Have you ever noticed how most superhero stories take place in one of two places? One is New York City, a common place for Marvel comics, because it’s where Stan Lee lived during his most prolific years. The other common setting is a fictional city, like Metropolis or Gotham. This is because DC Comics decided a long time ago that they would make up different places for their heroes (and villains) to inhabit. If you’re a lifelong comic reader in Canada, it’s easy to feel a little left out. Where are Toronto’s superheroes?
Well, as it turns out, they’re right in our own backyard. And they’re real!
For example: Amanda Belzowski started Lemonade 4 Heart when she was only two years old. Her parents let her pledge in the Ride for Heart, and her job was to sit in a high chair and pour lemonade from a Fisher-Price cup for riders. That year, she raised $500. Each year since, she has hosted a lemonade stand with free lemonade and snacks encouraging donations for heart-healthy charities. As of this year, she has raised over $170,000, split amongst Save a Child’s Heart, SickKids Hospital and the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
We’ve been working with Amanda to re-design her website in order to make it easier for people to see the incredible work she is doing and to offer an easy way to donate to one of the charities she supports. Amanda is an inspiration to us here at TLAC. We love that Amanda leads by example, and the way she has included her little brother Joshua in her fundraising efforts. Her whole family is doing a great job giving back to the community and we feel lucky to be a part of their team! Check out Amanda’s blog and learn more about what it’s like to win the Top 20 Under 20 Award at the age of fifteen.
We’re also lucky to have worked with Bronwyn Huffman, a young girl from Thunder Bay, Ontario diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia. We first learned of Bronwyn through an old friend of ours, Jenna Goodhand who was organizing some caring cards for Bronwyn while she received life-saving treatment for chemo-related heart failure at Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital. We were inspired by this and offered to do the printing and delivery of the cared to Bronwyn so she could decorate her room in the hospital and at the Ronald McDonald House where she was staying. As soon as she was able, Bronwyn visited us personally to thank us for our support. One of the highlights of our year!
We’re happy to report that Bronwyn is doing much better, these days. One year later, she’s moved with her family to Toronto to continue her medical care, and she’s living the life of a normal teenager. She has since worked with Gilda’s Club, and is about to make her documentary film debut!
We wish Bronwyn and her family the best of luck as they start their new life in the big city. This community is a great place for newcomers of all kinds, and we hope that they will start to enjoy all the places, people, and events that make a Toronto summer so special.
We think that the Toronto community is incredibly lucky to have heroines like these. It just goes to show — you don’t have to look to fiction to find people who inspire you to be your best self. All you have to do is meet your neighbours.