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Lily Ahonen (Nurse/Make-up Artist)

Photo by: Noel Cosgrove

What is your most beloved childhood memory?

I grew up in the inner city neighborhood of Victoria Park in Calgary. We used to play on the Rundle Ruins; we would pretend it was our castle. We spent countless hours there. We also played in the river and there was a rope we used to swing and jump from. We used to set off fireworks and BMX over homemade ramps.

I lived a block from the Stampede grounds, so the Calgary Stampede was a huge part of my childhood. I went every day. I parked cars in my yard to earn money. We would sit on my neighbor's roof and see the fireworks right over our heads.

What gives your life meaning?

I have an 11 year old daughter and I've also been a foster parent for medically fragile children for the past decade. I find this very fulfilling and it is my purpose in life.

I enjoy mentoring youth.

What three words would you use to describe the last three months of your life?

Chaos, growth, and change.

Photo by: Jenna Brownlee by Brownlee Photography

If you could ask one person, alive or dead, only one question, who would you ask and what would you ask?

I would love to speak with Leonard Cohen. Last year, I saw a movie about his life (Marianne & Leonard-Words of Love) in a small theatre on Hornby Island.

I would want to know if he ever regretted not settling down with his true love or if he was truly satisfied with his freedom.

How do you know when it’s time to continue holding on or time to let go?

I think with anything, if you find it's making you sad more than it's bringing you joy, it's time to let go. This could be for a relationship, or for that pair of jeans you've had since 1996 that you know will not ever fit again.

If you could go back in time and tell a younger version of yourself one thing, what would you tell?

I was very independent when I was a teenager. I would tell myself to ask for help. To accept help. Have a Mentor.

Support is critical and I believe everyone can go so much farther with their goals and dreams with the right supports.

What life lessons did you have to experience firsthand before you fully understood them?

You cannot run away from your problems. You can move to another country and try to start fresh, but what you left behind will always be there until it's dealt with. You can run, but you can't hide.


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