MEETINGS: HEARTH PLACE Puppeteers entertain PROBUS Pickering members!

A lesson about cancer…
taught with compassion, caring and respect.


IMG_1786The Hearth Place puppeteers were the ‘guest speakers’ at the Aug. 27th  PROBUS Pickring meeting providing the members with educational entertainment.


Sophie is a patient currently being treated.


Natalie asks Sophie if her hair will grow back in.












The four life-size puppets are the storefront for an important group of volunteers who work with childhood cancer patients, their families and their friends. The organization helps educate children about cancer, cancer patients, their needs, and the terminology associated with the illness. It also provides support, comfort and encouragement to those individuals who are grieving because of the loss of a loved one due to cancer. The focus of the performances is on the virtues of compassion, courage, respect, helpfulness and treatment.

Camp Quality Teams

The puppets are one of the seven Camp Quality teams performing across Canada, each one doing presentations for elementary school aged audiences as well as adult groups such as Probus. The purpose of these performances is to help audiences understand more about cancer patients and the challenges they face.


The Probus members laugh and sing along with the puppets !

The puppeteers are the entertaining facet of Hearth Place, life-size puppets who represent patients undergoing cancer treatment, patients who have received treatment and friends and family of current patients.


It was a bittersweet performance because cancer patients experience emotional highs and hows. They roller coaster with serious depression and a feelings of hopelessness to uplifting moments if and when they go into remission and recovery. The resulting physical changes from chemo and radiation treatments can be traumatizing, especially for young patients. Many experience severe depression as they deal with their illness. Many healthy people, particularly youngsters, are unfamiliar with the terminology associated with cancer and its treatment; terms like prosthesis, chemo, blastoma, melanoma, carcinogen, and more. This lack of knowledge can lead to stress, tension and worry for children, as well as family members and friends who have someone within their circle who is currently challenged by cancer. When the puppets sing out their song of hope, the clearly belted out message is “Courage, compassion and respect” and audiences cheer them on with great support,

The puppeteers by their personification of patients, families and friends of patients bring to life the reality of how life is for cancer patients and their family and friends. It is an entertainingly humourous messages with a very serious side. They teach and help people understand that though cancer is a very severe disease, there is real hope these patients as modern treatments become more and more successful.  This message of hope and potential recovery can be very positive and encouraging for youngsters as well as for older people who are experiencing the same stress and worry about a loved one afflicted with the disease.


Carolynn and Natalie roar at the momkey joke !

There’s a monkey in my chair !

Another aspect of the puppeteers work is called “There’s a monkey in my chair.” Donors can purchase a monkey puppet which is used as a temporary seat holder for the young student who is absent from school because of their cancer treatments. The puppet monkey sits in the absent student’s seat in the class reminding the other class members of the student being away for their treatments.


A $75 donation buys a moneky for an ill child.

Puppeteer Carolynn explained how students have demonstrated a great attachment to these monkeys understanding that they are stand-ins for their class buddy who is currently absent because of illness. It is a very meaningful and concrete way to maintain caring bonds between the healthy class members and their absent and ill classmate. A $75 donation purchases a monkey which will be used by a class/school where there is a cancer patient.



Emcee Sonia Shepherd was marvellous.

Sonia Shepherd was the host and spokesperson for the four puppeteers who brought “life” to the various puppets of the performance.

Hearth Place is a self supporting volunteer organization and relies on donations made by audiences who they entertain.

Donations can be easily made by credit card or by PAYPAL.

To make a donation, click on the link below:

Four of the five guest speakers have experienced cancer issues themselves and today they work as volunteers to bring courage, compassion and respect for new patients out there.


PUPPETEERS: Michelle, Carol, Tricia and Carolynn  PUPPETS: Jack, Sophie, Matt, and Natalie




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PROBUS Pickering: How to navigate PROBUS PICKERING

2014-08-22_12h32_401. To navigate the PROBUS PICKERING menu, simply CLICK on “PROBUS PICKERING” to display a ‘drop down‘ of the menu items available.

2. Click on the ‘submenu‘ in which you are interested to display the list of postings/articles.

3. Click on the ‘post’ (article) you wish to read for it to be displayed.

If you need more help, please contact me:
Phone me at 905 509 4321

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GARDEN: Protected: 4. Gail Dowber celebrates a milestone birthday with friends

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GARDEN: 2. Meet the KING and QUEEN of the Clematis gardening

Sheila Cule and Peter Keeping are the Queen and King of Clematis growing in the world. Garden enthusiasts travel thousands of miles just to see the amazing variety of clematises that they grow and to get horticultural advice from the duo.


Autograph seekers beseige Peter (striped shirt) for tips.

Peter’s area of expertise is everything about the garden except the names of the plants. He claims he has so many different plants, there is no humanly possible way of remembering all the plant names. Maybe!

Sheila is the “plant names” expert but I discovered her secret. Barely visible, you have to stoop low to see them but most of the plants have an identifying tag somewhere near the base. Still, one has to give Sheila credit, either she has amazing ‘super vision’ capable of reading small print at long distances or else she really knows her plant names. I suspect the latter rather than the former.

Polonia plant

Look closely, there is a plant name tag here.


Heavy duty equipment for clematises ? ? !

Like any good bargain hunter does, Peter boast about his finds. His garden tractor was a real fire sale deal, honestly.  A fire was burning on the property next to where this tractor was parked. Burning shingles flew of and landed on the machine, damaging it. Peter bought it from the insurance company for less than 25% of its true value but first he made sure the tractor ran. It had less than 200 hrs of use. Peter claims he got a steal !

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