Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Charity’

A Charitable Force: Ruthie Shugarman

April 18, 2011 5 comments

Ruthie and her husband Danny at last years Ride to Conquer Cancer

It’s my first official Motivational Monday, and fittingly I am profiling someone who has actually been motivating me for a long time: my friend, Ruthie Shugarman.

She’s the kind of person who goes a mile a minute, but has all the time in the world for you. I’m not quite sure how she fits into the day all the things that she does – her efficiency meter works overtime, and I’m suspect that she squeezes thirty hours into each day, somehow.

Ruthie is passionate about a lot of things, among them her family, friends, real estate and charities. And now, thanks to the Ride to Conquer Cancer, she has a new passion and sport in cycling, and one more charity to add to her long list.  I’m not sure how she slots it all in, but like everything else she does in life, she has taken on the Ride to Conquer Cancer with energy and vigor, a force to be reckoned with.

The Ride is a two day cycling event that starts in Vancouver and ends in Seattle. Each participant is responsible for raising $2500 for the cause, with many riders exceeding these expectations. Last year Ruthie was part of Team Dexter, which raised $112 000.

I love Ruthie’s ability to turn negatives into positives. She became a realtor three years ago – after owning her own event planning business for thirteen years – because of her passion for the housing market. But just as she struck out on her own, the housing market took a drastic turn for the worse.

“It was actually a great time to be learning the ropes.” Properties weren’t moving as quickly so she could immerse herself in each transaction. Not only has she stuck with it, she was recently recognized as the third highest producer for individual sales in her company.

When times got tough, Ruthie got creative. During this down market, she had the idea of putting her event planning background to good use. She organized a clothing swap amongst her friends and clients (of which I am a huge fan, since not only is it fun, it seriously augments my wardrobe). Her plan was to host a social event that would benefit women at a time when money was tight, and at the same time introduce herself as a Realtor. Her clothing swaps have turned into a hugely successful biannual event, benefiting not only her clients and friends but also several local charities, such as Avalon Addiction Center, Covenant House, and Dress for Success.

Think about it: busy mother schlepping children to and fro, full time Realtor, decides to take up a new sport and a new cause.

Before joining the Ride, Ruthie didn’t own a bike, so getting suited up was no small endeavor. And then there is the small issue of the shoe clips.

“I was terrified to ride on the road at first,” she says, “ and only began clipping my feet in three weeks before the actual race.” But she was pleasantly surprised about how social the training was, frequently riding to Steveston, Deep Cove or Horseshoe Bay with groups of people. Stopping for coffee was an integral aspect of the rides, which suited her perfectly. Multitasking at its best.

The race itself she found inspirational. Survivors of cancer ride with yellow flags on their bikes, and several other riders have pictures of people they are riding for. “Seeing them is so moving, it doesn’t matter how painful things get out there, you are motivated by the cause.”

Ruthie is busy starting her training for the Ride to Conquer Cancer this June and has kicked off her fundraising campaign. Very appropriately, since April is daffodil month for the Canadian Cancer Society, a time to raise funds and awareness for the disease that impacts so many.

I am forever motivated by Ruthie’s ability to fit into an hour what I fit into an entire day. Her cup is full, yet she always finds room for more. Let’s help warriors like Ruthie in their fight to conquer cancer. Donate generously, and watch out for cyclists on our roads.

To donate to Ruthie’s fundraising efforts, please visit http://www.conquercancer.ca

Reduce, reuse and SWAP

December 15, 2010 2 comments
Color Clothes

Image by Orin Zebest via Flickr

I had forgotten how utterly distracting a roomful of clothes yet to be discovered can be.  Clothing swaps, although tons of fun, are no place to catch up with friends.  My long lost pals from distant neighborhoods across the bridge would enter, say a quick hello, and then get down to business surveying the scene.  If you did attempt to engage them before they had properly done so, it was obvious they were only half listening – no matter how fabulous your story was, their eyes would dart from rack to rack behind you.

It is a feast for the eyes: racks of silent treasures, hanging modestly, waiting for you to fall in love.  Once again, the clothing swap was a resounding success, everyone of us leaving with something a little more treasured than we had given up, giddy from chatting and bubbles.

As always, there were coveted items that caused no end of plotting.  The highly acclaimed Diane Von Furstenberg dress was back, under the rumor that it had been consigned after its last swap showing (horror of all horrors!), but somehow mysteriously made itself back into the fray.  Sisterhood of the traveling dress in the making, and much more sensible for a wrap dress to flatter different body types than jeans.  If Hollywood could only have that one over.

There were twice as many women in attendance, a nod to its burgeoning success, causing us to round corners even more slowly lest you bowl over a half clad stranger.  As I stopped to zip up one such stranger and glimpsed a view of her behind, it occurred to me how truly funny it is that we were all running around trying on things and garnering public opinion on their effect.  A de facto benefit from this night is viewing up close and personal all of the underwear choices out there, be they Panties by Post or the Gap.  A stunning array.

Winning the item of your desire is a numbers game – the better your number, the better your chance of getting a coveted item.  Just when I thought I had scored a great number – 22 out of a possible 70 – our gracious hostess Ruthie changed the methodology on us, freeing both the first and then the last of the numbers to choose their items, once again ensuring I was one of the last to choose.  The cloud of bad luck follows me at these gigs, so I’m a good target to sit beside if you want a good number.  Nevertheless, I got a sweet pair of high brown Franco Sarto boots that I can’t wait to wear with the dress I am now looking to buy, so it’s all good.  I missed out on the DVF dress, but my great friend Nancy swiped it, so it was a victory in two ways; my friend got the trophy and now that dress hangs a stone’s throw away in an attainable closet.

With its expanding attendance, it is a great evening for women entrepreneurs to showcase their artistry and products, so also on display were beautiful prints and jewelery, cool housewares, environmentally friendly cleaning products, and Sun Ice ski jackets at wholesale prices.  I scored a beautiful long necklace for a ridiculously reduced price which I would tell you, but then I would have to kill you, so let’s leave it at ridiculous.

At the end of the evening, all of the remaining clothes are donated to a local women’s shelter, which is of course the biggest victory of all; women helping women.