The Viceregal Lion
  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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Reception for the Champions of the Children’s Miracle Network

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Rideau Hall, Sunday, November 7, 2010


I am so pleased to welcome you to Rideau Hall.

If I were to ask you “who is your hero,” I would imagine you might name someone famous like:

Terry Fox, Wayne Gretzky, Sidney Crosby, Clara Hughes, Steve Nash or Joannie Rochette—great and inspiring Canadian athletes all.

It might be one of Canada’s stars in the entertainment world such as Christopher Plummer, Celine Dion or Justin Bieber.

Maybe it would be Julie Payette or Steve MacLean, two of Canada’s best known astronauts. Or one of Canada’s renowned medical scientists and doctors like Sir Frederick Banting or Wilder Penfield.

It could be one of Canada’s Prime Ministers, or someone like Laura Secord who demonstrated true bravery and shaped our nation’s history.

If you were to ask me who my heroes are, do you know whom I would name? I would name Adam, Colton, Dustin, Erin, Ethan, Jacob-Emmanuel, Jeanne, Jed, Madison, Nadya, Sienna and Travis. That’s right. I would name each one of you.

You are my heroes not because you are famous. Not because you are stars. Not because you have lead a country, fought on a battlefield, or made a major contribution to Canada’s history.

You are my heroes because you are conquering very serious illnesses with grace, bravery and determination. Your smiles and laughter give hope to your families when your medical situations can seem hopeless.

Your strength to keep fighting spills into their hearts and minds to give them the courage they need to endure. And your enthusiasm in the midst of pain gives them the energy they need to go on each day.

I’m sure there are days when you cry, “why me?” Or when you just want to be an ordinary kid, playing with your friends in the school yard.  I’m sure there are days when you want to give up. And yet, you have not.

Because of that, here you are—inspiring us with your lives. Some of you are leaving your hospital beds for hockey rinks, ski slopes, swimming pools, football fields and basketball courts.

Some are trading your hospital gowns for stage costumes, dance shoes, guitars and horseback riding gear. Some of you are raising money for medical research. Some of you are ambassadors in your schools, telling other kids how they can accept children with serious illnesses or handicaps.

That is why you are my heroes. You inspire us to keep fighting. You motivate us to donate our time, talents and resources to uncover new treatments for the diseases you and so many other children face. You make us thankful to live in a country like Canada, where we can be treated in world class health institutions, and enjoy the benefits of universal health care.

Christopher Reeve was an actor who became famous for his movie role as “Superman.” He was tragically injured in a horseback riding accident, which ended his career and left him completely paralyzed. After his accident, he described a hero as, “an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”  

His words describe each of you. And that is why you are my heroes. So today, I want to join with you to celebrate your many accomplishments. I want to encourage you to continue raising awareness of the tragic health challenges that too many children face. And above all, I want to thank God for each one of your lives. May He continue to bless you in the years to come. 

Thank you.