Thanksgiving, for the past 15 years, has been a particularly poignant holiday for me.  I remember, with deep gratitude, bringing home my healthy baby boy from London Ontario’s Children’s Hospital, following two surgeries that saved his life.

My son was born with Hirschprung’s Disease, a congenital colon disorder that affects 1/5000 births.  Many doctors can go through an entire practice without seeing a case, and so it took several weeks for us to obtain a diagosis.   I returned again and again to my doctor and to the local hospital pleading with them to acknowledge that ‘something’ was wrong with my baby.   Eventually we presented with a baby that had an abdomen so swollen he looked like a Thanksgiving turkey.

It was a frightening time for me, as a new mom, and even though the diagnostic process took longer than it could have, I remain exceptionally grateful for the amazing medical system we have in Canada.  A couple of weeks later, I took home a healthy baby boy.

He would require two more corrective surgeries in the months to come, but would live to become the healthy, vibrant teenager he is today.  So, this time of year always reminds me of just how fortunate I am.

The past couple of weeks I’ve been meeting with the mom of one of my son’s friends who is originally from Nepal.  When she was living in the village of her birth, at the age of 11 she witnessed the death of a young mom and her baby when they couldn’t get to medical care quickly enough.  It’s something that happens all over the world, every day.  Where Kamala grew up, it’s a bumpy full day busride to get to Katmandu, where the nearest hospital is.

I’m currently consulting with Kamala to assist her in creating a strategic plan to realize her dream of creating a medical centre in her village of Hiley Chaubas in the Kabre Palanchouk District of Nepal.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see this bare piece of land that she now owns:

….give birth to a full fledged hospital?

You’ll likely hear more about this vision as I work with Kamala to develop a plan to realize her dream.

My dream is that my healthy son and I continue to join together to give back to those who haven’t been as blessed as we are in this amazing country we live in.  Whether it’s serving up potatoes on Vancouver’s DTES at the monthly SPUD gathering, or fundraising for global projects, this is my hope and my dream for part of my leadership journey with my son.

A good friend of mine reminded me this week, when she posted this thought to her Facebook status, that a we transition from the season of bbq’s and sangria, we enter the season of Thanks and Caring and Giving.  That deeply resonates with me.

I have much to give thanks for:  a healthy family (my mom too, has benefited from our somewhat flawed, but still functioning medical system the past couple years as she overcame a significant kidney ailment and breast cancer), an amazing husband, engaging work, a lovely home, a yacht (that takes us to some of the most beautiful places on the planet), an opportunity to provide my son with incredible educational options, my own educational journey, a wide circle of inspiring and caring friends, a really cool dog.  My list goes on and on for what I am grateful for and giving thanks for this Thanksgiving weekend.

And as we enter what I often feel is the ‘silly season’ with the lure of excessive consumption pulling at us from every direction, my reminder to myself is to Give.  Give generously and often and wisely, for there are just about as many opportunities to Give these days as there are to consume.

I’d love to know – where are you Giving, and Why?

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