A place to turn


Cindy with her familyIt was  Christmas 2008. My husband Chris had been complaining of a really sore leg and it wasn’t getting any better.

On Boxing Day, I took him to the walk-in clinic and they told us he had an infection, which wasn’t anything new. As a Type 2 diabetic, Chris had experienced leg infections before.

The next day his leg was still sore, so we decided it would be best if he spent the day in bed. That night, when it was time to put my kids Zack and Holly to bed, we went in for a goodnight kiss from daddy. As soon as I turned on the light I knew something was wrong.

Chris was lying in a position that was not his norm so I went around the bed, still carrying Holly. That’s when I saw that his skin was blue and he wasn’t breathing. That was when my whole world fell apart.

I called 911 and administered CPR, which I’d never done in my life. I was panicking, Holly was panicking. Then came the sirens, and the paramedics. When the chaos of that night subsided, I realized that Chris was gone from us forever.

I never thought something like this would happen to me. One moment I was happily married with two kids, two incomes, a house and a future.

Then I was organizing my husband’s funeral. I was lost, alone and numb. I didn’t know where to turn, or what to do next. We didn’t have insurance. Because Chris had diabetes, he could only get insured as long as we were willing to pay an outrageous amount on a monthly basis and we couldn’t afford that.

Without Chris’s income, there was no way I could afford to send Zack and Holly – preschoolers at the time – to their home daycare, which made it impossible for me to go to work.

Give Now - make a donation onlineI turned to a United Way agency partner. They came to the house. They really just kind of took over and answered questions I didn’t even know I had. They set me up with in-home daycare so I could get back to work and then helped me find subsidized daycare. That was a huge help. So is the grief counselling my kids and I continue to receive to this day.

It hasn’t been an easy journey for us. Not a day goes by where we don’t miss Chris, our very funny, loving, talented, and caring father and husband. But, with your support, we are learning to move beyond our grief, to cherish the memories, and to embrace all the joys and adventures that lie ahead of us.

We couldn’t have done it—financially, emotionally and physically—without people like you, who care enough to support United Way year after year.

United Way. I always thought—why should I support them? I’ll never need those services. I’m not a teenager, a runaway, or a young adult in bad company—all the things I once believed United Way was about.

But I’ve come to realize that United Way is for anyone at any time. It’s such a benefit for the community, for your neighbour, for you, your child. You just never know when you might need help.

Not only am I living proof of that, I’m proud to be a United Way donor. I hope you’ll join me and make a commitment to a stronger, safer, healthier community.