The continent of Africa has helped me fall more deeply in love this year and I couldn’t possibly set up a romantic Valentine’s dinner without giving a nod to its guttural beauty and spirit. In February I worked with kids in Liberia with Right To Play Canada and then my husband raised money in August for Canada’s first blood cord bank by summiting Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Throughout the year, our kids’ school fundraised to build water wells in South Sudan.
When my second son was born, we paid to have his cord blood banked and frozen in case anyone in the family became ill and in need of stem cells. Most families don’t have the luxury of this high-priced service and without a donor, Canadians can lose their lives. Science has come so far, but Canada is the only G8 country that doesn’t have a national public cord blood program. Currently there are 1000 people awaiting a stem cell match. Canadian Blood Services has launched the Climb4Cord to help change that. At a pricetag of $48 million, it is no small undertaking. As I write, my husband Derek Amery is representing UrbanDaddies by climbing Kilimanjaro for a Canadian blood cord bank. The 25 climbers had a goal of raising $500,000 and they have thankfully surpassed their goal.