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Apr
24,
2012

Lighting up the sky to remember a loved one

Featured in the photo is Dan Cooper with Nikki Ide.

Featured in the photo is Dan Cooper with Nikki Ide.

One small step can become a major movement that captures the imagination of a country, and that’s the hope of one mother who wants to inspire a nation to come together to remember the loss of a loved one.

I wrote about Nikki Ide just a few weeks ago. Nikki lost her daughter Gabrielle due to complications related to a congenital heart disease. She was only 5. In that article I encouraged everyone to take part in Gabrielle’s Ride on July 22, Oakville’s first and largest family cycling event. I’m proud to be the presenting sponsor for this important ride, which is raising funds for Cardiac Kids and the Pediatric Stroke Fund at The Sick Kids Foundation.

I continue to urge you to get out, spend a day with the family, get some exercise and help raise money for a great cause. But there is more to this story. Nikki’s hope is to have May 10 declared Canada’s National Grief Awareness Day. This day happens to be Gabrielle’s birthday – she would have been 7 this year – and while Nikki will be remembering her daughter, she asks that others join her on that day to make this a national day of remembering a loved one.

I have been so touched by this story that I am going beyond sponsoring Gabrielle’s Ride and will be presenting the Gabrielle’s Ride Exclusive Sponsorship Dinner at Gairloch Gardens Cottage on May 10. Guests will enjoy a gourmet dinner prepared by the renowned Kerr Street Cafe, enjoy beer by Cameron Breweries, wine with dinner, vodka by Tag Vodka, limousine service to and from the event, music supplied by DJ George Chaker and door prizes that will include an inclusive trip for four and a Bulova watch.

In addition, each guest will be provided with a unique paper floating lantern for the Remember Our Love Day celebration following dinner.

At that time, others are invited to join us and Nikki at Gairloch Garden’s at 8 p.m. when some special words will be shared and we will all let our lanterns float into the dark sky at 8:30 p.m. Lanterns will be available at a nominal cost for anyone who wants to participate. Proceeds will go to The Lighthouse for Grieving Children. If you would like to join Nikki for the ceremonial part at 8 p.m. or for more information, you can email her directly at nikki@gabriellesride.com. Nikki’s campaign to make this a national day of remembrance is being done in partnership with The Lighthouse for Grieving Children.

“Remember our Love Day is one of those creative ways for us to stay connected to Gabrielle and I wanted to share the experience with our community,” Nikki says. “The Lighthouse for Grieving Children and Dan Cooper loved the concept so much and have helped me to bring it all together and make it happen. The Lighthouse will be selling the floating lanterns and everyone in attendance will have an opportunity to connect with their loved ones by sending a lantern into the darkening sky and watch them illuminate as they lift into the night. My family has been using floating lanterns to express our love for Gabrielle since her death and it has been such a beautiful and meaningful experience. I can’t wait to share it with the community and watch the sky light up with love!”

Building a stronger community means supporting great causes like Gabrielle’s Ride and being engaged with worthy events such as Remember Our Love. The heart and soul of the community is due to the generosity, the caring and the giving of its residents. We enjoy one of the best communities in Canada – due to people like Nikki who remind us that there is more to living than having possessions. Our spiritual nurturing and charitable endeavours are what make us a stronger and better place in which to live.

I encourage all of you to give back to the community in any way you can; whether it is with money, time or both. And on May 10, float a paper lantern for a loved one and join me and my team for a day of family fun on July 22.

For more information about Remember Our Love Day and Gabrielle’s Ride visit http://www.gabriellesride.com.