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Letter from Karla on CWPAC

Since the diagnosis of my cancer, I have been so thankful for the kind messages everyone sends me. But I feel as if many of you, if given my illness, would be just as strong maybe stronger. The reality is that cancer is one of the better illnesses to get – as there is so much support through funding, research and just awareness.

I often wonder about those dealing with mental health issues or addiction and how they are supported. As those illnesses are often tougher to properly diagnose, can be more difficult to deal with day to day and can be just as life threatening. My heart aches for those suffering, as they have an even bigger battle ahead. My battle is primarily physical and is well understood and well financed.

Lately, I have been wondering where to put the profits raised from my store. As before, it all went to various Acts of Kindness – small initiatives that were mostly organized by us with local organizations and individual people. I had a goal to do 3000 Acts by 2020. However, with the changes to my health I am rethinking this initiative. I thought the profits maybe should go to hospice care or something cancer oriented.

However, as many of you know, my passion is for foster care and I am committee member advocating foster care reform. So lately I felt conflicted Cancer vs. Foster Care. Then Friday night as a family we watched the movie Instant Family,which is a great film based on a true story of the writer and director’s experience of fostering three siblings with his wife. It was another sign to me that cancer is not a passion for me. It is just my new reality.

So I have decided to take all of the store’s earnings (minus production and shipping costs) and donate to the committee I sit on – Child Welfare Political Action Committee. I feel very confident the money will be well spent.

If foster care can be reformed it hits all of the other areas I care about. Some stats show that 80% of human traffic victims come from the foster care system. Less then 5% of foster children go on to college or university. Many become addicts and have mental health issues.

While cancer sees the results of ample funding all the time – with new medication trials, centres devoted to treatment with top-notch doctors and centres and communities devoted to helping cancer patients to stay mentally and physically strong through their fight, we don’t see anywhere close to the same treatment for children living in foster care. I would like to see that change. 

Please join me in advocating for foster children and Child Welfare PAC.

-Karla Stephens-Tolstoy

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