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A Garden that Grows Hope

Charon and Colin Blakley of Langenburg, Saskatchewan, will tell you that hope is exactly what their garden grows. It’s not magic - they do plant vegetable and flower seeds. The difference occurs when they sell the produce and donate the proceeds to The Leprosy Mission Canada, offering hope and a cure to people affected by leprosy.

Charon and Colin have always grown a large garden, but in 2009 they decided to plant a few extra seeds in order to have extras to sell to raise money for charity. They chose TLMC because, in their words, “it is very unjust that so many people in the world suffer from this debilitating disease when there is a known cure. The unfairness just seems to multiply when one realizes how little it costs to cure one person.”

The garden has received tremendous support from the people and businesses in the surrounding community. Some examples include people in the community donating everything from grocery bags to greenhouse containers to help lower operating costs and a local hardware store selling the Blakley’s tomato cages at cost and giving them onion bulbs.

In 2009, the Blakley’s set out to raise $350 to cure one person with leprosy. Much to their absolute amazement, sales totalled $903 for the year! $700 was donated to TLMC, and just over $200 was given to the Mission and Service fund of the Blakley’s church. Colin’s employer, Potash Corp., Rocanville Division, matched their contribution to TLMC, meaning that four people were cured of leprosy.

In 2010, Charon and Colin doubled the size of the garden and added several new varieties of vegetables. They set out to raise $1150 – enough to cure three people from leprosy and to contribute $100 to Haiti earthquake relief work. They also decided to deduct operating expenses from the sales.

Despite the challenge of an extremely wet growing season, which destroyed the entire tomato crop from blight, sales again exceeded their expectations. Over $2500 was raised, and after expenses were deducted, a donation of $1750 was made to TLMC, plus the $100 for Haiti. Once again, Colin’s employer matched the donation, which allowed for 10 people to be given the cure for leprosy.

In 2011, the Blakley’s plan to produce another garden to raise funds for TLMC. The plan is to focus on the best selling vegetables: cucumbers, corn and pumpkins. They hope that 2011 will be a bountiful season so that the fruits of their labour can be shared with those who need it most.

After only two years of operating the charity garden, 14 people have been given the cure for leprosy because of the Blakley’s work. As Charon and Colin say, “We think the garden is making a difference in the world and to those 14 people it makes all the difference!” They are grateful for the opportunity to forever change the lives of people affected by leprosy.




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