Guest Post: Angie’s Story – Charity on the Job

Hi, my name is Daniel Stannett and I’m a truck team member for 1-800-GOT-JUNK? in Toronto. I titled this blog post “Angie’s Story” but really, it could be called “my story” or the story of any of my heroic fellow truck team members anywhere we service. It was also a story mentioned by the Globe and Mail when talking about The 8 Most Engaged Companies in Canada.  You guessed correctly: one of those companies happens to be 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and for good reason! This is the emotional story of a family seeking to honour their daughter’s dying wish. And it is the story of compassion. We simple junk haulers are privileged to work with amazing people every day, for which we are grateful.

The call for professional junk removal can be about spring-cleaning or a difficult personal circumstance; a death in the family or a divorce. Truth is, we’ve seen it all. On a daily basis my comrades on the front lines and myself act as humanitarians first and haulers of junk second. There is no formal training, it all stems from voluntary acts of compassion to those who are experiencing tough times. You may find it hard to believe, but clearing out junk is often about letting go of more than just “stuff.”

Recently our client Angie was faced with a heart-wrenching challenge. Three of her siblings had suffered with Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy, a chronic, slowly-progressing, inherited, multi-systemic disease that is characterized by wasting of the muscles and other debilitating symptoms. Angie was the only child to avoid the condition. Following the death of her sister Jennifer, Angie and her father attempted to donate her sister’s Ergolift to someone in need. The primary function of an Ergolift is to assist caregivers with lifting patients who are suffering from MS, Muscular Dystrophy, or any other movement-inhibiting condition.

It was Jennifer’s dying wish to have the machine donated to a family or institution that could benefit from it. However, the family was unable to find someone in need. Frustrated with the results of their search, Angie called 1-800-GOT-JUNK? to have the machine removed. To Angie this seemed like a personal failure of her sister’s final wishes.

An Ergolift similar to our donation

We told her that we would do everything in our power to find an appropriate home for the machine. Through the actions of two determined truck team members, and with the assistance of Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital and the Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, a donor family for this device was found. The Ergolift was donated to a Toronto family to help aide a 14-year-old girl suffering from a brain injury sustained following a sudden heart attack at the age of three.

It is stories like these that not only reaffirm my commitment to 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, but also highlight the passion we all have to recycling the items we collect and donating them to people in need wherever possible.

Daniel Stannett
Truck team member, 1-800-GOT-JUNK?
Toronto, Ontario