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Be A Hero…not a Bully!

Posted on March 10, 2013

Be a hero, not a bully

The Free Press Editorial

Published: March 09, 2013 5:00 PM

I find it quite disheartening that today, dubbed “Anti Bullying Day” I come forward to share my sister’s experience with bullying. But then again, I guess there couldn’t be a better day to tell our story.

My sister, Cora, is 43-years-old and has Downs Syndrome. Cora and her husband, Chris, who also has Downs, have managed to live independent, happy lives and manage quite well with minimal support from caregivers and family. Cora is very well known in Fernie, always greeting others with a big smile and engaging in friendly conversation. But sadly, my happy-go-lucky little sister has recently become the victim of bullying. Within the past couple of months she has been targeted by three teenage boys who I am guessing to be 13-15 years old. There have been multiple episodes including following her to and from her workplace, and bothering her outside a local convenience store. They have bullied Cora to the point that she is now suffering from nightmares and is afraid to walk down the streets alone. How sad that my sister, who would never intentionally hurt anyone, is being treated this way.

Physically my sister is an adult; mentally and emotionally she is a child who doesn’t understand what she has done to deserve this. Cora loves Hannah Montana, Reba McIntyre and her favourite colour is purple. If you took the time to get to know her, you would see that her heart is full of love, pure and simple. Her spirit is genuine and you will never meet anyone more sincere. She is incapable of defending herself from her tormentors.

Unfortunately Cora doesn’t know who these boys are and is unable to provide accurate descriptions. I can only hope that parents might use this to reiterate the anti bullying message with their children. And maybe, just maybe, one of the boys will read this for themselves and decide that this is not who they want to be.

Today the news showed video of a remarkable young basketball player who passed the ball to a disabled youth on the opposing team, allowing the boy to score his first basket. The entire gymnasium erupted in cheers of pure elation. The teen didn’t classify himself a hero, he just did something he was raised to do, to treat others as we would like to be treated. While no one will remember the final score of that basketball game, they will never forget how one small act of kindness changed so many lives. Instead of being the bully, why not try being a true hero.

Lynda Gawryluk

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