Volume 12 Week 5

Wednesday, Jan. 16


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Orléans Ward
Matt Luloff

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney




(Updated 8:30 a.m., May 31)
Navan Walk of Hope a shining example of a young girl's continuing legacy

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Proud parents Brian and Ali Billings hold up a picture of their daughter Hannah, who passed away from cancer in 2007 at the age of 10, and who continues to inspire the community in which she lived. Fred Sherwin/Photo

The sun was shining as about 40 participants set out on the Navan Walk of Hope on Sunday in memory of a nine-year-old girl who passed away from cancer in 2007 and ultimately touched the lives of an entire community.

Hannah was a special little girl whose heroic battle with cancer continues to inspire her parents Ali and Brian, her two older sisters Meghan and Olivia, and the community at large, seven years after her passing.

The first Walk of Hope was held in 20014, as a means to help raise money for the Hannah Billings Emergenchy Fund which provides support for families in financial crisis arising from a medical emergency.

The Fund is managed by the Navan Lions Club in consultation with the Billings family. The club is instrumental in raising money for the fund throuugh efforts like the Walk of Hope and the 50/50 draw that is held every year during the demolition derby at the Navan Fair.

Since the fund was established in 2007, $36,500 has been disbursed to families to help cover their expenses.

For Hannah's mother Ali, the fund is an extension of Hannah's life and her desire to help others right up until the end. The fund is also a means by which the Navan community can continue to honour a 10-year-old girl who touched their lives in such a profound way by supporting her family and her continuing legacy.

"Without crying Navan has been absolutely marvelous. They have literally held us up," says Billings. "They came to our aid right from the very beginning when Hannah was first diagnosed. They brought us meals, support, kind words, encouragement and that's continued. That hasn't waivered. They have continued to support us in many different ways."

That level of support goes both ways. The Billings family regularly supports the CHEO telethon and other fundraising efforts. They also counsel other parents and families going through what they went through.

"Even today I had a couple of moms who have lost their daughters approach me," said Ali following Sunday's walk. "We all lean on each other to be honest. Candlelighters has bee n a huge support to families who have lost children. Rogers House also has a bereavement group."

Hannah's lasting impact on the community is a matter of great prode for her family which continues to draw inspiration from her as well.

"She impacts every decision we make as a family as far as the charity functions we do," says Ali. "She keeps us moving forward every day. She keeps us with a positive attititude. I'm vvery proud of who Hannah was a person."

To find out more about the Hannah Billings Emergency Fund visit www.navanlions.ca/special-funds-and-bursaries.html.

(This story was made possible thanks to their generous support of our local business partners.)


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