Connecting, Celebrating, and Contributing: My Journey to MacLachlan College
By: Rachel O'Hagan
Imagine a world where education and community converge, where every individual's journey intertwines with others, creating a tapestry of support and inspiration. I'm thrilled to be the Alumni Manager at MacLachlan College, where this vision becomes a reality every day.
My story is one of unwavering passion for education and the transformative power of community. From an early age, the pursuit of knowledge and the joy of helping others learn ignited a fire within me. This lifelong passion set the course for a career dedicated to making a positive impact in the realm of education.
But my appreciation for community took a different turn through unexpected life experiences. Life has a way of teaching us profound lessons when we least expect it. In my case, it was a life-changing diagnosis that thrust me into a role I hadn't anticipated – that of a full-time caregiver for my son, diagnosed with Spinal Muscle Atrophy, a rare, life-limiting disease. With no cure in sight, we faced an uphill battle. But as any parent knows, giving up is not an option when it comes to your child.
In the midst of a global pandemic, I turned to social media to share our story, seeking a glimmer of hope. The response was nothing short of miraculous. Within days, our community rallied, and we raised over $80,000, providing the lifeline needed to begin my son's treatment. It was a testament to the incredible power of collective support.
Fast-forward two years, and that same community continued to stand by us, helping secure a $2.8 million gene therapy that was beyond our wildest dreams. They facilitated access to essential equipment and therapies that the pandemic had delayed. Their generosity knew no bounds.
But as the recipient of this incredible support, I grappled with a sense of guilt. The community had gone above and beyond for us, and I wondered if we were deserving of such boundless generosity. It was through connecting and hearing their "why" for donating that I realized we all shared similar paths and the capacity to support one another through connection, celebration, and contribution.
Understanding one another's stories and finding common ground became my guiding philosophy. Now, as the Alumni Manager at MacLachlan College, I am honored to foster a sense of community within our school and connect like-minded individuals to support one another. Contribution comes in many forms, with connection being the most profound. By sharing our stories and listening to the journeys of our alumni, we can inspire our students and equip them with the tools to navigate the world and make a positive impact.
This is a gift, and I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to connect, celebrate, and contribute to our MacLachlan community.