I have been blessed more than once to sit down with Carie Stock.
I was introduced to Carie a couple of year's ago when I had the opportunity to interview five interesting Cochrane based artists and her story is one that resonates with me.
Some people have a tremendous gift of making people comfortable...like you've known them for year's...and one of those people is 33 year old Carie. Infectious, inspiring, positive, and determined; to me she is unstoppable.
To understand her determination you would need to walk in her shoes. You see childhood memories for me include jumping through the sprinkler, riding my bike, and underducks at the park; while Carie's include doctors, hospital beds, and continuous check ups. Carie is a childhood cancer survivor. With only a 10% survival rate, Carie to this day turns life challenges and into positive life changing experiences. Although this extremely busy woman has little time personally for herself, Carie gives the gift of time to other families.
When she was little, scared, and in the hospital; her mom, although on her own, did everything in her power to stay at her side and this is where Carie's story begins.The former Cochrane High student decided to create a foundation that would allow families the means to spend as much time together as they could. 'Helping Families Handle Cancer' is Carie's way of honouring her mom and feeding her own soul. "I had this idea and I just had to go for it and I feel so blessed to do what I do everyday. I meet some amazing families and I wouldn't be doing anything else or have it any other way."
Carie and her board of directors don't financially cover everything for the families they help, but depending on need can help pay for things like parking, utility bills, or a couple months mortgage so families can have a little breathing room. Dedicating time to help single parent or one income families is what the foundation likes to focus on. Making every donated dollar stretch as far as possible the foundation has helped 468 families have more time together with reduced financial burden.
In 2017, Helping Families Handle Cancer will hit a landmark of $500,000 in monetary donations. "I tell you that felt like a light at the end of a very dark tunnel that maybe I would never see. I could have been not successful but I have a saying never stop a determined woman (not gender bias) I believe us as humans can do anything we want if we put our minds to it, as long as they are physically achievable. Ten years later we are here and celebrating half a million dollars."
You may wonder like me, how Carie handles loss?! In choosing to help families with sick children, not all children become survivors. While it is not mandatory that Carie keeps in contact with the families, she has kept in touch with many and developed long term relationships. Losing a child is something that no family should ever face, "it shatters the heart. Kids passing away in general (not just cancer) it just seems so out of place, it's not right."
Carie personally is an adventure seeker, scuba diving, small dog loving woman. She has been awarded the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award (2007) and named a Woman of Vision (2012) and there is nothing this future Cochrane community member won't achieve. Although Stock and her husband have been living in Calgary, Carie's heart has always been in Cochrane and she is looking forward to calling it home in the next couple months "My life has always had a piece of Cochrane in it, from going to school, to having friends, to having family out here, my husband's family's out here, a lot of my friends have stayed in Cochrane, a lot of my favourite businesses and places are here so it was a natural fit that I would move here."
This next year Carie will focus in on volunteer development for the foundation, helping more families, and settling into the Cochrane community. " I feel there is a lot of changes on the horizon for me both personally and for the charity and I am looking forward to those because I don't like being stagnant for too long."
After my time spent with Carie you can't help be inspired by her. A couple years ago, Carie received a gift with a saying which sums up her story, 'Be fearless in your pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.'