Thank you, thank you, thank you! To everyone who took the time out of their busy lives to join us on Thursday Night for the early release of “Always Smile: Carley Allison’s Secrets to Laughing, Loving and Living” at the Carley’s Angels Book Launch.
For those who did not have the privilege of attending we thought we’d walk you through the pages of Carley’s Story and this inspirational evening through the eyes of our amazing attendees.
The night began at the entrance. And if you were a VIP that meant early check-in, complimentary drink tickets and a signed copy of “Always Smile” by Author Alice Kuipers and The Allison Family!
After moving past registration all guests walked through the “Carley’s Walkway” and got their first dose of inspiration with life sizes canvas prints of Carley and plaques with corresponding page numbers in the book
“Walking through the doors of the Corus building, I felt like I was stepping into a hall of memories. Those portraits of Car represented such monumental moments in her life; It felt like a visual celebration of her life and her greatest accomplishments.
It was a moment of complete overwhelm, nostalgia and inspiration all at once.” – Lyndsay Reddick
Guests then entered the main event, the stage and drinks were to the left and the “Carley’s Angels Pop Up Store”, “Book Nooks” and Silent Auction were to the right. The waitstaff were buzzing around with delicious healthy food options and the “Traditional” and “Holistic” bars with our volunteer bartenders were serving up smile after smile!
“It’s different now, there has always been a ton of people around anything Carley’s Angels, but now, her reach has gone friends and family, the Carley’s Angels Movement is touching people who are just learning Carley’s Name. And I suspect they will stick around. Anyone that attended immediately knew they weren’t just an attendee they instantly became a member of the Team Carley” – Michele deRyk
Guests then gathered around the stage for a speech from Shawna Markowitz, the Carley’s Angels Psychosocial Oncology Fellow at SickKids. She inspired the room with the work that Carley’s Legacy and gift of $150,000 from Carley’s Angels is doing every day to address the Holistic needs of pediatric cancer patients.
“People often ask me ‘Shawna how do you work around so much sadness’ My response is, I am inspired by the strength, love, passion, resilience and compassion that I bear witness to each and every day. With every tear, there is an abundance of strength, resilience and hope. I have truly come to appreciate the meaning of life, kindness, and adversity. It is a privilege to be part of this innovative opportunity.”
Then, Emcee Cheryl Hickey of Et Canada motioned to begin the intimate reading of “Always Smile” by the people whose voices are captured in the book. Alice Kuipers, Jill Harris, Katharine Tsiofas, Sarah Fisher, Lyndsay Reddick, Riley Allison, Samantha Allison, May Allison and Mark Allison.
“It was like group therapy for us all to be together, rejoicing and regaling in Carley’s short yet super-impactful life. We smiled (because Carley always did) and indeed we cried but there were more smiles than tears and something inside of us all knew that Carley was smiling at all of us down below.” – Michael Nadal
“As the director of the feature film Kiss and Cry, I thought I knew Carley Allison’s story intimately. But Alice Kuipers’ expansive work gives the reader a far more introspective and in-depth look into what Carley experienced. I am continually grateful to the Allison family for sharing their daughter and sister with the world. We need a hero like Carley in times like these.” – Sean Cisterna
The emotional reading ended with a stunning and heartbreaking passage from one of Carley’s Best friends, Sarah Fisher.
“Carley had her hand out so I held her hand and we sort of held hands and just, again, the most unbelievable thing as we were holding hands. She moved her thumb back and forth, so she was almost comforting me. It didn’t matter how she was feeling or what she was going through. She was thinking, “How can I make you feel better?” and that was a really wonderful moment for us. That I’ll remember forever. I’ll remember her strength, too. Cancer never, ever took away her smile, her laughter, her brightness, her personality. It never took Carley away.” – Sarah Fisher
Alice Kuipers (the author of Always Smile) thanked the guests for their attention and the readers for their bravery. It was now time to mingle and enjoy the remainder of the evening by visiting, the Bar, Book Nooks, Pop Up Store and Silent auction!
“To be a part of this organization, to attend it’s events and to help it achieve its noble cause is something I encourage anyone reading this blog to do. So, reach out to the organization, email Riley, check out their website, attend their next event and most importantly donate generously. You will never find more genuine, kind and authentic people focused on being a part of a noble cause and an attainable goal” – Micheal Nadal
The night concluded with a speech from Riley Allison, the Chair of Carley’s Angels Foundation and Mark Allison a Carley’s Angels Foundation Founder.
“At the Carley’s Angels Book Launch we raised $40,281 and sold 271 books. We not only surpassed the fundraising goal we also set a KCP Loft record for number of books sold at a launch. Thank you to every individual who came out to support, volunteer and got inspired as we walked through the pages of Carley’s Story” – Riley Allison
“It is our duty to work tirelessly, as she did, to give rise to many more beautiful events like the one last night, so we can meet again and celebrate the next milestone of the Carley’s Angels Foundation and the legacy Carley Elle Allison left behind” – Michael Nadal
And of course thank you to our sponsors, without you none of this would have been possible.
For more information, to get involved or to donation Click Here