In Part 2 of this blog series, we travel to the seminar room at 1920 Rogers Drive. This room is mainly used for staff meetings, as well as when National committees and the National Board of Directors have face-to-face meetings. But it’s what hangs on the walls that give you a glimpse into Kin history.
A portrait of Kevin Denbok hangs on the back wall because he was the first honourary Kin member, given the title in 1982. Denbok had cystic fibrosis and was a singer and songwriter, inspiring many Kin and our fellow Canadians with his passion for life and his determination to spread awareness of cystic fibrosis. He spoke many times about the disease and the need to raise funds to find a cure. In 1986, Denbok passed away but fundraisers are still held in his honour.
During one of his inspirational interviews, he said the following about how he felt about having cystic fibrosis.
“I was asked a question last week when I was out in the Maritimes singing, and I was asked if I was frustrated, if I felt bitter about the fact that I have cystic fibrosis. And I looked at the person and said ‘If somebody told you that you had a week left to live, you would take that week and you would do everything you ever wanted to do.’ And in a way I see myself like that. I was given somewhat of an idea, of what it was I wanted to do, I was given an idea of how much time I had, and I’ve just made the most of it. The only thing that I can think of right now that I would still like to do, is to live.”You can watch this interview with Denbok online.
|Moving to the left of Denbok’s portrait is another man who continues to inspire Canadians across the country, Rick Hansen. The photo of Hansen was signed when he was honoured at a public reception at Kin Canada. It reads, “To all Kinsmen and Kinettes, Thank you for your support in helping to make my dream a reality.”
During Hansen’s Man in Motion tour to raise money and awareness of spinal cord injuries in the 80s, Kin Canada clubs across the country held events to support his cause. By the end of his tour, our clubs donated more than $500,000.
In 2011, the Kin Canada Foundation awarded Rick Hansen with a Hal Rogers Fellow. The Hal Rogers Fellow is given to those who have made a significant contribution to the community or the country, of which Hansen continues to do to this day.
The photos of Rick Hansen and Kevin Denbok are just two pieces of Kin that we proudly display in our seminar room. They’re a constant reminder of our rich history and will no doubt continue to light the fire of Kin Canada members in the years to come.