Friday, April 11, 2014

Leading by Example

In my previous blog...Sparks of Recollections,  I referred to Robbie Croft a Grade Eight student I'd had several years ago. He became a recognized man who “gave back to his community” upon his return to the Hamilton/Burlington areas.  A day or so following his death, Steve Milton of the Spectator  wrote ~

Bob Croft: a Warrior and a Gentleman

Football gives this city its national identity, but the most accurate gauge of Hamilton's sporting pulse is on the hard court.  Championship teams and stars at every available turn ~ amateur, high school, college and university ~ over multiple generations;  bitter sweaty rivalries remembered for decades; rabid pockets of lifelong fans weaned on local legends. 

And there was no more poignant symbol of Hamilton basketball than Bob Croft. He was the first Canadian player to earn a scholarship to a major American basketball college, died Sunday at an unfair age.  Until he entered hospital in November with a broken hip that led to infection complications, Croft was still involved in the game, working on the basketball staff at Redeemer University College after long contributing to the Silver Fox Tournament, helping little ACTM to school championships and working one-on-one with individual coaches.

“He loved giving back to the game,” said Jean Bennie, Croft's wife of 25 years. “It brought him a lot of satisfaction and joy.  I didn't know Bob when he played basketball, but I think you could say that he was a warrior on the court and a gentleman off it.  He had a will to win!  He talked to the boys he coached about that, but he was gentle and kind and considerate off the court.”

The Gentle Giant, they called him.  Six-foot 10 when 'tall' didn't begin to describe that kind of height, with hands soft enough to make free throw after free throw, but to the local basketball community, weathered to enough to fight off bulkier, dirtier players under the hoop, “He could shoot the lights out,” recalls George Gresko, now a Hamilton lawyer but in the mid 1960's a guard with Croft at Hill Park, which had the best team in the city.  “If they played a normal game, Bob dominated...but the other coaches would try to freeze the ball.  Sometimes, they would try to beat the heck out of him under the basket.”  In Croft's last high school year, Hill Park won the provincial title. 

Bob was the absolutely consummate sportsman 
who respected decorum and the rules.
(The foregoing are excerpts from the complete article)

Ways to Give Back...

“Success just isn't a's a Responsibility.
Businesses can make a difference by giving back”
 (Eric Ripert, Celebrity Chef)

Donate what  you can't use.
Teach an organization to maintain its own website or handle its book-keeping.
Fund-raise as a team ~ the more specific the cause, the more likely, people are to participate.
Participate in a fund-raising may gain a long-time customer.
Create a win-win partnership with specific products or services.
Use your platform as a business leader to draw attention to a cause.

Good Reasons to Give Back

You don't have to be rich to make a difference.
Whether you donate money or time,
giving back is beneficial ~ and not just for the recipients.
(Warren Buffet)

The Around the Bay Road Race...Sunday, March 30, 2014

Begun in 1894, and the oldest organized road race in North America, this was the 120th continual-running 30 kilometre road race. Proceeds support St. Joseph's Healthcare. Over 12,000 runners participated in this event yesterday.

Drew Edwards of the Hamilton Spectator interviewed 5 runners prior to the race...asking them, “Why are you running Around the Bay?”  Boyd Dunleavey, age 39, stated, “To Say Thanks.”

In 2011, Boyd was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia and was given a 10% of survival.  On Sunday, he'll run 30 kilometres.  The 39-year-old London resident is returning to Hamilton to participate in the Around the Bay race as his way of saying 'Thank You' to the legions of people who have helped him through his remarkable three-year-recovery.  It includes his family...the Canadian Cancer Society volunteers who drove him back and forth to London to the Juravinski Cancer Centre in Hamilton for treatment...and the doctors and health-care professionals who cared for him.
“I want to come back and run Around the Bay
because the City of Hamilton helped save my life.
I just wanted to thank the community.”
Then  there's the people at who found him the stem-cell donor in 2012 who saved his life and the donor himself, an American serviceman who was based in Japan at the time.  Also, on his mind, the countless people he met while in treatment...some of whom lost their lives to cancer. “When you're sick, you make friends who pass away and it weighs on you. But you need to keep going as a way to honour them.” 

It was the fight against cancer that got him into running. After a couple of his friends ran marathons to raise funds for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada, Dunleavey started to get involved himself, first with shorter races then as his  health improved, with longer races.  This winter he joined a London running group training for Around the Bay. 

“Running has been amazing,” he says. “Runners are positive people ~ it's been great to be around them.”  For him, the day will be...One Long Expression of Gratitude!”
“A lot of people don't come back to say Thank You...
I think it's important  to do that,” he says.

Research has shown that the old adage,
It is better to give than to true, after all.

Scripted by Merle Baird-Kerr...March 31, 2014
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