Pictured above: David McLean sits on the memorial bench made in honour of his wife Joanne (supplied)
We love writing about people in our community and you love reading about them. This year’s most-read stories have something in common―perseverance.
From slogging through knee-deep snow in mid-January to erect a memorial, to fighting Lyme disease, to spending a year halfway around the world in someone else’s life, to retiring after a 50-year career, we offer this recap of your favourite community stories from 2019.
(Click on the links at the end of each section to read the original stories.)
A testament to true love: David McLean honours his late wife with a long-lasting tribute
Joanne McLean, co-owner of Soapstones and founder of the Enliven Centre for Well-Being in Cancer, died in July 2018 after a four-and-a-half-year battle with cancer. She and her husband, David, had many discussions about her wishes.
One of her wishes was to be cremated and for a tree to be planted on top of her ashes to fertilize the tree, essentially.
In looking for a suitable location, David learned about the memorial tree plantings at the Dyer Memorial Forest, a property that is overseen by the Muskoka Conservancy. Although they don’t allow for ashes there, the McLeans still opted to have a tree planted in Joanne’s name.
In his time at Dyer Memorial, David noticed that there was nowhere on the property to sit. And it so happened that another of Joanne’s desires was a memorial bench.
Living with Lyme disease: one woman’s story
Simone Barnard’s honest account of her efforts to be diagnosed with and get treatment for Lyme disease was educational, hopeful and often times very sad.
“I was misdiagnosed with fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, cluster headaches, allergies, et cetera,” said Barnard. “Over the years I kept developing new and odd cognitive and physical symptoms, however I never put them all together. Before Lyme [disease]I was a go-go-go person. I had recently graduated university, while raising a child alone, and ran my own successful business. I was super outgoing and adventurous. I loved to hike and rarely sat still. After Lyme [disease]I was no longer able to hike, and, in fact at times, I have had to use a wheelchair. On good days now I can manage a 30-minute walk or an hour or so of errands.”
Teacher exchange takes local family Down Under for a year
On December 31, 2018, the Hallman family boarded a plane for Australia. Taking a leap of faith they had decided that for the next year they would swap jobs, houses, communities, loved ones, and countries with a family on the other side of the planet.
Also, read about the Hill family’s experiences in Muskoka: Trading sharks for bears. Meet the Hill family.
I dream of Jeannie…enjoying retirement
Not many people are lucky enough to do something they love for 50 years and also call it a job.
Jeannie McLennan is one of those lucky people. After 50 years of cutting, colouring, curling and styling hair Jeannie decided this past October that is was time to retire.
She sure does make it look fun!
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