Saturday, 2 April 2016

Finding ways to give back

It's been almost a month since the big trip and all we've been doing is go, go, go.

But some moments slow me down. Some make time stand still. And I kind of long for the hurt a bit, in a twisted way. I need to remind myself how much this hurts.

One moment came when I was looking out the back yard to the bench we had put up for Dominic. I watched as a mom followed three kids over to the play set next to it. She walks up, prepared to sit, but instead sees the plaque commemorating his life.

She sits down. She pulls out a tissue. I like to think she hugged the kids extra tight that day.

The past 24 hours I've run into two people who remembered my son, but somehow hadn't known he was dead. Seeing their horrified reactions as I do my best to calmly break the news reminds me of how many times I had to do that in the weeks that followed Sept. 3, 2015. It doesn't get any easier. And I'm glad to feel it, because some other days I feel dead inside.

Trish is back at work, at a new job. I don't see her much during the week. Lunch and dinner. Thank goodness we live in Medicine Hat, where even though our work schedules are opposite of one another we can still be together twice a day. Two-minute commute for me, five minutes for her. I'd be a wreck without her. Sometimes I am anyhow.

We've had so much support and are so lucky for it. Then we hear about a family who we've got to know whose child's cancer has relapsed. All that support that we've got, we need to share it. You can't imagine what that moment is like when the doctor says "I'm sorry." All you can do is be there in any way you can for them.

And that's why our charity efforts will continue this year. In spite of the economic problems facing the oil and gas sector that drives our province, kids will not stop getting sick and if anything, their families will be in even more trouble with fewer incomes to support them.

Helping Families Handle Cancer might be based in Calgary, but so is the Alberta Children's Hospital. Both provide critical assistance for kids and families throughout southern Alberta. And those are the two charities we will continue to focus on.

Helping Families gave us gift cards for gas, shopping and other essentials when Trish couldn't work last year and her employment insurance had run out. We survived for about 18 months on one income thanks to previous fundraisers and what that charity did for us.

They're holding an art auction in Lethbridge Saturday, April 23 at the Galt Museum and I'll be there to speak. If you're in the area please consider supporting the event - tickets are available at

In addition, we are announcing today that there will be a new run of #Dominicstrong T-shirts! They will be the fancy dry-fit material, cost $30 plus shipping (add $2.10 for XXL and up), and the more we sell the more we can donate back to Helping Families. At minimum there will be $15 per shirt donated. But you've got to order by May 1 - email with exactly what you want and I'll work it out with you. Full details are on the #Dominicstrong Facebook group at

Extra Life, of course, is the way in which we support the hospital. Every penny donated through my fundraising page (or Trish's at goes straight to the hospital foundation - just keep in mind that they only take donations in US dollars and require you to do the conversion beforehand.

Towards the Extra Life cause we have a few things planned. One is the official 25-hour gaming marathon, Nov. 5 and 6. Once again we'll be at the Medicine Hat Lodge, which has been fantastic in making sure we've got room to play in. Second is the online auction, which our amazing friend Kristine ran last year and has committed to help with again. It'll run Sept. 29-Oct. 2 through the Facebook group. Go there for information on how to donate items. Finally, Hooplas Family Entertainment Centre will have a special Extra Life day Sunday, Sept. 11 - think mini golf, board and video games, food trucks and more.

I know that's a lot all at once. I just haven't made the time to sit down and write. Here it is, 3 a.m. on a Saturday morning. We're still grieving, the dim blue light in his room remains on but I haven't gone in there in two months. But I still talk to him.

We honour him by doing these things. Our grief is a bit easier to deal with if we're helping someone else.


  1. Sean, thank you for continuing to blog, I've been following pretty much since your first post and I am that elusive stranger that doesn't know you, but feels like I do. I am inspired continually by your efforts to give back and help others while grieving. I can not even fathom the grief, just the other day, while I was driving, Dominic's 'song' came on and I actually had to pull over - I just started to sob, sad sobbing, happy sobbing, sobbing thinking of you both in a moment of sadness that would just have to be a thousand times stronger than what me a stranger was feeling. Then I thought, never would Dominic wish for sadness, he was and is the very symbol of happy, a happy thumbs up, everything is A-okay, what a great way to be. I pulled back on the road and drove with a smile and forever grateful that he popped into my life via a blog. The message has always been clear; Keep on keeping on, no matter what. You guys are awesome.

  2. I've never wondered, not even for a moment, where Dominic got his awesomeness from. You and Trish posted about how he kept trucking along through all the medical stuff and the scary diagnoses and the dire life span predictions that he just defied, and I always thought to myself that he had really good role models! That wonderful, magical boy of yours got the exact right parents to make his life the best it could be, and now you're taking that same gift to other peoples' kids. PURE AWESOMENESS. The spirit of Dom lives on, and you and Trish give it your hearts and minds and arms and legs to get things done. I hope you are insanely proud of who you are and what you are doing despite your grief and feeling dead inside. Just like Dom - no matter how sick you are, thumbs up, raise the roof and keep going! Go Rooneys, go!