International Day of Acceptance

International Day of Acceptance
International Day of Acceptance is a day dedicated to social acceptance of disability and to honor the late Annie Hopkins, founder of 3E Love, and creator of the International Symbol of Acceptance. We have children, parents, siblings, partners, coworkers, friends, neighbours, cousins, clients, teachers, and peers living their lives with disabilities, perhaps you are as well. Today is a day to take a step toward accepting and embracing what makes us different and diverse. See how you can make a difference and join the movement at

Who is Annie?

Annie Hopkins was amazing. She didn’t want you to think she was, but she was…
Annie was born into a world that tried to limit who she could be and what she could do. She grew up seeing her peers and role models with disabilities face discrimination daily, sometimes on purpose, and sometimes indirectly. Annie lived in a society where people with disabilities were not portrayed in the media as beautiful, able, or equal members of a community. She entered her teens knowing that she wasn’t expected to pursue a higher education or to live independently. She lived life knowing that strangers thought more about her disability and presumed life expectancy than they thought to say hello as she rolled by. Annie didn’t care. In fact, she was calculatedly reckless in how she chose to live, always pushing the boundaries of what people thought she could do and using her experiences to educate others…
Annie was everything a person hopes to be as a family, friend and community member. She was generous, courageous, and empathetic and she lived how people all wish to live. Annie embodied the very best spirit that humankind has to offer one another, and the world.
Annie Hopkins was an advocate, entrepreneur, artist, and student, who demonstrated what is possible when you love life.


In 2007, she recruited her brother Stevie to help her start a company to spread her message. She created 3E Love with the idea that her “Wheelchair Heart” symbol unified people of all abilities and it ignited conversations every day that would help change attitudes for the better. Her ideas didn’t stop there: she wanted to create a disability owned and disability operated social entrepreneurial endeavor that one day, would be successful, would further empowerment and would demonstrate what can be achieved with a positive love for life and changing perceptions.
Social acceptance is the key… not the pity and ignorance with which she grew up.
Embrace diversity. Educate your community. Empower each other. Love life!
Unfortunately, on January 20th, 2009, the survival of Annie’s message was threatened when she passed away from unexpected complications to a simple medical procedure. Overwhelming support from friends, family, and the disability community helped keep her ideals alive. Stevie Hopkins, her brother who helped her start 3E Love, took the reins and never looked back.

International Day of Acceptance

International Day of Acceptance began in the beginning of 2010. Stevie and his family were not looking forward to the Chicago winter, the snow, and everything else that would remind them of losing Annie. 3E Love and Annie’s message had become Stevie’s primary source of strength and hope during the first year after Annie’s passing, and so he had the idea to change January 20th from a day that represents sadness and loss to a day that represents Annie’s message of empowerment and loving life. If people all over the world would embrace their challenges and accept others no matter their ability, Annie’s message and lifestyle would be alive forever. People on the internet from all over the world responded positively and got everyone they knew involved. Even if they did not own one of our t-shirts to wear, or could not afford temporary tattoos or stickers, they drew the symbol on their hand, made homemade posters, posted about it on social networks, and did everything they could to show the world that they were a part of this acceptance movement. January 20th would now and forevermore be an International celebration to celebrate Annie’s life, her ideas, and the 3E Love movement instead of mourning her loss.
Tell the world that you are accepting of people with disabilities. As our parents, siblings, relatives, spouses, children, lovers, coworkers, teachers, personal assistants, friends, and anyone else – you also have a role in our culture and life. You can start change by demonstrating acceptance and showing the world that you embrace people of all abilities.

Start the conversation of acceptance today!

* Change your Facebook profile to the International Day of Acceptance logo
* Post the logo to your Facebook wall
* Tweet, share, forward this post
* Draw the wheelchair heart logo on your hand and let people know your message
Reposted with permission from 3ELove

PA Day Fun for November 21


Looking for something fun for the kids to do this Friday, November 21 while they’re home from school? We have a few ideas!

Mad Science at White Oaks Mall

Head to the Jalna North Court from 11:00am to 12:30pm to learn about Optical Illusions and again from 1:00pm to 2:30pm for Fun-damental Forces.

Children’s Museum Day Camp

Drop the kids off for a full day of fun from 8:30am to 5:00pm where they will be learning about becoming a zoologist with Amazing Animals! Pizza lunch is offered at an additional cost. Email or call 519-434-5726 for more information.

Museum London: A Story of Canadian Art

Museum London has an exciting and educational day planned for children ages 6 through 12, from 8:30am to 4:30pm. Kids will be exploring the museum and getting hands on as they create their own art inspired by Emily Carr, Group of Seven, and David Milne. Cost is $45 per child. Register HERE.

Stoney Creek YMCA Day Camp

The Stoney Creek YMCA has an all-day camp for children 3-12 years old. Find the registration form HERE or call 519-453-8858 for more information.

London Public Libraries

Byron Library (auditorium), 2:30pm to 4:00pm: Family Movie, drop-in for families

Byron Library, 2:30pm to 3:30pm: Button making, drop-in, ages 5+

Carson Library (meeting room), 2:30pm to 4:00pm: Family Movie, drop-in for families

Central Library (children’s section), 10:00am to 4:00pm: Project Art Day, drop-in for families

Central Library (TDCT children’s program room), 1:00pm to 2:00pm (English), 2:00pm to 3:00pm (French): NFB of Canada’s short films for children, drop-in for families

Cherryhill Library (Sam Katz Room), 2:30pm to 4:00pm: Family Movie, TICKETS REQUIRED available at the branch now

Crouch Library, 10:30 to 11:30am: Family and Friends Puppet Show,drop-in, children with caregiver

Crouch Library, 2:00pm to 5:00pm: Get Your Game On, drop-in, ages 7+

East London (Rotary Meeting Room), 2:30pm to 4:00pm: LEGO Creation Station, drop-in, ages 4-12 with caregiver

Pond Mills (meeting room A&B), 2:30pm to 4:00pm: LEGO Creation Station, drop-in, ages 4-12 with caregiver

Stoney Creek Library, 10:00am to 4:00pm: Rhyming and Finding Scavenger Hunt, drop-in for families

Westmount Library, 2:30pm to 3:30pm: Craft Time, drop-in for families

** See branches for more information

A Happy Mother’s Day Wish

A Happy Mother’s Day Wish

By Jill Ritchie

Like mother, like daughter….

As mothers we all hope that our sons’ and daughters’ childhoods will be filled with happy times so that when they look back on them in twenty, thirty or forty years later their memories will bring a smile to their face that they were wanted and that they were loved.

While helping my own mother do some Spring cleaning I came upon this home made mother’s day card that I had given her many years ago. The card had been carefully stored away amongst my mother’s most precious love letters sent to her from my dad during their courtship and through their marriage of fifty five years.

Although these were her collection of memories they were also mine. My mother raised eight children and had a loving husband to whom she was devoted. She is a strong woman who at the age of eighty five years gives me strength.

Dear Mom – here are some special memories I would like to share with you on “Mother’s Day”. I have so many, these are but a few.

The night you let me stay up late when we lived in Port Stanley and I had my very first piece of pizza!

The bowl of miniature marshmallows after Sunday School and the pop and chips on Saturday nights.

The day you bought me two new pairs of socks when we lived on Wilson Avenue.

The day you comforted me when I went to a birthday party on Pullen Avenue to which I wasn’t even invited.

All the Barbie doll clothes you made for my dolls.

The day we walked to downtown St. Thomas to have our pictures taken. It felt like such a great adventure.

The mornings you would give us a kiss as we left for school.

The time I broke my ankle and you sat with me all night. I felt like I was your only child.

The outfit you made me for my first play – a flower child.

The day you made the best box lunch for my guide troop and everybody wanted it. It was my first night with the new troop.

The dresses you always made me for the first day of school and for Friday night dances.

School sport day at Springbank Park and the delicious lemon squares you made for us that day.

The day I ran home from school when the Home Economics teacher yelled at me. It was the middle of winter and I was running home through the snow in socks and no coat– I was hysterical, but you calmed me down and gave me the courage to go back.

The night of my Grade 8 graduation – for being there and for the dress you made, and for letting me get my hair done. I felt beautiful that night.

The first day of Grade 9 I was so scared and nervous that I made myself sick and couldn’t go – You were so patient and understanding.

The time the whole family, all nine of us went camping in that little trailer and boat, what a blast that was.

The night of my Grade 12 graduation – we went out dancing to the ‘Noodle Factory’. All eyes were on you and dad while you danced in each other’s arms. My friends were so envious of me. Oh how I wish that I could see you dance together again.

The first legal drink of rum I had was with you, it was New Years Eve and I wore that shimmering halter dress which made me look like Cher.

The day my first son was born– you were at my side.

The teddy bear you gave him when he was hospitalized for 3 weeks. He slept with it for years until it fell apart.

Dec 9, 1982 I opened my dresser drawer, you had left a birthday card and present for me. You were in the hospital having breast cancer surgery, but you had thought of me.

And then three years later I woke up from my own breast surgery – you were there!

The wonderful talks we had at night when we sat on the back patio after I moved back home with my son.

The day we did pickling in the torrential rain while we were camping and where we shared so many seasons creating family memories.

Our amazing trip to Ottawa! You, me, dad and baby number five in utero. The last trip the three of us had together. So much laughter was shared.

Motherhood never ends, we just pass it on so it will continue to grow.

Love you Mom forever and always.

Meet and Greet with Dr. Laura!

Meet and Greet with our very own

Ask the Expert Chiropractor, Dr. Laura Gravelle

Wednesday May 26th 6:30-7:30pm.

Dr. Laura in the community!

Dr. Laura is at Downtown Yoga Holistic Centre ( 236 Dundas street, London) presenting an engaging workshop “Raising Healthy Families in 2010″.  This event will cover many hot HEALTH topics including:  stress, nutrition, activity level, chronic diseases, over medication, attention difficulties and many others relevant to the family. Come out for an enlightening evening to learn simple tools we can implement to improve the health of the family.

There is no charge for this workshop.

This event will also highlight the great gifts Downtown Yoga Holistic Centre has to offer.

First 10 registered guests get their name entered to win

a basket valued at over $100.00.

Email to pre-register.
Dr. Laura Gravelle

Yours in Health!

Using a Your Own Real Estate Professional to Purchase a New Build Home.


By Kathy Mendham-Meathrel 

Recently I had clients who after many home viewings were unable to find anything that fit there desires for their next home. So I suggested to my client that we should consider expanding our search to include new home builds. 

They were surprised to hear this advice, since they, like many other buyers incorrectly believed that they could not use my services if they purchased a new build. This is a common misconception since in fact you can and should use the real estate professional of your choice when you are considering any move including a new home build. 

If you have ever attended a model home open house the person running it is not always a licensed real estate professional, but can include a person who is working for the builder to sell their houses. It is not well known but you do not need to use this individual to get your home built. Although once you’ve attended an open house and recorded your name in the ‘guest book’ you are usually stuck with who ever the builder has provided. 

The advantages of choosing your own Real Estate professional are numerous, some of which are listed below: 

1) Your Real Estate professional is working for you and not the builder.

2) Private showings of most model homes can be arranged to meet your schedule.

3) One contact person to deal with all of the various builders in a development.

4) New house price is typically set, however the cost of upgrades can sometimes be negotiated.

5) Independent advice on terms & conditions of purchase before you signed and before your spend money on a lawyer. 

Kathy Mendham-Meathrel

Sales Representative

Realty Executive Elite Ltd

7-515 Wellington Rd S,

London, ON


The Birth Of A Doula

By Jill Ritchie

I believe my birthing journey as a doula actually began a long time ago, when in my own infant days I would receive comfort from my mother’s skin as I lay suckling at her breast, listening to the sound of her heart beat as she held my swaddled body in her arms. I have early memories of my mother’s nurturing touch as she would gently lay cool cloths across my feverish brow. My mother would always know what I needed before I did. She had a quiet presence about her and I always knew she was close by.
I was also fortunate to have the camaraderie of sisterhood, which has been ever present in my life. Memories of early morning giggles to late night story telling are still etched in my mind. My sisters taught me how to listen, how to advocate, and how to believe in myself. The wonderment of their friendship still brings tears of happiness trickling down my cheeks.
The birth of my two younger brothers was another major milestone in my birthing journey. I was old enough to truly appreciate the miracle of life, to experience the joy of holding a newborn in my arms, and to also experience the patience needed to comfort the cries of a little one. I loved my baby brothers.
In my youth I took care of many other families’ children. Most of those children had wonderful loving mothers and fathers. However, one family was not so lucky and I learned early in life that there are women and children out there who need someone to listen to them and give them support so they can become stronger and more able to cope.
Some of my most amazing memories in my journey would be the birth of my own children. So many memories of moments spent cuddling, rocking, holding tiny hands as they took their first steps. I remember long walks in the park, consoling their cries, playing peek-a-boo games, first days at school, first dates, first cars and still so many more firsts to come.
Another powerful memory was that of three women in a postpartum ward: one a young teen mom, one a Polish immigrant woman who spoke no English and one a middle aged first time mom. Each of them reached out to me, not with their arms, but with their eyes and their tears. They were looking for guidance, reassurance and knowledge. They were looking for someone who cared.
My journey has had many twists and turns and just like in the birth of a baby, once baby gets past that turn in the birth canal, so too could I complete my journey that had been set in motion the day I was born. Those turns would include the death of a very precious baby girl and the passing of my father who mentored me through life, taught me about family values and showed me that it is always far more rewarding to give than to receive in life. It was during this time of losses in my journey that my spirituality was born. I thank God daily for the strength he gives me and for the guardian angels that he has blessed me with that help guide me in my journey.
My birth as a doula has been an incredibly awesome journey. I am so grateful that this was the path that was chosen for me to take on the day that I was born. As long as there are arms reaching out to me, I will be reaching back.
Life is all about family!

Jill Ritchie, Mom of 5
Certified Birth & Postpartum Doula,
 Lamaze Childbirth Educator,
Newborn Massage Instructor,
Happiest Baby On The Block Instructor,
Babeeze In Arms Doula Centre

Spring into Gardening and Wellness


Spring has arrived, gardens are planted and life has begun again.  It is wonderful to watch everyone excited and full of life with children out playing and laughing, families out for walks, and joggers beginning their spring training. Of course we cannot forget that we all return to our garden and help it with its wellness journey for the season.  Here are some helpful hints that we tend to forget about when it comes to the long hours that we spend in the yard;

    1. If it is too heavy, ask for some help.

    2. Bend with your knees

    3. Keep objects that you are lifting, close to your body

    4. Save your knees with a kneeling pad

    5. If you can move the planter close to you and avoid leaning forward

As life begins again this is the best time to remember the true essence of what chiropractic care has to offer.  When we stop to acknowledge the innate wisdom of the seasons, that provides life this time of year, we must stop to reflect on this same        magnificent power within us as well.  The nerve system functions to provide life to ALL of our cells, to keep them working constantly     reorganizing and restructuring our bodies.  It is this life and power that assist our cells in continually replacing themselves.  Literally we are made with brand new cells every minute. As old cells die, new ones are reborn.   Reflecting on this cycle is inspiring.  Our   bodies are literally changing as we speak.  A clear, optimally functioning nervous system with no interference provides our cells with this power.  Subluxation represents stored   potential   energy in our systems which interfere with nerve    system function.  An adjustment helps the body change this potential or stored energy, into usable and accessible energy for our cells to function.  Remember, for life and growth to continue, we need energy and power.  With decreased power, every single cell’s function is compromised.  When I admire the growth around us at this time of year, the young leaves, new sprouts, and spring flowers, I reflect on the wondrous vessel that the   human body is and what a job it has to do.  Spring means life and life includes chiropractic adjustments!  

Gravelle Chiropractic is offering a free nerve scan consult to any LM who PM’s Dr. Laura prior to June 15th!  



It is still alarming to me when I hear that someone has never experienced a massage.  With the hectic pace of life and stresses we are constantly encountering, massage is one of the best resources available to help combat the negative effects of stress.  Stress and illness go hand in hand.  Think of stress as a precursor to illness.  When faced with stress our bodies can release hormones that will decrease circulation. If circulation slows, digestion will also slow. Under stress our heart will work harder and our breathing will become shallow.  

Through massage every body system receives benefits that will reverse the effects of negative stress. 

  1. Immune
    Massage aids in lymphatic drainage. This is important because lymph is a fluid that is responsible for the removal of toxins and waste within our bodies. Lymph will travel to lymph nodes located in various regions of our bodies, where the waste will be filtered and eliminated.  
  1. Circulatory
    Through the applied pressure used in massage, local circulatory changes take place.  Arterial blood provides oxygen and nutrients, while venous blood eliminates carbon dioxide and other metabolites. Improved circulation is then vital for normal body function.  
  1. Nervous
    Massage has the ability to relax or stimulate our autonomic nervous system. Commonly we recognize this systems as sympathetic (“fight or flight”) or parasympathetic (“rest and digest”). 
  1. Endocrine
    This system is our hormonal system.  
    Massage can increase the following neurotransmitters;
    • Dopamine-helps with focus and fine movements
    • Serotonin-helps regulate mood and the feeling of relaxation
    • Oxytocin-connected and intimate feeling (bonding)


  1. Respiratory
    By massaging muscles of respiration, rib cage expansion will increase, therefore increasing breathing capacity. Massage also loosens mucus which will in turn promote airway clearance. 
  1. Muscular
    Massage directly manipulates muscle tissue. Through this massage can decrease muscular tension, spasm and pain. All of these will improve mobility and function within the muscle. 
  1. Skeletal
    Our joints in our body are vital for movement. A Massage Therapist would be able to improve joint motion by reducing tension in the muscles surrounding the joints or through loosening the joint capsule (fibrous tissue that binds the joint). Indirectly through the increase of circulation, joint nutrition will be supplied and therefore more lubrication within in the joint allowing for greater range of motion. 
    With all these benefits, massage whether it is relaxation or treatment-based, is a valuable part of an individual healthy lifestyle.


By Rosanne Gross RMT

Got Income?

Think back over the last year for a moment … what did you spend $10,000 on?   

A small few of you may have spent this on a vacation or two, maybe started a renovation or faced a big repair, or potentially purchased another vehicle.  A larger number of you may have spent this on daycare or on the regular stuff you need to live like clothing, food and some fun.  The one thing that I’ll bet MOST of you have spent this much on in the last year is your families income tax … and I’ll also bet that very few of you know exactly how much you did spend (without needing to go look!). 

Think about this for just one more minute … the average family with a total combined income of around the $60,000 mark for both partners will spend at least $10,000 each and every year from now until retirement … if your family income is $100,000 you’ll spend around $25,000 combined … is there anything else you spend this much money on each and every single year that you devote so little time or know not everything about?? 

At this time of year I’m as happy as the next person that tax filing is now generally over for another season.  There have been lots of significant changes over the past few years and it can be hard to stay on top of them all.  Having said that there are a few things to consider and think about now to try and lower the number for your family over the next year – all of which means that next April you’ve got more cash left over to spend on the things that don’t make you cringe.   

  1. The most significant way to lower your families tax bill is to reduce your taxable income.  This doesn’t necessarily mean earning less money – it instead means spending some of your income on things that give you a tax break while offering other benefits.


    The most common and easy thing to do, with one of the biggest advantages from both a tax and savings perspective for most people, is to contribute as much as you can to your RRSP.  A $20/week contribution will save you $210 minimum in tax each year plus the money you invest will grow without tax until retirement (and yes – even in this environment the money will grow in the right investments).  You can even double up and use your tax refund to make an extra contribution to your RRSP which makes next year’s refund even bigger.  Other types of deductions right off the top include your childcare expenses, your business expenses, professional membership fees / dues and even certain investments.  If you’re an employee who pays or incurs costs in the course of doing your job consider discussing with your employer the ability to have them complete a T2200 form which allows you to deduct these costs from your income.   
  1. Once you’ve reduced your taxable income as low as you can manage, think about things that offer credits like any courses you’ve taken over the last year (that cost more than $100 in total); like the sports activities you enrol your children in; like the medical expenses you paid for that weren’t reimbursed; and like the donations you make to various charities.  All of these outlays will generally return you around 21 cents for each dollar spent.  While they aren’t the biggest or best tax break they do offer a little something so save all those receipts!


  1. If you’ve made those RRSP contributions and spent all you can on the possible credits and still find yourself with money left over for other investments consider the types of income you’ll be earning from these non-registered accounts.  Stocks that pay dividends are the best type of investment from a tax perspective because dividend income is taxed more favourably than any other type of income.  Interest income from bonds and GIC’s is taxed just like employment income which gets no favourable treatment so if you’re inclined to lean towards these types of investments outside your RRSP consider holding them inside a Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA). 


  1. If your family is still getting a big refund you don’t know what to do with each year, consider filing a request every October with Canada Revenue Agency to have your employer reduce the amount of tax they’re withholding from your paycheque.  CRA will approve your request if you regularly claim childcare deductions, make RRSP contributions (on-top of anything you contribute through your employment), or have other types of regular deductions from your taxable income.  It’s always better to hold onto your money each month than it is to ask CRA to be your bank and only refund your money once each year.


Finally, and most importantly, don’t be afraid of anything related to income tax.  The rules can be complex and are constantly changing but at the end of the day it’s your money ….and chances are good it’s LOTS of your money … so take the time to research, learn and understand what’s included in your returns and what you can do to limit what you’re spending on tax each year. 


Jane Monteith – Accountant

Is Childbirth Education Really Worth It?

By: Shawna Lewkowitz, M.Ed, CD(DONA), CPD(CAPPA), LCCE


Congratulations on your pregnancy. Being pregnant is an exciting time in a woman or couple’s life and it is also a time where you are transitioning into becoming parents. It is important that you take the time to plan for this transition and to find the answer to questions and concerns you may have about your pregnancy, birth and postpartum period.


A question some  pregnant couples have is “Do I really need to take Childbirth Education classes?” The answer is a resounding yes as research has shown that childbirth education has an impact on both your birth experience and your transition into new parenthood.  By taking preparation classes you will gain a better understanding of the birth process and be better able to manage your labour, all the while making informed choices. Each birth is unique and although we can learn a lot by talking to friends and reading books. we also need to make sure the information we are getting is evidence based and that we have the tools to take this information and apply it to our  own experiences. This is what good childbirth education does.


When looking for a class some of the things you may want to consider are:

  1. Are the educators trained or certified and what is their experience around birth?
  2. Is the class consumer oriented – meaning that it provides an array of alternatives for birth planning while giving you the benefits and risks of all your options?
  3. How large is the class? Some people prefer learning in a large group environment where they can hear a lot of different perspectives from the other participants, while others will prefer a smaller setting where they can ask more questions, do more hands on practicing and the pace can be more relaxed.
  4. Timing of the classes? Some classes are offered as 5 or 6 weeks series while others are offered in a weekend format.


There are a variety of styles, settings and trainers out there so often it is quite easy to find the one that is right for you. Ask friends for recommendations search the internet and call and speak to the organizations offering the classes.  The best time to start looking into classes is early in your pregnancy and that way you will ensure you have a spot in the class you want for sometime during your third trimester.


 Good childbirth education is more then just receiving information it is time for you to reflect on choices, take inventory of your current coping strategies and to work together with your birth partner to envision the birth experience you would like to have. Like everything else with your pregnancy, you want to take the time to ask questions, do your research and then make the best decision for your unique birth.