Mayo Moments

Friday, 29 June 2012


The tickets have gone to the printer and we are so excited!  Aren't they beautiful?!?!?  The wonderfully talented people at Chimpanzee created this for us and I just love it!  

Special thanks to The Printing House St. Catharines for rushing the printing for us.

There are SIX ways to purchase tickets to meet your needs
  • Tickets can be purchased for $10 each by using the Donate button at the top right and putting in the message section how many you would like, we will have them waiting for you at the door the night of the fundraiser.  
  • You can message me here via the blog
  • Via the facebook page at
  • You can contact me via email at
  • In person from any of our friendly helpers selling the tickets out and about in the community
  • At the door, the night of the event

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Friends are Wonderful!

I have heard it said, that you can't develop true friendships online - but I would have to disagree.  Being a busy mom of 5 who also happens to work full time, online friendships are sometimes the only ones I do have time for!

I "met" a wonderful lady named Stacy many moons ago via an online forum for moms in the Niagara Region. We both participated in the discussions there, maybe noticed we had some common thoughts and ideas, maybe chatted from time to time.  When she began her own photography business Stacy's Creations Photography all of the ladies on the forum for so excited and happy for her!  And many of us, myself included came out to support her and have our family pictures taken and to finally meet face to face.  
Of course the pictures were wonderful and every time we have gone back they are even better!  And I made a great friend in the bargain.

Well now, she has come up with a way to support me and my family.  Stacy has very generously offered to donate the proceeds of a fundraiser to Leah and another little girl.  Stacy will be booking "mini sessions" to occur on August 3rd in Chippewa Park with all the proceeds to be split between the lovely OJ and my Leah.  Take a look at the poster below and please book a session, I promise, you won't be disappointed!

Monday, 25 June 2012

Benefit for Leah

Many of you have asked and I FINALLY have details regarding the benefit for Leah!

Date:  Saturday July 21, 2012
Time: 7pm - 1am
Where: The Celtic Club, 14 Secord Drive St. Catharines

Tickets are $10, they can be purchased from a number of friends and family that will be selling them, leave us a message on the blog and we will contact you to arrange the purchase or purchase them online via this blog using the Donate button at the top right - in the notes section tell me how many tickets you want and they will be waiting for you at the door.  

There will be live music, lots of food, a silent auction, door prizes, raffles, games and lots of fun!

We have use of both the bar area and the hall, so if you want to sit and chat there is a place for that, but if you want to be in the thick of things enjoying the music and the games, there is space for that too!

Hope to see you all there!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Kindness of Strangers

I have always believed that everything happens for a reason. From every experience you receive at least one life lesson.  The biggest lesson I have received in the last month is about the kindness of strangers.  I know I touched on it in a previous post, but it truly has been a mind blowing, jaw dropping, eyes popping out of my head, emotional roller coaster.  

Do you remember the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon?  Well, what we have been experiencing lately is Six Degrees of Leah Balint.  It was through those degrees of separation that today's amazing events occured.
Today was the 2nd Annual Alivia's Rainbows Lemonade Sale.  Alivia's Rainbows is a charity started by Craig and Chantal Vanderklei in memory of their beautiful daughter who passed away from cancer. This charity helps support local pediatric oncology patients and their families with off-setting costs that may be a burden for families going through a difficult time.

This year, Craig and Chantal Vanderklei and the rest of the Alivia's Rainbows team very generously offered to share the proceeds of the Lemonade Sale with Leah.The Vanderkleis are close friends with the Tessiers.  The Tessiers are close friends with our family.

Today Kris Tessier,chose to spend her birthday holding a charity fundraiser. She and her family had spread flyers around the neighbourhood, the schools, spread the word among friends and team mates. They set up a table in their driveway, some comfy chairs for chatting, emptied out the lemonade freezer section at the local grocery store and settled down to sell some lemonade.  Well they didn't just sell some lemonade, they sold LOTS of lemonade to some very very generous and kindhearted people.  Just as people at the garage sale gave more than they had to, or stopped by just to donate, people came for no other reason than to make a donation.  They made time in their very busy days to drive out of their way to make a donation for two little girls that many have never even met!

And can you believe, that today our fundraising thermometer jumped by $300 due to the Lemonade Sale!  Thank you to everyone that came out to enjoy some yummy lemonade and great conversation.  Leah and our entire family greatly appreciate it!  To the Tessier and Vanderkleis families, I can not say thank you enough.

In another fabulous example of Six Degrees....a father of a friend of a daughter of my friend came to the sale. He was already familiar with Leah's situation, he had already read the blog (thank you )  and he came with one purpose in mind.  You see, earlier, he too was sick and searching for a diagnosis without luck.  He too had decided that the Mayo Clinic was going to be his chance for a diagnosis.  Amazingly, before he made the trip, he found the answers he needed.  Even more amazing, he and his family decided to donate the money he had put aside his trip to Leah!   I don't have the words I need to make you understand how grateful we are to this family.  When I received the news this afternoon, I was just like the people you see on TV...I was crying and my hands were shaking and I was speechless.  To the "M" family, please know we will pay this kindness forward in as many ways as we can.  Your generosity will never be forgotten. 

So kind readers, your life lesson of the day is to never underestimate the kindness of strangers.  Whether they be separated from you by 2, 6 or 60 degrees, their kindness will always surprise you!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012


Leah is many things; a daughter, sister and best friend.  She is a loving granddaughter and the annoying little cousin.  She is my Lou-Lou Belle, her daddy's Little Rose, Doodlebug to her older brothers and Yee-ah to her little brother.

Leah is a gymnast who can no longer train, an above average student who can barely make it to school, Leah is a patient who baffles her doctors.

She is sweet, quirky, kindhearted, quick to love and slow to anger.  

Leah loves having her back tickled, a good cuddle, great books and girly movies.  Her favourite colour is gold but also loves anything pink or purple.

She hates needles, bees, soup, applesauce and mushrooms.

Leah is my baking helper, a great swimmer and a trampoline fanatic.  Her side of the bedroom is never clean, her bed is filled with favourite toys and possessions, her desk is covered with drawings, colouring books and search a word puzzles.

She loves to wear dresses, but also enjoys rough and tumble, she has holes in the knees of most of her tights, leggings and pants.

Leah plays hard when she can and mourns for it when she can't.

Leah has an infectious giggle, a quick laugh and a silent cry that can break my heart.

In all things she is brave and strong, but she is also only 8 and is scared of the unknown.

Leah is all of these things an so much more.  But in some ways, over the last couple of years, she is less.  Her smile is not always so quick, she is forgetful, confused, so easily fatigued and therefore not as engaged in her own life.  And while she doesn't complain, she is missing so much of what it means to be a normal child, her world is shrinking and her experiences are being limited.

My greatest wish is the Mayo Clinic will find that magic answer for us, that when we leave, we will take with us the knowledge that will enable her to be a normal little girl again while she still is a little girl; time passes so quickly, and it is something she will never get back.  

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Garage Sale an AMAZING Success!

To every single person who stopped by the garage sale yesterday!  So many people asked about Leah, paid more than they had to, dropped extra money in the Loonies for Leah jar, took the flyers and cards to pass along to their friends.  And to the wonderful people who couldn't find anything to buy but pressed money into my hand or into the jar to help Leah, your kindness and generosity is greatly appreciated!

To all the the people who donated items for the garage sale; whether it was household goods, books, tables for it all to go on, baked goods, hot dogs and condiments: some of you friends or family, some of you I don't even know.  The generosity you have all shown is humbling and overwhelming.  The stunning success of the garage sale could not have happened without you!

Special thank yous to some very special people who went above and beyond to help us out:

Peggy - for all your hard work before we set up, for the loan of the tables, for your help picking up items, for baking the dog biscuits, for the sorting and arranging you did and your help at clean up.  For taking the time to take pictures for me and putting them on a CD for us.  If I have missed anything you did please know that every bit of help you gave us made the day even more successful and took a lot of weight off my shoulders!

Tara, Jeff and Abby Etling - for the tables, the donations, the baked goods you delivered, your help sorting cleaning, setting up and working the garage sale a huge thank you!)

To Karen (the Etling family's neighbour)  We have never even met, but you sent so many items for the bake table - all of which were sold and sold quickly!  Thank you for all the time and effort and your amazing generosity!

MaryLou Crumb and family - thank you for the hotdogs, condiments and generous donation!  It was so nice to finally meet you at the garage sale!

To two of my favourite people in the world Geoff and Joann Male, the awe inspiring amount of items you donated, your help, advice, love and support; THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Kris, Bernie, Sara and Megan Tessier - for staying up late the night before baking, for ransacking your house to bring donation items, for working at the garage sale, and everything you do every day to help Leah and I, you have our heartfelt thanks!

Valerie Azotini - for all the items you brought, for soliciting your friends and bringing even more and for all your help the day of the sale, a big thanks!

Stephanie May - for bringing all the contributions and the big tables, we really really appreciated it all!

To my wonderful family, Mom, Dad, Anne, Brandon, Amanda, Matthew, Christopher, Teresa, Paul, Connor, Bethany and Hannah.  For the hours and hours you spent helping us, the blood, sweat and yes, even tears that flowed, the aching feet, ankles and backs, for every broken nail, every hug, every giggle, laugh and spray of coke, for turning your vehicles into moving vans, for spreading the word, FOR EVERY LITTLE THING YOU DID TO HELP US, Leah and I offer you our humblest and sincerest gratitude.

and here is the part you have all been waiting for....

THE GRAND TOTAL raised at the Garage Sale/BBQ is     $1105!


Friday, 15 June 2012


July 21st is the date for Leah's Fundraising Event!  There will be food, drinks, games, silent auction, 50/50 tickets.  We are looking into music and all sorts of things to make it a "must attend event!"

More details will follow soon - but mark July 21st on your calendar!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

The Support just keeps pouring in!

Just when I started to feel overwhelmed by the amount of work still to be done, the days flying by and the uncertainty of it all, I received a few text messages.

1st text - Kays Variety on Thorold Rd in Welland, has agreed to place a Loonies For Leah jar on their counter!  Thank you so much!

2nd text - My good friend Alex took bags of Leah's Angels to work with her, and she sold a bunch!  So a big thank you to the staff of Re/Max Niagara Realty.

3rd text - My husband texted me to let me know his employer Telecom Computers has offered their help as well!  Thank you Mr. Davidson and the employees of Telecom Computer!
All of this plus the offers of donations for the garage sale, requests for angels and the emails and messages being sent to us offering help and support - simply wonderful!  We are truly blessed!

Watch for Leah in the news!  I am lucky to be friends with the owners of Chimpanzee - a creative communications agency.  
Profile Picture

They have very generously offered to assist us with a "media campaign" to get Leah's story out to the public.  With their help, we will be able to reach a broader range of people and companies for assistance, but also, just as important if not more so, it will get Leah's struggle with the health care system into the news and  get people talking.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

The Countdown is On!

In my head I keep thinking, we've got over two months to pull this all together, but looking at the countdown clock, we have 58 days!  Fifty-eight days to get all the insurance paperwork filled out, signed, and signed off by doctors, bureaucrats, and the powers-that-be.  Fifty-eight short days to raise the funds to even make this possible.  Yikes! Might need a stiff drink to get over the shock of that!

On the good news front, I had a bunch of girls over yesterday and somehow between all the giggling, screaming, eating, and rolling and bouncing of beads we made 200 angels!  A very big thanks to Gina, Avalon, Megan, Camille and Kaitlyn for spending your day off school with us!

Another special thank you goes out to Domenic's Diner at the corner of Merrittville Hwy and Hwy 20.  They very graciously agreed to place a "Loonies for Leah" donation jar on their counter! 

And to the ladies of Telecom Computers...thanks for buying so many angels!  I will re-stock Paul's supplies if you are interested in more.  :)

One week until the fundraiser garage sale.  If people doing their spring cleaning come across items you wish to contribute to the garage sale, just let me know and we can set up a time and date to have it picked up or dropped off!

If anyone would like a "Loonies for Leah" jar to place at their business or some Angels just let me know and we will arrange that as well.

As always
 to everyone for all the help, prayers and thoughts.  We couldn't do it without you!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Our First Donation!

A very big thank you to Darlene Lisle for being the first person to purchase a Leah's Angel!  In fact she bought two and gave a very generous donation, thank you again!

Leah's Angels are now officially on sale!  If you would like some to sell to friends, families, coworkers, please let me know.  We currently have the packaged into baggies containing 10 small angels and 5 large angels, their suggested donation is $1 and $2.

Due to some "extreme couponing" on my part, I have managed to accumulate 100 hotdogs, about 100 cans of pop and 100 freezies and fudgesicle-freezies (for under $30) to sell at the Garage Sale on June 16th!  So now I just need someone to donate the buns and condiments and we will be all set!  Anyone have connections with a grocery store??

Our middle daughter Hannah has been working with her friends on selling crafts at school and she is proud to announce that they have raised $36 so far!  Special thanks to Hannah, Annalynn, Gina, Camille, Katlyn, Sierra, Annalise, Avalon, Mikeala, Taylor, Erin and any other friends I forgot to mention!  :)

And to our wonderful friends and family who are working so hard to spread the word among their friends, you have our eternal gratitude!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Fundraisers gearing up!

A wonderful family friend has approached all the Catholic high school principals in our area asking them to participate in a Loonies for Leah event.  The event could be a special dress down day, a "buy out" day where they get to pay money to get out of last period, or something else that they come up with.  She also reached out to the principles of our family of Catholic elementary schools asking them to participate somehow too.  As well, friends of hers have offered to have Loonies for Leah jars put at their businesses!  So I am creating a flyer type letter to have along side the jars and will be sending along copies of the business card I created encouraging people to come to the website.

A wonderful little girl named Gina from Leah's school will be selling her handmade crafts at a garage sale this weekend with the proceeds going towards the Minnesota trip.  God continues to bless us with wonderful friends and we are so thankful!

Everyone in the Niagara area, please keep June 16th available, my mother will be hosting a fundraiser garage sale, lemonade stand, Leah's Angels table and (possibly)BBQ.  If you have clutter lying around your house that you would like to donate towards this event, please let me know, I will pick it up or it can be dropped off at my house.  We will also be debuting these banners that I made at  I LOVE that site!  :)

Friday, 1 June 2012

Leah's Appointment Schedule and Fundraising Update

Can you believe it?  They have already sent us a preliminary schedule of the first couple of days of Leah's visit!.
August 7, 2012 - Tuesday
Urine Test
7:45 AMDr. Amie E. Jones, Consultation
10:30 AMChest X-ray
11:00 AMElectrocardiogram
August 8, 2012 - Wednesday
7:00 AMBlood Tests 
7:45 AMAutonomic Test 
12:00 PMElectroencephalogram (EEG) 
August 9, 2012 - Thursday
8:45 AMKristi R. Luenzmann, M.A., L.P, Office Visit Department of Psychiatry and Psychology
2:45 PMDr. S. Kotagal, Consultation Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine

They have been in contatct with me via email, they also want to do a repeat MRI to follow up on the "abnormality" noted on her previous one.  Her first MRI found "evidence of nonspecific peritrigonal white matter changes."  We were told at the time that it wasn't a big deal, most people over the age of 50 have some sort of white matter change due to TIAs, migraines etc.  That never really sat well with me, so I am glad they plan on doing another one to see if there have been any changes.

On the fundraising front, things are full speed ahead.  Letters have been sent off to Doctors, Green Shield (our benefits provider), some Service Groups, Leah's school and a couple of other places.  Personal contact has been made with others.

My wonderful girls have been holding playground meetings and coming up with some plans of their own.  I hear there are keychains, bookmarks, necklaces and bracelets in the works.  Many school friends are bringing crafting supplies to school, hunkering down on recesses and lunches and crafting up a storm for Leah!  And they are very proud to announce that they already have some orders!

At home, we are busy creating Leah's Angels.

We hope to sell these in the school, garage sale, friends and family, Facebook, maybe a store will sell them at the cash register, I see no limits!  :)  A week from now is a school holiday, the girls will have their friends over and we are going to have an "Angel Making Bee".  I am sure there will be beads flying everywhere, but we will get lots done!  Many hands make light work, and they have all been so eager to pitch in and help.  We truly are blessed to have so many wonderful friends - big and small!

Another friend is pitching a "Loonies for Leah" drive at her work!  How awesome would that me if it caught on at other workplaces!?!?

As always, thanks for your thoughts, prayers and kind words.  The emails, phone calls and notes are so appreciated.