In late October Jennifer Collett ventured out on her Second Annual Cannabian Freedom Walk. This walk took her from her home in Peterborough Ontario all the way to Queens Park in Toronto, a distance of 144kms. Jennifer, a mother of five, started this walk last year to help bring awareness to chronic illnesses such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, COPD, cancer, diabetes and many other chronic conditions.
Jennifer set up a Face Book page for her event and this is what she had posted there. “Chronic health conditions can take a person’s ability to live and also affect the lives of those who love them. How a person chooses to man- age their health should stay the business of the affected, their children, parents, siblings and friends.”
Why is she doing this? She says she
is “asking the provin- cial government to step in on behalf of the many Ontarians
who are too sick to stand up for their own rights. The Federal
Government is ignoring us and
we need help. I am trying to raise awareness and a commu-
nity vibration that will bring us together
as people, no matter what medical
choices we make in our own best
interests, for each of our unique needs and to improve our own quality of life“. She continues with “We are being incarcerated over a natural medicine, practicing cri- sis management instead of illness prevention and are tear- ing apart the very foundation of this country by destroy- ing the families who create it.”
Not only does she want people to recognize the medici- nal power of the cannabis plant but also all the other industrial and commercial benefits that the plant can offer when she wrote “there is a lot more offered by this plant than meets the eye. Not only is it a powerful medi- cine in its own right, there is opportunity for growth through green and sustainable industry that is beneficial to Ontario’s economy.”
She is hoping that her walk will help to “encourage more research about the medicinal benefits of the whole plant so Canadians will have the information they need to decide for themselves.” Unfortunately prohibition has prevented this and has created other problems. She goes onto write “The challenge for research is to come up with the appropriate strain, dosage and means of administra-
tion of cannabis that will produce therapeutic bene- fits.” She also recognizes that that there are barriers, created by prohibition, which created a stigma that, will be hard to overcome. She finishes things off with “Hopefully this walk will help to make a strong argu- ment for its use, and offer a chance to learn of an alter- native treatment that people were never aware was a viable option.”
Just as Jennifer was about to leave for her walk the Provincial Government got prorogued so this would mean that there would be no MPP’s present, especial- ly her own, when she arrived at Queens Park. While this was disappointing news for her its great know that Jennifer didn’t let something like this prevent her from reaching her destination.
Upon the completion of her walk Jennifer posted that she was very tired and had sore feet. This didn’t pre- vent her from thanking everyone who helped her along the way. This would include her husband Kevin DeCarlo for keeping her on track, the parents who looked after the couple’s five children, and all the peo- ple who provided accommodations and kept her safe along the way. To help Jennifer educate people Treating Yourself and Glass Culture sent along some magazines with us donating a P.A.C.E. hat and T-shirt as well as 150 Therapeutic Link brochures.
Michelle Rainey Memorial Walk
On October 20th advocates in Toronto gathered for the 2nd annual Michelle Rainey Memorial Walk. The walk organized by Erin “Butterfly” Maloughney, start- ed at 7pm at a small park located at 420 Yonge St. in Toronto. Michelle was a true fighter on the war against this plant and she worked extremely hard to spread the medicinal knowledge that everyone should know. As a teenager Michelle was struck with Crohn’s disease and like many others, she battled it throughout the remain- der of her live. When she discovered the benefits of cannabis she went out to teach everyone how it helped her and how it can help them. She never gave up and never stopped until the fall of 2010. Sometime earlier Michelle learned that she had cancer and started to treat it with cannabis. Unfortunately for Michelle and us her condition had possibly gone too far and she suc- cumbed to cancer on October 20th that year.
Before starting the walk we all gathered in a circle with candles and memories of Michelle. Erin spoke about the many contributions that Michelle had made to the cannabis community. She asked those in attendance that if anyone asked what we were walking for to make sure that they shared why and a memory of Michelle with them. When Erin finished she asked oth- ers to speak up and to share their stories. Many of us talked about meeting Michelle at the same event, the Treating Yourself Medical Marijuana Awareness Forum that was held at the Delta Chelsea Hotel on April 20 2007. While we talked about that weekend the Delta Chelsea Hotel stood high above and just south of our location. Sort of like it was watching over us.
After everyone was done we all headed out onto the street and our way to Nathan Phillips Square where Toronto City Hall is located. When we got to the Square we were greeted by some of the Zombies left over from the city’s Annual Zombie Walk. Erin shared what we were doing with them before we all formed one last circle. With this final one a few more memo- ries were shared and then we all departed on our way with reenergized memories of our dear friend Michelle.
“I want people to keep working, keep working for change — too many sick people are still having diffi- culty getting their medication. That’s what I want as my legacy — change.” Michelle Rainey Let’s help Michelle with her legacy by working for change, a change that we all benefit from…. speak up, talk to people about cannabis and do it often. Don’t just talk to the educated people but also talk to the uneducated, teach them the truth and become people advocating cannabis education.