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Carrying Place woman to be honoured on Canada’s Walk of Fame

Evelyn Wilson receives the first [1]

Evelyn Wilson receives the first Peter Soumalias Unsung Hero Honour as recognition for all she does to help out in her community. Photo by Taylor Broderick, QNet News.

By Taylor Broderick [2]

BELLEVILLE – Canada’s Walk of Fame [3] has chosen Evelyn Wilson from Carrying Place as the winner of the Peter Soumalias Unsung Hero Honour [4] for 2015.

This is the first year the unsung-hero award has been presented. It’s recognizes someone who has done outstanding work in the arts, culture or sports and who has made a positive impact on his or her community.

While juggling her family life, Wilson finds time to give back to her community in many ways. The list of charities, organizations and events Wilson volunteers for seem endless.

She’s involved in Our TMH [5], a group working to save Trenton Memorial Hospital, and she coaches the basketball team at Trenton High School [6].

But it’s really her work with cancer charities that she is known for. The charity work really started for her after she lost her twin brother to leukemia at the age of six. That’s when she got a lot more involved with cancer charities and cancer awareness.

“Sometimes you don’t have a lot of money but you have some time and you can just give yourself…one person can make a difference,” Wilson said.

Her life turned upside down again in 2010, when her 15-year-old daughter Katie died of a type of bone cancer called osteosarcoma, the same cancer Terry Fox had.

By the time the cancer was found and treatments began, the cancer had metastasized from Katie’s bones to her lungs and she died just eight months after she was diagnosed.

“We were told right from the beginning because it had already metastasized into her lungs that she only had a 30 per cent survival rate,” Wilson said.

Being involved with so many different charity events is how Wilson keeps Katie’s legacy and memory alive.

“If I can change how funding for kids cancer is done so that we can get better treatments and more awareness, than other families won’t have to go through what we’ve gone through,” she said.

Despite her tragic experiences, Wilson is committed to helping others in similar situations. Wilson’s father-in-law was diagnosed with ALS [7] and she is one of the main community organizers for the local Walk for ALS [8].

She also raises funds for local families who need to travel far to get treatment for their children with cancer; she leads a bereaved mothers’ support group; and she is a motivational speaker.

This past fall, Wilson and her family held the 5th annual fundraiser, known as Katie’s Journey. It raised over $2,000 for osteosarcoma research.

Wilson’s husband, Brent, nominated her for the honour. She says she didn’t find out about the nomination until she was told she had actually won the award.

“I was a bit speechless and for people who know me, that’s very hard to do,” she said.

Evelyn says it was even more surprising to hear she beat out nominees from all across Canada.

Melanie Hurley, the chief executive officer of the Walk of Fame says the best way to honour Evelyn is by telling her story.

“Evelyn is someone who clearly gives herself to make her community a better place,” Hurley said.

The award is a part of a program created in recognition of the Walk of Fame’s director, Peter Soumalias, and his dedication to celebrating Canadian excellence. The Walk of Fame was created by Soumalias in 1998 to showcase the achievements of successful Canadians by means of maple leaf-like stars embedded in sidewalks along Simcoe Street and in front of Roy Thomson Hall [9], the Princess of Wales Theatre [10] and the Royal Alexandra Theatre [11] in Toronto

Wilson will join other Canadians being honoured at the Walk of Fame celebration at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts [12] in Toronto on Nov. 7.

Wilson says she is excited to be a part of the Walk of Fame red carpet event but she’s also nervous to meet a lot of the big Canadian names such as Don Cherry, Michael Buble and author Lawrence Hill.

“It’s almost surreal to think I’m walking the red carpet with some of these people,” she said.

She will also receive $5,000 and a commemorative gift.