An Inspiring morning of  Fun, Fitness, Flowers & Friends.

You can’t ask for much more than raising awareness for a good cause while getting exercise in fresh air in an unbelievably elegant, artful environment.

L-R Kasseda, Cher, Wendy, Me (with candy in both pockets), Hannah, Colleen, Stacy

L-R Casseda, Cher, Wendy, Debbie (both pockets full of candy), Hannah, Colleen, Stacey

That’s what happened yesterday morning when I met up with friends at Vancouver’s magnificent VanDusen Botanical Gardens to support our mutual good friend Colleen Kohse. Colleen is the oldest living person (with the youngest spirit) with CF in all of Canada to have received a transplant.

Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king

Colleen is a miracle and a true inspiration to everyone because she doesn’t take life for granted.  She’s lost too many friends and two young siblings to this fatal genetic disease which primarily affects the lungs and digestive system in mostly young adults and children of which there is no cure.

Come this October it will be 28 years that I first met Colleen, just before she left for London, England to receive a heart/lung transplant.  But we didn’t get to really know each other until after that.  We’ve been friends for years and have travelled together to places like Jamaica, Havana, Florida, Savannah, Ga, Charleston, S.C., New Orleans, California and even a short Caribbean cruise out of Miami.  Always fun. Colleen is lucky to have the most wonderful, supportive family.

The morning started with a breakfast of pancakes & sausages, then dancing to warm up the crowd followed by a very pleasant walk through the most exquisite park to raise money to help find a cure for CF.  There were also fun great silent auction items.  I ended up with 2 out of the 3 items that I placed bids on.

 VanDusen Botanical Gardenvanduesen1

You will be inspired by 22 hectares of well-designed landscapes with plant species representing ecosystems ranging from the Himalayas to the Mediterranean, from Louisiana swamps to the Pacific Northwest.

Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king

Vancouver’s mild climate makes it possible for plants to bloom year-round – so there is always something wonderful to see. Our climate creates a unique environment where plants from varying climates thrive. At VanDusen you will see plants from the southern hemisphere, tropical areas and the high Arctic tundra alongside native species. Seasonal highlights include: Spring — bulbs, cherry trees, azaleas and rhododendrons; Late Spring — Laburnum Walk and roses; Summer — annuals, perennials and water lilies; Late Summer – wild flower meadow and the Heirloom Vegetable Garden; Autumn – brilliant autumn colour, heathers, perennials; Winter — witchhazels, viburnums and hellebores. The Elizabethan Maze is one of only six in North America. In addition to the plant collections, VanDusen’s eco-sphere is home to numerous fauna – small mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles and insects. During the course of the year 65 species of birds make the Garden their home, either permanently or as a respite on their annual migrations.

Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king

It’s a must-see if you plan to visit Vancouver.

To find out more about CF please visit: www.cysticfibrosis.ca

VanDusen website: http://vandusen.org/

Plant Info: Tourism Vancouver

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