Well, finally – finally – the company reached out to me, actually phoned me after ignoring my phone calls to them and texts and emails… They explained they would replace the Aeroplan points and the cash they had lifted from me for seat upgrades that, due to their own lack of capability, never happened. Of course, “Daniel” at Air Canada couldn’t be nice about this: he started by trying to blame me for upgrading my seats the wrong way (Hey pal, get your facts straight: I just followed the process on your own website! This is your problem, not mine!!) He then gave me an option: use my points and money to book new seats with Air Canada (no thanks!); or pay $300 to get them returned to me. Do you agree with me that it is outrageous for Air Canada to charge me for their errors!? But you know what, I’ve got to the point where I’m too damn tired trying to fight with them any longer, so I actually agreed to pay their fee. And I actually got my points back. The credit card refund apparently will take a few days to go through banks, so I'll check next week.
You know, I’ve been travelling in Europe a fair amount recently and feel proud to be a Canadian when I’m away. That is, until you realize what a screwed up company our national airline is and the fact that Canada’s largest airport, Pearson, holds the worst record anywhere in the world for flight delays and lost luggage.
And here I thought Air Canada owned the label “Worst airline ever” (see my previous blog entry). Welcome to the club KLM/Air France: "Royal Schmuck Airlines"!
My companion and I were set to travel recently from Toronto to Amsterdam, then on to Basel, Switzerland where we would begin a Rhine River cruise. As part of the package, we’d been booked on KLM which I’d not flown with before.
I should have realized something was up when I was trying to check in and get boarding passes online, but it never worked. I was always invited to “try again later”. On departure day, we arrived at the airport 3 hours before flight time and lined up “forever” to check in. When we finally got to an agent, she looked at our ticket info, punched something into the computer and then said, “Oh, you’re here a day early. You’re flight’s not until tomorrow.”
What?!? No way. The tickets we booked were for today. (Frankly, they had to be: we were flying overnight in order to get to Amsterdam, and then Basel that same day, to board the ship and take off on the cruise. If we weren’t even leaving until tomorrow, we’d never get there in time.) I explained this to the lady but she said, “Sorry, these tickets are for tomorrow’s flight at this same time.” “How could that be? I asked. “Our travel agent specifically booked these tickets with Viking (the cruise company) for today.” “Must be your travel agent who made a mistake,” the KLM lady replied nonchalantly.
“Wait right there,” I said, none too happy. I immediately called Rose, my trusted travel agent, and explained what was going on. “No way I booked tomorrow’s flight!” she said vehemently. “Let me talk to her.” I handed the phone to the KLM lady who talked for a while with Rose.
I won’t bore you with the next several hours of frustration that we experienced going back and forth between this lady, Rose, Viking, the airlines (including Rose’s insistence that they get us on another flight so we could get to Basel tomorrow… their insentience that Viking would have to do this since they had made the original booking… Rose’s attempts – finally successful – to get someone from Viking who could help… they then make a booking, we share this with the KLM lady who says, ”That flight’s already overbooked. You can’t get on it.” So, why the hell did they accept Viking’s booking!?!... so now we wait and wait and wait while Viking tries again… finally we get booked on an Air France – KLM’s sister company – flight that doesn’t leave until almost 10pm that night… oh joy, we get to spend several hours sitting around the airport, waiting).
We learned that the Air France flight went to Paris, not Amsterdam, arriving at 10:45am. But the flight to Basel did not depart until 5:50 that evening! Oh joy, more time spent sitting around Charles de Gaulle Airport (never my favorite spot to languish!). And of course, the seats I’d paid extra for (wider, more room between seats, etc.) were not available so we had to sit for the whole overnight flight squished into the middle of a row.
The only good news was that Viking would dispatch someone to the Basel airport to greet us on our arrival there at 6:55pm, help us get our luggage organized, and then whisk us to the ship before departure time of 8pm!
From this point on, the cruise was a dream: marvelous ports of call, fabulous meals, great new friends, etc. etc.
The flight back was fine, other than I had again paid extra for better seats which were booked as a window seat and the one next to it, but they “could no longer offer that” so we had to sit in the middle of a row.
Now, here’s what we learned. It was KLM that had cancelled our original flight! But they never informed us of this, nor Rose, nor Viking. Their agent lied when she failed to tell us this and then actually took it upon herself to blame our travel agent. SHAME!!
KLM, you’re right down there at the bottom of the toilet with Air Canada when it comes to caring about your customers or treating them with respect.
Oh BTW, in case you’re wondering, gentle reader: it’s now almost 12 weeks and I have still yet to be reimbursed by Air Canada for the money and points they owe me! SHAME!!
Remember that famous 1950s Cunard slogan, “Getting there is half the fun”? If only…
If you’re planning to travel, avoid Air Canada. That is, if you care about fairness, truthfulness and value, concepts clearly Canada’s national airline have thrown out.
Quick background: My travelling companion and I were booked on Air Canada 816 on May 13, 2022 to Venice, Italy. I had lots of Aeroplan points and decided to upgrade our seats to Premium Economy, having to also use a good deal of cash via my credit card. I received Air Canada’s confirmation of this upgrade to seats 15 D&E.
However, days later, when I went to get our boarding passes 24 hours before flight time, it showed we were in seats 39 D&E! I spent countless frustrating hours on the phone waiting to speak to one of their representatives. When I finally was able to talk to a human being at Air Canada, and subsequently at Aeroplan, I was told they did not have my upgraded booking. “What do you mean you don’t have it?” I asked. “It’s not in our system.” they said. “You didn’t order it.” “Oh yes I did,” I stated. “And you confirmed it. And why do my credit card and my Aeroplan points count show they have been used to get this booking!!?? (My credit card clearly shows Air Canada having charged $1,987.62 against my account and my Aeroplan record shows redemption of 143,400 points.)
Finally, someone told me to work it out at the airport: “They’ll be able to help you there.” I was very skeptical of this since how would they get us the seats I had ordered (and had confirmation of) at such a late date? Indeed, the next day, when we went to Toronto international Airport specifically early to address this issue, we talked with several people, none of whom could help us. And so, we ended up travelling from Toronto to Italy in awful seats I would never have chosen to fly in!
On arriving home after this vacation, I complained to Air Canada and to Aeroplan. Someone named “Karen Michaels” was supposedly put on this to solve the problem, but I think it’s a robot which has made several errors and the money and points have not been returned to me more than two months after they were illegitimately taken from me.
My patience has run out. My requests to have someone senior address this problem fall on deaf ears.
So, if you’re planning to travel, don’t go near Air Canada! They are a second rate operation and they care nothing about their customers.
Time for a rant.
I recently had the opportunity to travel with a friend to various ports of call in Europe via Oceania Cruise Lines. I was previously unaware of Oceania (namely because I was not into cruising) but it turned out to be “the world’s leading culinary-and destination-focused cruise line”. Well, OK… that they may be, but I discovered they sure aren’t customer focused. How surprising.
My travel agent had turned me on to the great deals Oceania was offering due to Covid. The trip we selected sounded wonderful: Italy, Croatia, Malta, Greece, Spain, France, Monaco, all from a first class ship featuring only 500 guests. What’s not to like, right?
And indeed, the ports of call were outstanding, as was the cuisine, accommodation and activities on board.
Now, I’m not about to bore you with details, don’t worry, but suffice to say, there were several incidents that occurred that negatively impacted our ability to fully enjoy this trip. What is truly surprising is that attempts to bring this to the attention of senior people on the ship or back at their head office were ignored (even my snail-mail letter to their CEO brought no response). And we’re not talking about trivial matters.
We had embarked on this trip with high expectations. To have those anticipations dashed was sad. But to learn that a company supposedly priding itself on quality doesn’t seem to give a damn about their customers is even sadder.
So Oceania: sayonara. You might just have had a champ here, ready to extol your virtues. Instead, you’ve won yourself an opponent who will not sail with you again (let’s face it: there are lots of alternatives) and will go out of my way not to recommend you to anyone I know.
Do we really have to go through this again?
The headline in the National Post calls out “Peaceful Death?” It then goes on to ask, “How can doctors be sure a medically assisted death is a 'peaceful' death’?”
Despite the fact that death by lethal injection is described by a medical professional as “one of a peaceful transition to the afterlife without any witnessed suffering. Not once has a member of our care team approached me to discuss concerns they had around the patient’s comfort during the procedure”, we still have do-gooders in our society who are ready to have the world follow their dictates.
I’ve written here before that one thing is for certain: there is no need for anyone seeking to end their life to do so in a shower of violence. (You know, like being forced to splatter their guts about as rocker Kurt Cobain did by putting a bullet in his brain; or stringing a belt around his neck and over a beam to choke himself to death by hanging as comedian Robin Williams did; or jumping from the window of her apartment to the busy street below as singer Susannah McCorkle did). Surely, when life decides to pay you no favors, your exit should not be shrouded in violence.
Can't you do-gooders see that not everyone wants to go your way? Can't you have respect for those who just want to leave their way? You know, with some dignity left. Surely, when life decides to pay you no favors, your exit should not be shrouded in violence.
Just going through some old files and I came across this wonderful remembrance from my mum which she wrote at age 91 (she died at 100 in 2020). Thought I’d share it with you…
I’m standing on the shore of Portage Bay, Lake Rosseau, gazing with amazement at the construction of my son’s 3,400 square foot “cottage”. Peter and his wife Louise relocated to Muskoka full time from their Toronto residence in 2009 and are now building their “dream home” on the lot next to the log house that saw great memories for 25 years.
This new beginning sends my recollections back through the six generations of cottaging experiences our family has enjoyed. I stop and realize I’ve spent every summer of my 91 years in Muskoka. Back when I made my debut in this special land, life was much more primitive. It was 1920 and at the tender age of 4 months, my parents brought me to my maternal grandparents’ cottage on the Baysville River, just where it opens up into the Lake of Bays. Jack and Maude Featherstonhaugh had begun their family cottaging homestead with a basic structure they called “Hillcrest”. “Daddy Jack”, as my grandfather was known to everyone, became recognized as an “early-adopter” cottager. And for the next 7 years, my summers were blissful times spent with a collection of 13 grandchildren doing what kids do at the cottage. Soon, the families of two sets of cousins built their own summer home on the adjoining land, “Happy Landings”, which they shared. We were invited to partake in this growing compound but my father, Ted Cockin, who had ventured to “the colonies” from England many years before, reasoned that relatives likely remained on a talking basis when separated from day-to-day proximity.
My imaginative father purchased a piece of land not too far away along the river and promptly traded his Durant car to a local inhabitant, Mr. Pretzell, in return for taking possession of the log cabin that sat on his property. An agreement was reached where the cabin would be transferred to our lot on skids pulled by a team of horses during the winter. Can you imagine such an arrangement being made today?
“Big Timber Lodge” was so named because of the gigantic size of the logs that formed our cottage. It sat back from a lovely beach that provided hours of endless swimming for me, my sister Betsy and our many cousins. One special relative, Anne Campbell, and I would be daring and arrange camping trips each summer. The first year, we were a little tenuous with this idea so we only ventured to spend the night at a little beach within Daddy Jack’s view. In fact, he and Nana came out in their “putt putt” disappearing propeller boat just to ensure we were OK. Anne and I were delighted with their visit: it included a batch of Nana’s scrumptious butter tarts!
As we matured, so too did our wanderlust and we set out to grow our achievement from the previous summer. The crowning glory was paddling all the way to Marshes Falls at the head of the lake where we camped out and experienced our first visit from a porcupine: it fell to me to chase the little devil away before it consumed our camp dinner!
Life was grand: we sailed with Daddy Jack, swam endlessly and rode horses at the neighboring Bastedo farm. It was there that I was thrown from the nag I was on as he jumped over a stump and sent me reeling to the ground where I was dragged for several yards. A trip to the Bracebridge hospital revealed a broken arm and a deep gash to my leg (the scar of which I still proudly display).
Where today my family hops into Port Carling to acquire bags of fancy groceries, I had the job of travelling by foot to Langton House where the King family sold us eggs, vegetables and a pail of milk still warm from the cow. This we stored in the ice box. Oh yes, I should tell you that hydro was but a dream for cottagers like us: coal oil lamps lit our evenings and cord wood fueled our stove as I learned to bake bread.
It was also a time of summer romance! Anne and I would fashion evening dresses out of whatever material we could find while the boys, in their white slacks and blazers, would squire us to Bigwin Inn for the dinner dance. How posh we were!
But all things must change and so Lake of Bays gave way to Lake Rosseau when I fell in love with my future husband, Bill Jennings. Boy, was I in for an awakening! From our simple, rough and ready log cabin existence, I was introduced to the grandeur of Fairview Island, just off the Muskoka Lakes Golf & Country Club, where my future in-laws were a reserved couple considerably older than my parents. But Lake Rosseau was in Bill’s soul and by 1956 we had purchased our own place near Port Sandfield, “Rockbottom” where we raised three kids to cherish Muskoka as we did (two of whom now live here full time).
Today, looking back, I’m indoctrinating my new great granddaughter Ryleigh Catherine (after me, of course) McGee Jennings into my Muskoka with the assurance she will come to cherish this special land the way I still do after 91 summers.
Cay Jennings was a Lake of Bays and Lake Rosseau cottager who enjoyed time in Muskoka every summer during her lifetime. She was part of a six-generation cottaging family and visited the area throughout all four seasons. Turning 90 years of age did not slow her down: she went hot air ballooning at dawn over southern Ontario and was determined to experience Edge Walk where adventure lovers walk outside on the CN Tower’s rim, dangling 116 storeys above the ground! Here she takes in some calm lakeside views seated in my 100+ year old mahogany launch “Ruth”.
The headline in the Globe and Mail newspaper says, “Pssst! Wanna know the real reason to return to the office? It's the gossip”.
As columnist Susan Pinker writes, “Sure, you can get bits and pieces of information through direct messaging, Slack and phone calls, but informal face-to-face conversation is best for finding out what’s really happening.”
And don’t I know it. No, not because I have direct experience with relocating to the home office in the last two years due to Covid. Nope… I made that kind of transition many moons ago when I retired from my day job and began writing books. But my agreement with Ms. Pinker comes from researching my book “Being Happy Matters” (beinghappymatters.life; to be published this fall). While profiling 37 people from around the world as I investigated happiness, I came across Dr. Robert Putnam’s revealing treatise, “Bowling Alone”. Dr. Putnam, of the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government, states that many traditional civic, social and fraternal organizations – typified by bowling leagues – have undergone a massive decline in membership. We’re talking more than merely missing out on gossip.
“We used to be joiners, now we’re not” Putnam writes. “We don’t embrace bowling leagues the way we used to. Church attendance is off. Book clubs, investment clubs and other gatherings of people into ‘communities’ have lost their allure as we replace pleasant pastimes with helter-skelter lives aimed at achieving things, not enjoying things. The simple act of joining and being regularly involved in organized groups has a very significant, positive impact on individual health, well-being and happiness.”
The value of community. It’s so important. But we seem to have lost that connection in so many ways. As Dr. Putnam says, community has been replaced.
Let me ask you this aligned question: know what the happiest country in the world is? Finland. And get this: it’s ranking is for the fifth year in a row! (The Annual World Happiness Report ranks countries based on: Income, Freedom, Trust, Healthy Life Expectancy, Social Support and Generosity.) Now, you’re saying to yourself, “So, do Finns enjoy gossip more than we do?” Not necessarily. But what they do appreciate is the value of community.
“A happy social environment, whether urban or rural, is one where people feel a sense of belonging, where they trust and enjoy each other and their shared institutions,” says John Helliwell, Professor at the University of British Columbia, in describing Finland. He explains that having someone to count on, having a sense of freedom to make key life decisions, generosity, and trust, all play a significant role in a person’s happiness.
So do we all go out and start bowling again? Not necessarily. But do give thought to reconnecting with your local “community”. There just might be opportunity for you to throw in with some other folks and begin getting to know each other again. You know: like, live, in person… rather than “friending folks through Facebook.
And don’t forget this: you’ll be happier doing it.
“When you learn to love yourself in all your imperfections and insecurities, and then choose to believe in yourself, suddenly anything becomes possible despite what others say or believe."
The words of a sagacious guru? Nope, that's a young lady in her twenties who's wise beyond her years. Her name is Tunchai Redvers and when I interviewed her for my latest book, “Pushing The Boundaries”, I discovered Tunchai, after almost becoming a statistic herself, felt compelled to do something about the broken lives she saw while growing up in a northern aboriginal community. With inflated rates of alcohol and drug addiction, along with accompanying suicide attempts, she began to see the importance of breaking the silence while reaching out for help. "I was 15," she told me. "I saw no future and decided to take a toxic amount of pills before phoning my mom. I was at rock bottom and this was my cry for help."
Fortunately, the cry was heard. I learned that Tunchai’s thoughts of self-inflicted death had begun at age 12. “My fight with mental health was silent so I never reached out for help,” she explained. "I grew up in Hay River, a town of 3,600 on the south shore of Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories. It was pretty different from anywhere else. We were very isolated. It was pretty tough.”
Although her grandmother wouldn’t talk much about the residential school she had lived in for a decade at Fort Resolution, Tunchai realized there had been a lot of physical assaults, sexual abuse and emotional mistreatment. "Alcohol and drug addiction affected generations of my family as a result," she said quietly.
Enduring bullying and abuse herself, Tunchai struggled with defining her own identity. She really didn’t know what it meant to be Indigenous because there were no role models in the media. Her attempted suicide made her realize she needed help.
Tunchai ("Flower" in the Chipewyan language) took control. She got into competitive sports, drama and dance. She moved to Yellowknife, a larger town, and broadened her social conscience, raising money for Haiti and even volunteering at an orphanage in Bolivia at age 16.
"You've been pushing the boundaries for some time then, haven't you, " I said.
"I suppose so," Tunchai smiled. "If you mean challenging political, social, cultural, and societal norms, then yup, that's me.”
Embracing her culture and learning more about traditional teachings, Tunchai began talking about the importance of reconciliation and support for Indigenous youth. "The suicide rates with our young have always been high," she told me. "But it was becoming outrageous.” She cited 100 suicide attempts in an eight-month period in Attawapiskat First Nation, home to about 2,000 people. “It’s really overwhelming to keep hearing about young people taking their lives,” she said solemnly.
Clearly, this caring attitude runs in the family. As Tunchai was experiencing her
awakening, her brother Kelvin was starting a video production company in Hay River. "I remember the two of us saying, 'What if we could create a national campaign designed to share the message to Indigenous youth who are struggling with suicidal thoughts and other hardships: no matter how hopeless or lonely things feel, there is always a way forward!'" Tunchai said.
Outrageous idea? Sure, for those dedicated to the status quo.
But for Tunchai Redvers, this kind of pushing the boundaries just seemed natural.
The result has become "We Matter", a multi-media campaign designed to gather positive messages from people everywhere who offer support for Indigenous youth going through a hard time. Featuring short, personal videos on the website (wemattercampaign.org) and on social media, viewers are left with a very clear impression: no matter how hard, or hopeless or lonely things feel, there is always a way forward.
"Too many youth have trouble believing their life has value," Tunchai explained. "The 'We Matter' campaign is about changing that. We've become a registered non-profit organization with a resonating mandate: to communicate to Indigenous youth that their lives do matter, and to provide resources to encourage and support those going through a hard time while fostering unity and resiliency. By sharing our stories, our words of encouragement and our authentic messages of hope and resilience, we help to make a community stronger. Peter... I matter. You matter. We matter. It's that simple."
I'm fascinated by this concept, which appears to pre-sage the Black Lives Matters campaign.
So where is “We Matter” now? In Attawapiskat, 18-year-old males who looked a bit tough welled up while watching some of the videos because it resonated so clearly. In these communities, it landed, it connected with them.
"Tunchai, your name may mean flower, but you're no shrinking violet," I told her, promoting her smile. "But seriously, "I'm curious: you seem mature beyond your years. Is there someone you model yourself after?"
Her answer was unhesitating and direct. "For sure. Cindy Blackstock. She's a social worker and a powerhouse. She has dedicated her life to fighting for the rights of Indigenous children in Canada. Cindy is loud, and she stands as strong as a brick in the face of institutions that tell her she's wrong. And Peter, that is exactly the type of person I aspire to be."
And if anyone has gifts that are about to change the world, it's Tunchai Redvers, the "flower of hope", following the beat of a distant drum, one that's sure to lead her to new levels of greatness, pushing the boundaries as she goes.
You can read more about Tunchai plus 31 other fascinating individuals in “Pushing The Boundaries! How To Get More Out Of Life” (pushingtheboundaries.life).
Father’s Day approaches. It’s been more than 20 years since I’ve had a patriarch to cheer on (my dad died in 1999). But as I consider the upcoming event, I’m reminded about my own upbringing. It was less than desirable.
In the Introduction to my latest book, “Pushing The Boundaries! How To Get More Out Of Life”, I include, “I grew up in a family on the crossroads of Main-Street & Normal. My parents were the kind of compliant folks who never ventured outside the confines of how they were supposed to be. Seems there was some kind of rulebook that authorized the canons of life, and woe betide the person who dodged it.”
That does a pretty good job of describing my family. Quiet. Reserved. No out-of-the-box thinking. And perhaps because of those strictures, it’s why I’ve played the game very differently: I simply didn’t respect my parents’ approach enough to echo it in any way.
I suppose I can’t really blame my dad. He grew up as one of four brothers and a sister in a wealthy, but cold, household. (The sister died in her early 20s; by a strange turn of events, I would come to learn a family secret: Jean killed herself after her father – my grandfather – refused to let her carry on with a lad she was smitten with). My father and his brothers existed in a strict, low-spirited, affluent home that lacked for nothing due to my grandfather’s hard-earned riches… nothing that is, except for warmth. My grandfather was a dour, serious, strict man who abstained from alcohol and was a workaholic: at one point, he not only ran the family law firm (Kingsmill Jennings) but was also president of Bulova Watch and Canada Dry – at the same time. The siblings were expected to address him as “Sir”. That’s right: not Dad, not Pop, not… Sir! How’s that for a warm, convivial family environment?
In the midst of the Depression, when so many people were struggling just to put a little bread on the table, my grandfather bought a large property in downtown Toronto to raise his family; it would become known as Mooredale House. This large estate exists today as a community centre and operates a daycare that I took my boys to back in the day. (My dad came with me one morning when I was dropping off the kids to the home he’d been raised in. I remember he was shocked that where the daycare was situated was where the stables had been. “Your kids go where we kept our horses!” he exclaimed in disbelief.)
As far as I could tell, my grandfather had very little to do with raising his children. And his wife, my grandmother, was also very staid and uninvolved. So, my dad grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth but learned nothing about life or bringing up kids. He had little to go on. I guess by natural instinct, he doted on his two daughters (my older and younger sister) when they came along, but pretty much ignored me. I grew up wanting a brother in the worst way.
My mother’s upbringing started out being more normal. Her dad, my maternal grandfather, Edwin Mills (Ted) Cockin, was a Brit from Yorkshire. He was a delightful, kind and caring man, and one who enjoyed spending time with me. He worked for the Department of Transport in a straightforward job and never made much dough, but he was creative. (I’ll keep this short but my favourite story about Granddad Cockin was how, having arrived in Canada and venturing up to Muskoka, he was so taken with the Lake of Bays area that he struck a deal with a local farmer – Mr. Pretzel – whereby he traded his car for the farmer’s log house, and as part of the deal, had it moved to the lake’s edge where it became the Cockin family cottage. “Big Timber Lodge” is still there today.)
I guess mom was raised to be somewhat competitive. She yearned for a better life and married my dad knowing his access to money could be a good start. But she quickly realized she’s have to “wear the pants” in the household because he could not be relied on for decision-making. She became a tough nut to crack. She was stoic: we were told to avoid complaints and shun meds. If you had a headache, you dealt with it: mind over matter. I joke when I say “If we had an aspirin a year, it was a bad year!” (Actually, I don’t mind having been raised this way: it’s stayed with me and I do think we over-medicate ourselves these days.)
Mom was a tough task-master with big expectations. I was told to study law, join the family law firm and then become the next Prime Minister of Canada. Just like that. Easy, peasy. Problem was, none of this appealed to me. It did set in motion a level of antipathy between me and my mother that lasted a long time.
Now, I’ll grant you it may not have been in style back then, but I was never told that either of my parents loved me. Frankly, I don’t think they did. But it would have been nice to hear.
Moving forward, I’ve tried to correct the deficiencies of my own upbringing. My kids (including in-laws) and grandkids sure know how much I love them.
I – and they – wouldn’t have it any other way.
June is looming and I’m reminded that June 2 is Lou Gehrig Day.
Lou was a star first base player for the New York Yankees who, in 1939, stood in front of 62,000 fans and delivered one of the most poignant speeches in the history of sports. He talked about Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis – ALS – the rapidly progressive neuro-degenerative disease that affects the nerve cells responsible for controlling voluntary muscles and a condition that Gehrig himself had been diagnosed with. It came to be known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.
“For the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got,” he said. “Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” He held back tears as he addressed the crowd at Yankee Stadium after being forced to retire from baseball two weeks prior due to his fatal diagnosis of ALS. Lou Gehrig died two years later, days short of his 38th birthday. Today, he remains an inspiration and is a source of strength, humility and courage to many people and their families facing the devastation of an ALS diagnosis.
Every year, Major League Baseball recognizes June 2 as Lou Gehrig Day. There is still no cure – but there are more therapies than ever in the pipeline and organizations that provide services and support, fund research, and advocate for change to the status quo.
This is the last time I’ll be asking this year, but I would be really pleased if you would join me on June 2 in showing your financial support for the Canadian and American teams getting ever closer to finding a cure for ALS. I donate to both, but feel free to choose one or the other if you wish. Here are the links: