping up with homemaking chores. She’s married and plans to join her husband in California, but she doesn’t want to leave until she knows Tracy is okay.
Tracy’s losing hope in others and losing faith in himself to rise above this challenge; and it’s heartbreaking for us to watch.
Koralee moved in with Tracy temporarily to assist with rent in December 2016, and will stay to help promote and support our cause. My faith in you is strong and unwaivering. I know how amazing Albertans and Canadians are. I know you’ll support Tracy - because we’re tenacious fighters who love to see others in worse situations than ourselves succeed.
The other day when talking about his dog in reference to whether he could have a treat Tracy said with a smile “Sure, you have to give him hope every so often.”
This is what we want to give Tracy - HOPE
Thanks for reading our cause and please Help Spread the Word! Together we can give Tracy back his life so he can continue paying it forward. We know he will do amazing things to help every cause he chooses to join in the future.