A Hundred Days To Happiness: Together We’re Stronger

During one week in 2009, Elise Niessen lost both her grandparents.

On the sad day of their funeral, Elise found joy and then inspiration when she met her cousin’s four-month-old daughter, Lilli, who was facing daunting challenges herself. Lilli was born at 34 weeks of pregnancy and still required surgery to repair persistent connections between the chambers of her heart.

Elise saw the opportunity to create hope and happiness in sad and challenging circumstances. She raised over $5000 for the B.C. Children’s Hospital neonatal ICU by swimming continuously for four hours on August 13th, 2010.

In November of 2000, Ruth Greenhalgh lost her 20-year-old brother, Oliver to acute myeloid leukemia. In his memory, she decided to do the UBC Olympic Triathlon with Elise to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society.

Ruth and Elise successfully swam, cycled and ran to the finish line on Sunday, March 6th.

We can be defeated and demoralized by the tragedies and challenges of life, or we can find meaning in adversity, strength in community, and inspiration in one another.

Our losses can connect us to others and their losses. Our challenges connect us to others and their challenges. Together, we can accomplish more than we can alone. Sharing our strengths and combining our passion, we can all be stronger.

If you’d like to join Ruth and Elise in supporting the Canadian Cancer Society, check their facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=188011307883885 or their fundraising event page at http://bit.ly/gfnw50.

To support the relief and rescue efforts in Japan, check the Canadian Red Cross’ web site at http://www.redcross.ca.

Your happiness exercise for today: I worked through the unexpected loss of my mother in 2003 by committing myself to what I saw as my mom’s legacy, giving forward the love she gave to me, her family, her friends and community.

If you or someone you know has suffered a great loss or is confronting difficult challenges, connect with others and create something meaningful.


About Davidicus Wong

I am a family physician. I write a weekly newspaper column, Healthwise for the Vancouver Courier, Burnaby Now, Royal City Record and Richmond News.
This entry was posted in Coping with Loss, Love, Purpose, Your Calling and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Hundred Days To Happiness: Together We’re Stronger

  1. Jen Mayville says:


    My name is Jen and I work for the Canadian Red Cross. Thank you for helping to spread the word about how people can donate to our Japan earthquake appeal. We really appreciate it.

    We would love to continue to connect with you. You can find us on Twitter (@redcrossBC, @redcrosscanada), Facebook (facebook.com/canadianredcross), and our blog is redcrosstalks.wordpress.com.

    Thank you for your support!

    • Thank you, Jen for the work you do with the Canadian Red Cross organization. I am sure there are many Canadians seeing the scenes of suffering and wanting to help in some way.

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