I grew up in Cornwall, Ontario and moved here to go to Carleton University and Algonquin College. It was a very humble and quiet upbringing. I loved high school, played sports, and was part of student council. When I was 18 I moved to Ottawa for school and I never moved back home.
I live in the McKellar Park community and my family and I have always really been engaged with the neighbourhood. I joined the Carlingwood Community Association after my youngest son was born because I wanted to get back engaging with people.
I spent quite a bit of time at home looking after my kids, so when my youngest son was born, I wanted to see what else was out there. I started working at Candlelighters, a charity for kids with cancer. During the pandemic, I was working at the Ottawa Food Bank which I absolutely loved.
Ottawa has such a special thriving community of people who want to help. People work really hard and they share their hard-earned dollars. It’s wonderful to be part of that experience.
In 2021 my sister Kristianne, a breast cancer survivor, passed away from Pulmonary Hypertension and our whole lives just halted. We took time to process our grief, and then a job at the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation fell in my lap. I applied, things happened very quickly – and I’m really enjoying it.
The thing that I really love about this area is that we are immersed in nature. We live very close to the Ottawa River, and there are lots of great parks. It’s a caring community and everyone is very empathetic. From the tornadoes to COVID and everything else that’s happened, we have always been surrounded by such wonderful support. People go out of their way to make sure everybody is alright.
At 52, I feel like I’ve already done so many great things. My role as a parent to three children is to keep helping them find their passions.
I’m a sunset chaser and I love photography; it’s one of the things that takes me away from all the stressful moments of life. I’m an avid reader and hiking is a big part of our family culture. Every weekend we try to go about 45 minutes outside of the city and find a new trail.
Story collected by Charlie Senack