On Wed. night I received a Circle of Honour Award for advocacy for my work with BLOOM. The Circle of Honour is Holland Bloorview’s highest award for people who make the world a better place for kids with disabilities and their families. This award was very special to me because I was nominated by two parents. At the event they showed a video that included comments from a number of BLOOM readers. I wanted to share my speech with you.
I’m honoured and humbled to receive this award.
Katharine Harrison and Alison Bowen, the parents who nominated me, wrote about how the word advocate means: To summon a voice.
I’ve always felt that it was through my experience raising my son Ben that I found a voice I didn’t know I had.
It takes courage to parent a child with disabilities in a culture that still largely views disability as a tragedy.
And it’s because we’re determined, as parents, that the world see our kids the way we see them – that we become natural advocates.
But I think it’s fair to say that every person in this room is an advocate in the work they do to ensure that every child who walks through our doors leads a rich life.
There’s something truly unique about Bloorview – about the people who work here and our values – and I think BLOOM is a natural extension of that.
Our vision of possibility is radical in that it takes us beyond society’s limited definition of success to acknowledge the beauty and contribution of every child.
People here welcome diversity, they value different ways of doing things, they see opportunities that aren’t immediately apparent. Those qualities are remarkable and rare. We can’t underestimate their power.
I’d like to thank the leadership of the organization, our staff and our families for creating the kind of environment where BLOOM could thrive. I’d like to recognize Sara Purves, our designer extraordinaire. She’s created the kind of stunningly beautiful publication that our families deserve.
And I’d like to thank my Dad. He didn’t have a lot of experience with disability, but he taught me the value of every human life, and I think that’s why I feel so at home here.