It’s been an honour for me to do this blog series about strong beautiful women. Sharon Carr is the perfect person to conclude the series with. My wife, Judi, and I think so highly of her. Sharon is married to my best friend, Mike, who I’ve known since we were in kindergarten some fifty plus years ago. They’ve been married for seventeen years. In those years I’ve had an opportunity to witness an authentic soul who consistently gives of herself to others.
In speaking to Sharon’s mother in preparation for this piece I asked her to comment about her daughter. She spoke fondly of her, and had a lot to say, but it was this comment and story that helps us see how deeply rooted her concern for others is. Her mother said, “She always wanted to help others. When she was six years old, we wanted to have a small birthday party for her, with just a few children from her class. Sharon said, ‘I want to invite everyone, especially Paul, he never gets invited to anyone’s party. I want him to come to mine.’ So, because she was so insistent and mindful of others, we invited the entire class.”
When Sharon was twenty-four, she received the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Medal given to youth and young adults between fourteen and twenty-five. There are four main areas of focus for the award: Service to your community, Adventurous Journey, Skill development, and Physical Recreation. All activities counted toward the award must be extra-curricular and voluntary. It was another proud moment for Sharon’s family, another example of her strength and beauty.
Even Sharon’s career path is a reflection of her other-centeredness. She is a certified orthotist. She’s a valued member of the Prosthetics & Orthotics Department at the Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre in Hamilton, and is the head clinical instructor with George Brown College at RJCHC. She is highly respected within the Orthotics & Prosthetics community, this summer she received a fellowship from Orthotics Prosthetics Canada (OPC) in recognition of her consistent and remarkable contribution in leading the profession forward. She currently sits as the chair of professional development for OPC.
I’d be remiss if I did not mention that in 1998 Sharon took a leave from her work in Canada to partner with an NGO to work in Vietnam to help establish and develop an orthotics and prosthetics clinic. One of the many tragedies of the decades long violence and war in Vietnam is the long-term need for orthotics and prosthetics among the surviving population. Sharon had long felt a desire to help. She spent an incredible year giving of herself in the service of others.
Sharon’s beauty and strength go well beyond her official accomplishments or career highlights. It’s her giving soul in everyday life that makes her such an inspiration to so many of those privileged to be in her life.
Judi and I have long been witnesses to Sharon’s unselfish and compassionate nature. Whether it’s bringing a special meal to someone after a family tragedy, loving and supporting her friends and family on a regular basis, or consistently giving of herself to her step-children and grandchildren in countless ways, she always seems to be willing to put the needs of others above her own. She does it from the goodness of her heart, anyone who knows her can attest to her authenticity—we can’t help but be inspired.
I asked Mike how he would describe his wife. He took his time. He spoke slowly, thinking deeply about what he would say. I could tell he was struggling controlling his emotions. His voice trembled as he said, “She has a generous spirit. She is consistently supportive and patient in all her relationships. Her conduct and behavior are inspiring to all of us. She’s a genuinely loving and caring individual who sees the best in everyone.”
There are so many stories I could write about how unselfish and caring Sharon is. Part of her beauty is her modesty. She does what she does because it’s at the core of who she is. Not for any type of recognition or acknowledgment. Which doesn’t’ mean it necessarily comes easy for her. I know that there are a lot of sacrifices that come with her caring and loving of others, and a at times significant pain. But she chooses to love despite any hardships and personal costs.
This world is a better place because of the strength and beauty of Sharon Carr.
Thank you, Sharon, for giving of yourself.
You are a strong and beautiful woman.
If you haven’t already read the intro blog to the series to know why I wrote this Strong Beautiful Women series you can do so byclicking here, or go hereto read about the other Strong Beautiful Women I’ve had the privilege to honour.