Tommy, Melanie, the 2 pet rats and 9 other students from St. Mark's were invited to Algonquin College for a presentation, a rat race and a demonstration of the hand drum circle.
It was amazing !!!!! Standing ovation !!!!!!!!!!
The drum circle lead by Tommy started at St. Mark during lunchtime for students with disabilities and without. The group has been practicing together once a month. They are continuously creating new ideas. They now have some dancing and singing during the drum circle. Wow!
United Way Award
What a surprise! Tommy received a Community Building Award. Dylan Black was the award presenter from Boom 99.7
Tommy's name will be inscribed on the Wall of Inspiration located in Jean Pigott Hall at Ottawa City Hall. The Wall of Inspiration is a visible reminder to residents and visitors of the enduring commitment that these individuals and organizations have made to Ottawa.
Way to go Tommy and Melanie!!!!! Way to go Drum Circle Group...you were really great...BCNU soon...squeak!
Tommy was chosen as the Manotick Messenger's Person of the Year. What a very special honour! The ceremony took place at the Legion. Tommy and Melanie got to sit at the head table for dinner. They loved it! It was so special!
We'd like to thank our sponsors for their dedicated support and continuous generosity.
" This whole project grew because of you! Thank you so much! Thank you for this incredible opportunity to make a small difference in this big country. Thank you for never giving up on us and supporting us right across Canada. Thank you for supporting the drum circle. Our special need students and families are loving it so much. Thank you for all you do and just being you"
Some of sponsors have struggles and difficult chapters of their own and still find time to help us! What amazing people with tremendously big hearts...We wish everyone courage, strength, love and acceptance.
Tommy and Melanie hope to continue doing presentations and hope to grow their hand drum circle. Tommy and Melanie have done over 70 presentations, have distributed over 10,000 books and have purchased over 35 hand drums. Tommy lead his first drum circle back in November and has many more booked in the new year.
Link to article: CLICK HERE
Thank you again for all your support!
Tommy and Melanie have been invited to SPEAK at The Canadian Tire Center for WE DAY on November 10th !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So crazy - so exciting - so nervous !!!!!!!!!! 16,0000 people attending and millions of people watching !!!!!!!! SQUEAK!
Book Signing in Costa Mesa, California
Our presentation was cancelled in British Columbia. The teachers were on strike...too bad! We left 200 books and 10 sets of dolls for the school board and libraries.
The drive down the coast of California was breath taking...the view was unbelievable. I was petrified the beast might fall off the cliff...the craziest 19 miles ever driven!
We made it to Costa Mesa, California on time...and in one piece. The CdLS USA conference was very informative, exciting and very well organized. 138 families attended. 3 Canadian families. We always learn something new and important about Melanie. This year, we're hoping to help Melanie cope with her anxieties and selective mutism. Melanie also attended a seminar - the youth panel. I think she really enjoyed hearing about her peers and their successes. The theme was " You can do it...don't let doctors, specialists and your parents tell you that you can't". On our way back home, someone had to sit with a stranger on the plane. Melanie volunteered. I looked at her as if to say, you can't sit by yourself...she looked at me and said, " I can do it !!!!!!!!!"
The next conference is in Florida 2016. We hope that every Canadian family has a chance to attend one of these conferences.
We had our first presentation today in Winnipeg. A little boy with CdLS will be attending this school next year. What a great introduction to a new syndrome! The students were wild, screaming with excitement.Tommy has decided to start a competition among provinces.
Which province will be the loudest to scream -
If you see someone different smile and say hi
Winnipeg was really really loud, they might be difficult to beat.
Met some new and old friends for an afternoon at Dave and Lori's house in Winnipeg. It's always so great to meet up with CdLS families. There's so much to talk about in so little time. It's always so difficult to say goodbye...
Thursday: Woke up at 4 am. Drove 13 hours. We slept at a truck stop in Wawa. Friday: Woke at 3 am. Drove 14 hours. We slept at a Walmart in Kenora. Saturday: Woke up at 7 am. Drove 3 hours. Sleeping at a campground in Winnipeg.
After driving for 2 days, our campground feels like paradise. The beast is not so difficult to drive after all. John was really tired on Friday so I finally got a turn. Yesssssssssss...It was really exciting!
Like any trip, there are always disasters. We didn't realize the bottom compartments were not water proof. All the boxes of books were wet. We quickly aired the books and cut off the soaked parts. We manage to save most of the books but 100 were thrown away...not so bad!
Funny thing about being over tired and all cooped up together in the beast...everything and anything triggers endless laugh attacks! Laughing so hard feels so great!
A trip of a lifetime - a trip we'll remember forever - thanks to everyone for making it happen!
We're taking the show across Canada and down the coast of California to a CdLS Conference in the USA!
We have presentations booked in Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary, Creston, BC and Costa Mesa, California.
A CdLS Canada family gathering will be held in Winnipeg on June 16th from 2-6pm. Contact David Ireland by phone 204- 290- 1971 A book signing will be held at the CdLS USA conference on June 27th from 7-8pm. Hilton Orange Hotel.
Our sponsors have raised enough money to pay for thousands of books and dolls, our gas, our food and even an RV rental...squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeak! We'll be flying home from California. Another CdLS family will drive the RV back to Ottawa! The rats will travel by RV both ways. I hope the rats don't make too much noise at night - squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeak!
A BIG THANK YOU to all our sponsors. Your generosity is magical, unbelievable and a dream come true!
Big hugs and we hope to spread our message of acceptance and find new CdLS families!
I made a short video for a fundraising golf tournament being held in June - " Hosie and Brown Auto Parts". I tried to summarize Tommy and Melanie's project from the beginning which started in 2010. I included many news clips. I was not sure whether to show the video to Tommy. It's so easy to make someone look famous when combining several news clips together. I didn't want him to think that way!
When I finally showed him the video, he was devastated. Tommy thought it was extremely sad. It took a few days for him to figure out why... He said the picture of Melanie in the hospital made him feel terrible. Melanie was absent from school almost 6 months this year for health issues. I think Tommy has realized many things this year and.... unfortunately ...one of them was that presentations, newspapers, and awards don't make Melanie any healthier. Click here to view video
After our presentation at St.Brigid's School, Ethan went home and visited our website. He read all its content and proceeded to search for more information about CdLS around the world. Ethan convinced his mom to sponsor our project across Canada. Bija Bijoux would help donate books to one province in June 2014. Ethan chose Winnipeg, Manitoba. Ethan's mom was so impressed with his compassion and motivation to help us that Bija Bijoux also invited us for a book signing in Westboro next spring!
Thank you so much Ethan! You are very special. We've presented in over 60 schools and you would be the first student ever to get us sponsored!
Ontario Junior Citizen of the Year Awards 2103 Tommy was selected as one of the 12 final recipients for the Ontario Junior Citizen of the Year Awards. The winner will be announced in March 2014 at a ceremony in Toronto! We are so proud of you of Tommy! Squeak!
We had 2 presentations at Tommy's school on Friday. Melanie and Tommy got to spend the whole day together. They had lunch together, they went out for recess together, they presented in the gym together, they had a french dictee and they walked down the hall together.
We loved New Brunswick!
We had 4 presentations and a book signing.
Interviews with radio, TV and newspaper below. Click here and scroll down
We met the only person with CdLS in all of New Brunswick.
Jayden is 9 years old and loved the rats.
Jayden's family got interviewed by radio and TV too !!!!
Here are the winners of the rat races:
Jay Bee, Chewy, Chewy, Jay Bee
What 's going on with Gerry?
We may have found 3 other families with CdLS in New Brunswick! We hope to hear from them soon.
Montreal was so exciting!
We had a presentation at Selwyn House School.
The first rat race was tied !
A great excuse to have a second race...
We had an interview with Global Montreal, ate poutine for lunch and rode the Metro!
Speaker Night Holland Bloomview Kids Rehabilitiation Hospital.
The presentation was posted on Bloom Blog.
What an honour! Click here for video.
It is 20 minutes.
First part: example of a school presentation.
Second part: Tommy the Sibling.
Ends with a rat race. Guess who wins? Squeak.
Melanie started her Propeller Dancing lessons. Based in Ottawa, Propeller Dance is the only organization in Ontario with the sole mandate of providing dance programming to children, youth and adults with and without disability. Click here for Link
It was amazing, beautiful and really well organized!
Melanie loves to dance!
The rats love to dance!
Everyone should be allowed to dance!
Rats loved the fluffy pillows.
What a huge conference!
Tommy and Melanie had 2 presentations.
Many new families to meet. Click here for 2min. video
Rick Guidotti, photographer from New York city took this photo.
It was so amazing to meet him! Squeak.
In 1998, Rick founded Positive Exposure, a non profit organization, that challenges stigma associated with difference by pioneering a new vision of the beauty and richness of genetic diversity. Rick’s photo essay “Redefining Beauty” in Life Magazine won the Genetic Alliance’s “Art of Reporting” award. Click here for Positive Exposure