Mandy shared favourite things at celebration of life
A celebration of life for Mandy Clarke-Bridson, held at Kimbercote Oct. 27, was equal parts music, stories and food, all of her favourite things incorporated into a service she had planned herself for the most part.
A joyful, zany, adventurous spirit with a desire to help those who needed it, Mandy had the large crowd singing This Little Light Of Mine between tributes from family and close friends, poetry, a slide show and live performances of My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion and Imagine by John Lennon. Although there were tears shed, Mandy made sure there was laughter, too.
The walls were adorned with her large collection of colourful scarves and photos from her jumping series, taken during her world travels with husband Steve and daughter Noa.
On Sept. 17, at the age of 48, Mandy lost her battle with cancer, but fight she did.
When she found out that treatment options had run out in Canada, the Bridsons heading south to Arizona and later to Mexico in search of alternative treatment. All the while, her supporters held community fundraisers and donated to online crowd-funding campaigns to help ease the financial burden of international healthcare.
Mandy cared for children in her own community and around the world. She was a beloved elementary school teacher in Clearview and a builder of schools in parts of the world where children did not have access to education.
As Elephant Thoughts executive director Jeremy Rhodes said, while on an extended family vacation the Bridsons set up a kindergarten in India for Elephant Thoughts and then went to Africa and set up a Tanzania arm.
Mandy kept apprised of the students’ welfare and ran an annual sponsorship drive to support the 150 children from poor families so they could continue to attend school. It was done through Elephant Thoughts, said Rhodes, but it was all Mandy.
The stories of her tenacity go on. She never took no for an answer when she felt a child could be helped.
Mandy shared her cancer journey with friends, regularly posting updates, pictures and videos, with an openness and honesty that was truly inspiring.
“A warrior, adventurer, and loving spirit,” indeed.
Through Elephant Thoughts’ connection with Kimbercote, in the Beaver Valley, Mandy was honoured with prayers and ceremonies by Indigenous community members.
The organization will be accepting donations to a scholarship fund set up in Mandy’s name to continue her education sponsorship program.