All you need is desire

At the end of October, I was contacted by the “Fédération des parents francophones de l’Alberta” (FPFA) and was pleasantly surprised to learn that I was one of the recipients of the “Manon Bouthillier Prize” for 2022. Members of the FPFA (individual schools, school boards, school councils, parent councils and parents of francophone in Alberta) nominate volunteers who are engaged, involved and passionate about francophone education in Alberta.

While flattered, I initially wasn’t sure I deserved the recognition. I didn’t understand what I had done as a school volunteer that was so impactful in furthering French education in Alberta. It was only when I learned why I was nominated that I could see how I did so.

As you likely know, I have been actively involved with Terry Fox School Runs since 2018. However, the recognition is specifically for 2019 onwards. That was the year I was diagnosed with terminal cancer and I offered to speak to the students at the school my kids attend about Terry Fox and his legacy. After all, I know a LOT about living with cancer, I speak French and my children attend the school. English schools have access to a number of cancer patient speakers. Unbeknown to me, the pool of francophone cancer patient volunteer speakers is virtually non-existent. I happened to fill that void.

Unfortunately, I was not available to receive the Award in person at the 35th FPFA symposium on November 5, 2022. It was today, just before my kids did their holiday performances, that the school principal had a chance to give me the plaque. The timing seemed so very fitting: December is the month of giving.

I have been beaming all day. It’s not the Award itself that makes me feel so proud; it’s knowing that every time my children see it displayed at home, they remember that giving can be done in many different ways. The only thing they need to have is desire.

If you also think I am deserving of this award, feel free to buy me a coffee or contribute towards some of my uninsured medical expenses.

14 Replies to “All you need is desire”

  1. It is such an inspiration. At a time you were in dire needs yourself, you continued to give! I am proud to call you my friend. God bless!

  2. Congratulations Natalie! How terrific to be recognized. I’m sure many students and teachers are benefiting from your honesty and insights!

  3. What a beautiful and well-deserved recognition of what you wife given to the French school community in Alberta. It’s a strong and vibrant community that many outside of Alberta don’t know about. Your gift of time and sharing your story is special and sure to leave a lasting impact on the lives of students and staff. Your two children have a lot to be proud about when it comes to their mother 💖 Hoping that all the love and positive energy you put out is sent back to you tenfold. xoxo

  4. Congratulations Natalie. Well deserved. Glad you are recognized for your dedication and giving nature. Félicitations Mon amie. Super fière de toi. Je suis convaincu que tes enfants le sont aussi.

  5. My dear Natalie,
    You embody Terry Fox’s words:
    “I just wish people would realize that anything’s possible if you try; dreams are made possible if you try.”

    You are showing us how to live
    You are giving your children the best gift a mother can give them, how to be strong, how to live each day to the fullest
    You have put more life into your years than most of us will ever do just a fraction of.
    Thank you for being you

    1. Thanks Marilyn! I’m sorry for the delay. I’ve somewhat neglected my blog. But I’m excited to be launching a new project. I hope you read my next blog!

  6. Natalie, I am so honored to know you as a person and a good friend. You are a legacy for so many, not just your children.

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