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.