I love this time of year!
I buy tulips by the armload and fill my home with the promise of spring. It’s a visual reminder to remain hopeful, despite knowing there are probably a few major dumps of snow and resulting traffic snafus on the way.
This issue is always an emotional one for our team, because we learn so much about the women in our community whose names have been put forth by our readers to be showcased in the Amazing Airdrie Women feature that begins on page 103. It moves me every single year because we are introduced to some incredible, well, simply amazing women who are making a difference at home, at work, and in the community at large. It seems we can’t run short of stories about amazing women as evident by the 31 women we feature this year.
When we do the photo shoots in January, it’s my first chance to meet each nominee face to face. It is one of the highlights of my whole year and a reminder that this whole idea, which started in 2011, is in fact one of the reasons airdrielife exists.
But no one left a bigger impression on me than Lovepreet Deo. The gorgeous face on the cover of this issue belongs to someone with cerebral palsy. CAN YOU EVEN TELL from this image? Of course not; Lovepreet looks like the vivacious and smart young woman that she really is despite her physical limitations. If you flipped back to the cover after reading this, it reinforces the massive stereotypes that we unfortunately all have about people with disabilities. If we showed her with her walker would you have gazed into those sparkling eyes? Lovepreet goes to the gym up to five times a week. I know that’s a heck of a lot more than me and most people in general.
She is the epitome of amazing. On a very cold night it took three of us to assist Lovepreet from the studio door to the Handibus. We had to lift her walker over snow and ice and keep her steady on the uneven walkway. When the bus drove away we all looked at each other in disbelief – she does this every day? And the worst part? She kept apologizing to us! Lovepreet, as I said that night, you don’t EVER have to apologize. People who look the other way when they see someone with a disability are the ones who should apologize.
In another amazing story, we interview Christelle Hitimana on escaping Rwanda. While Christelle is not part of the nominee feature, she darn well could have been; her resilience is awe-inspiring.
I marched in the Calgary Women’s March on Washington weeks later with my daughter. I was marching for women of all abilities, race, religion and sexual orientation. I was thinking of both Lovepreet and Christelle that day. I hope you find the stories and profiles in this issue inspire you to “be the change you want to see in the world.”
My special thanks to my AMAZING team of women (and men!) who made this issue possible.