Colborne woman honoured by TSFC
By CECILIA NASMITH Northumberland Today
November 11, 2011


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Honoured by the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada for her work in raising funds in the fight against TouretteÕs, Betty Legacy is seen here Nov. 8 in her Colborne home with granddaughter Michelle who inspired all the work.



COLBORNE, Ontario — Legacy Toys & Crafts owner Betty Legacy has been honoured by the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada with the Sybil Berenstein Fundraising Award.

The award, presented Oct. 28 in Ottawa at the National Conference on Tourette Syndrome, acknowledges the thousands of dollars Legacy has raised to further the cause of fighting Tourette Syndrome through the annual Youth Vocal Talent Shows she organizes in Cobourg.

Legacy was inspired to take that step by her granddaughter Michelle, who has Tourette Syndrome (and was the star of one of the films in the award-winning @Random documentary series).

The award would have been a surprise had she been at the conference, Legacy said. She had been invited but, as the owner of a small business in Cobourg, was unable to go.

"I was blown away," she said of the news.

"You never do anything for that kind of comeback. I was really quite tickled I was even considered.

"But I do know Tourette's doesn't get a lot of financial help. When Michelle had Tourette's, we discovered she had such a lovely voice that it made sense to have a vocal talent show for kids."

The Legacy family were also thrilled with the @Random film, because there's so little awareness of Tourette's.

"They interviewed victims of Tourette's so people have a more open view of what Tourette's really is — that was the first real work that has ever been done with Tourette's. We were all really excited about that," Legacy said.

Michelle is getting to be well-known and in-demand for her singing. She often joins Ken and Anne Clarke in their shows (and in fact, Ken's sister was her vocal instructor for some time).

She is also working on Grade 6 in piano, and plays trumpet and cornet in the band at the Salvation Army church (this was her third year in the Santa Claus parade as part of their float). Plus, at St. Mary's Secondary School (where she is in Grade 11), she's involved in two choirs.

It's a musical family, the proud grandmother said. Michelle's sister Heather plays bass and acoustic guitar, as well as contributing to the band on the euphonium. Sometimes she'll accompany Michelle on guitar.

The talent show she plans in 2012 will be back for a fifth year, and Legacy hopes to see it continue.

"No one person can do this," she said, sharing the credit with a list that includes the Town of Cobourg, the high-school volunteers who show up to complete their community-service requirement by helping out, even her husband Ron who insisted on purchasing all the sound-system components rather than trying to rent them year after year.

"It's really amazing, all these people who are willing to come out and be part of it, and a lot of them come year after year," she said.

Legacy is also delighted to offer something to the young performers — the opportunity to see what they can do.

"It helps them feel important to show their own growth eery year — and some have come every year," she said.

The last concert was in June, held at the Victoria Park bandshell, which worked out really well.

"The kids really feel like they are performing when they're up onstage," she said of the venue," she said.

Legacy is hoping the 2012 show, planned for June 23, can also be at the park. Michelle will not be competing, but she will be performing the opening number.

"It's important she's part of it, because it's about letting others know you can be successful, no matter what."