“Calendar guy” fire fighters make house call


CUMBERLAND | It began with a simple let- ter to the Clarence-Rockland Fire Depart- ment asking for help tomake a lonely lady with few joys in her life a little happier. It ended with almost a dozen of the hottest- looking fire fighters from all three of the city’s stations rushing to make a special house call visit with Anna Mintsioulis. “Words can’t describe how thankful we are for what they did,” said Geneviève Ré- gimbal, a staff member at the SonShine Families group home in Cumberland. “They didn’t just make her day. They made her life.” Anna Mintsioulis, 36, was born with Rett Syndrome, a neurological disorder that af- fects the grey matter of the brain. Women are the primary victims of Rett Syndrome. Males born with the disorder, if they are not stillborn, never live past infancy. The disorder affects the motor system and many adults with Rett Syndrome be- come wheelchair-bound. Their ability to speak may also deteriorate as they become older. Other physical problems develop as a woman with the condition ages. Her condition has not stopped Anna from enjoying her life. “She’s very social,” Régimbal said. “She loves to laugh. She loves to have people around her that she knows. Everything can

Photo SonShine Families

It was the best Saturday ever for Anna Mintsioulis (seated in wheelchair) when 10 of the hottest firefighters in Clarence-Rockland came to visit her for the morning at the SonShine Families group home in Cumberland. It was a special house call these “calendar guys” were only too happy to make if it meant putting a smile on Anna’s face and helping make her day-to-day existence with Rett Syndrome a little easier to handle.

make her laugh.” But what Anna loves most about her life is her favourite pastime. Guy watching. “In her bedroom there are pictures of men all around,” Régimbal said, smiling. She is bedridden now, in palliative care as Rett Syndrome takes its toll, but when she was more active, Anna enjoyed going to live concerts and to hockey games. She did not much care who was on stage or skating around the rink as long as, Régimbal noted, “there was anything with men in it.” Which is why one of her favourite tele- vision shows seems to be Chicago Fire. Watching the “hot guys” appearing in every episode, whether new or a rerun, is one of the few pleasures she still has. Which gave Régimbal an idea one eve- ning when she was on overnight duty at the home and noticed Anna sitting in her wheelchair, her full attention glued to the T.V. set and Chicago Fire. “I thought, ‘I’m married to a firefighter. Why not see if I can surprise her?’” A phone call and a letter went out ex- plaining Anna’s condition and her passion for “hot firemen” along with a request if at least one real fireman would be willing to make a special drive out to Cumberland on a Saturday to visit with her. “I was hoping for maybe one, or two,” Ré-

gimbal said. A call came back from the fire depart- ment explaining that 10 guys from the three casernes were ready, willing and able to come out to visit with Anna. And they were all part of this year’s inaugural 2014 Clarence-Rockland Firefighters Calendar project. Saturday morning, Jan. 24, Anna sat in her wheelchair in the common area at the Son- Shine Families house. Waiting with her were the day’s staff members. The door opened and in trooped 10 of the hottest looking guys she had ever seen in her life. “She looked up,” Régimbal said, grinning. “Her eyes opened and closed. She realized there were a bunch of hot firemen in the house and a big smile spread across her face.” Anna’s firemen spent the morning with her, talking, and also presenting her with her own copy of the calendar. It has become her most prized possession, especially the photo of one CRFDmember who is now her favourite fireman, even more so than any of the “hotties” on Chicago Fire. For Anna, her heroes ride the fire trucks in Clarence-Rockland. They are also heroes to the staff at SonShine Families group home in Cumberland. “We just have the biggest thankyou in the world to them,” said Régimbal. For more information on Rett Syndrome, go to the Ontario Rett Syndrome Associa- tion website at or the CHEO Rett Syndrome Clinic page at www.cheo.

La Societé Alzheimer de Cornwall et Région tient à remercier les participants de Rockland de leur soutien et de leur aide. Grâce à eux nous avons amassé THE ALZHEIMER SOCIETY OF CORNWALL AND DISTRICT WISHES TO THANK THE ROCKLAND WALKERS AND SUPPORTERS FOR HELPING THEM RAISE

PLUS $46,000 À travers les 5 comtés Across the 5 Counties

Ceci servira aux programmes et services que La Societé Alzheimer offre aux gens de Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry, Prescott Russell, La Ville de Cornwall et d’Akwesasne, qui vivent avec la maladie d’Alzheimer ou une maladie connexe. FOR THE PROGRAMS AND SERVICES THAT THE ALZHEIMER SOCIETY PROVIDES TO THOSE IN STORMONT, DUNDAS, GLENGARRY PRESCOTT RUSSELL, THE CITY OF CORNWALL AND AKWESASNE, WHO ARE LIVING WITH ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE OR A RELATED DEMENTIA.


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