A Mutual Gift of Inspiration
Nov 22, 2010
Posted by: Clara Hughes
Celebrity Advocate for Health & Wellness
I've never coached, but I think I finally understand what my coaches have gone through over the years. Today I had the chance to be on the sidelines for who now feel like my athletes. Not that I can take any credit for anything they have done - I tell you, though, I feel proud and protective over my two Champions of Change. I had the gift of pumping them up today, and in return, they have given me the gift of inspiration.
I was asked to champion the health and wellness sector for the COC months ago. I can't tell you how much I've been looking forward to this day. Why? Because it's a chance to celebrate what I believe to be the greatest trait of a Canadian: the desire to give back and make a difference in the community and the world.
Yes, today I was like a proud coach, or a teacher boasting about her prize students when I think about Lindsay Willms
and Chris Opio
I feel deeply moved by Lindsay's open heart and sharing with children who don't have the chance to frequent the playgrounds and community centers because of their health circumstances. She makes these kids feel complete, and her pure energy and clear eyes allow these youngsters to forget their struggle during the time she shares with them. She is never alone as the kids hang all over her, looking up with shining, joyful eyes. She helps them transform into the child they could and should be able to - at least feel what it's like to be liberated and engaged in play.
I 'heart' Lindsay and you will too, so check out her video and vote
for my truly 'Canadian Champion of Change'!
And then there is Chris... the man with the quiet strength and determination that is impacting his native Uganda in such a positive way. Seeing his story and his approach reminds me of my speed skating coach, Xiuli. She is someone who quietly gets things done and believes in the power of her actions to help others.
Water is the life force, the life source that every human being deserves the right to access - clean water, that is. I've been to Africa and seen first hand the dire circumstances that exist. The reality of so many is a nightmare and Chris - well, this humble, kind and beautiful man is turning this nightmare into a dream for 42,000 people, and counting.
What I felt so moved by was how Chris turned his own sadness into joy for others. He lost 5 family members because of the lack of clean water, and he never forgot his vow to make a difference so that others would not suffer the same. The losses he has endured live clearly through each ounce of water pumped through the 29 wells he is directly responsible for providing.
Chris is my 'International Champion' and I urge you to listen to his soft voice, and then see the shining glimmers of hope he lights in the eyes of so many.
It was a fantastic day being a part of this movement CBC is fueling. I feel proud to be a Canadian and have so many ideas spinning in my head as to what more I can do to make a difference for others.
And finally, thank you so much Mark Kelley. It is a real treat to be on camera with someone so clear and pro at what he does... he makes it look easy, and it ain't easy, believe me!
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