The Community Superheroes of Toronto

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*Updated and Republished. Originally Published September, 2013*

Have you ever noticed how most superhero stories take place in the largest cities of America? If you’re a lifelong comic reader in Canada, it’s easy to feel a little left out. Where are Toronto’s superheroes?

As it turns out, they’re right in our own backyard. And they’re real!

Amanda Belzowski

Amanda Belzowski started Lemonade 4 Heart when she was only two years old. Her parents let her pledge in Ride for Heart. Her job was to sit in a high chair and pour lemonade from a Fisher-Price cup for riders. That year, she raised $500. Each year since, she runs a lemonade stand with free lemonade and snacks while encouraging donations for heart-healthy charities. By 2013, she raised over $170,000 for Save a Child’s Heart, SickKids Hospital and the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

We’ve worked with Amanda to re-design her website,making it easier for people to see the incredible work she is doing. Her website plays a major role in her campaigns by providing anyone anywhere to easily send donations to one of the charities she supports. Amanda is an inspiration to us here at TLAC. We love that Amanda leads by example and how she included her little brother Joshua in her fundraising efforts. Her whole family is doing a great job giving back to the community and we feel lucky to be a part of their team! Check out Amanda’s blog and learn more about what it’s like to win the Top 20 Under 20 Award at the age of fifteen.

Bronwyn Huffman

We’re also lucky to have worked with Bronwyn Huffman, a young girl from Thunder Bay, Ontario diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia. We first learned of Bronwyn through an old friend of ours, Jenna Goodhand. Jenna was organizing caring cards for when Bronwyn needed her life-saving treatment for chemo-related heart failure at Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital.

We were so inspired by Bronwyn’s story! We offered to do the printing and delivery of the cards to Bronwyn so she could decorate her room in the hospital and at the Ronald McDonald House where she was staying. As soon as she was able, Bronwyn visited us personally to thank us for our support. One of the highlights of our year!

Bronwyn is doing much better these days. One year later, she moved to Toronto with her family and continued her medical care. She’s happy to report that she’s spending more time doing the things she most enjoys. She has since worked with Gilda’s Club and has been featured in a documentary!

We wish Bronwyn and her family the best of luck as they start their new life in the big city. This community is a great place for newcomers of all kinds, and we hope that they will start to enjoy all the places, people, and events that make a Toronto summer so special.

We think that the Toronto community is incredibly lucky to have heroes like these. It just goes to show — you don’t have to look to fiction to find people who inspire you to be your best self. All you have to do is meet your neighbours.

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