Giving from the Heart
Darlene Varaleau is one of the most enthusiastic and dedicated champions of Anishnawbe Health Foundation. “I love Anishnawbe Health. Let me repeat. I love Anishnawbe Heath,” beams Darlene.
Darlene is an advocate for reconciliation and the rights of Indigenous Peoples. In fact, she learned of Anishnawbe Health Toronto and the campaign for a new home for the Indigenous community health centre when she was part of a group trekking to Ottawa to advocate for the passage of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Anishnawbe Health hosted the trekkers on the land of the future home for a snack break and drumming ceremony. “I believe that the new facility is one of the most exciting things going on in our City and in Canada. The building just fits everything I believe in. It will be a power centre…. a destination for medicine people and seekers from across the country, even from around the world,” she states. “I strongly believe that supporting the health and healing of Indigenous peoples and reclaiming Traditional healing practices is key to moving our country forward.”
After that initial meeting, Darlene moved quickly to support the campaign for the new centre by making a personal gift of $25,000 to name a Traditional Counselling Room on the floor dedicated to mental health and addictions care in the new centre.
“The heartbeat of the Indigenous community is embedded in the teachings, in ceremony, in the medicines, and in the healing approach. If I can contribute to that legacy in some way, that’s what is important to me,” states Darlene.
She’s also championed others giving to Anishnawbe Health Foundation, particularly faith groups. Darlene created a fund through a bequest intention with the United Church of Canada that will support Anishnawbe Health into the future. A ceremony was held with Anishnawbe Health Toronto Healer James Carpenter to name the fund, Mii-gi-we-Zha-way-nim-Manitoo (Kind Spirit that Gives Unconditionally). Darlene encourages others to follow her lead and support this fund and the campaign for Anishnawbe Health.
When asked what do you want to tell someone who is thinking about donating to or volunteering with Anishnawbe Health? Darlene enthusiastically replies, “It will be the best gift you can give yourself!”
Anishnawbe Health is honoured to have Darlene as part of our circle of Kind Spirits. For more information on the Mii-gi-we-Zha-way-nim-Manitoo Fund, please visit https://app.fundmetric.com/WQH4S7u9. To learn more about the campaign for a new home for Anishnawbe Health Toronto, visit our Foundation site at www.supportanishnawbe.ca