How seven everyday heroes being surprised with $50,000 today will use it to better our country from coast to coast

Everyday heroes hide in plain sight and often don't realize their superpowers. In communities across the country, individuals are doing incredible things, from building homes for underprivileged families to raising awareness for rare diseases, to putting a smile on the faces of children who are living in the hospital.

Because these heroes are an inspiration to us all, today we're saying #TDThanksYou to 49 community heroes who we're also proud to call our customers.

Below you'll find the incredible stories and examples of seven heroes who were each given a $50,000 donation to their causes. And because today marks Customer Appreciation Day at TD—another 42 heroes will each receive $5,000 to help fund work that aims to address the needs of Canadians of all ages. 

Every one of these heroes demonstrates the impact an individual can make with heart and purpose.  Meet some of our heroes, below.

Hack Hamdon
Drayton Valley, AB

Hack believes that no matter what, everyone deserves to come “home” at the end of the day. Hack is the founder of Humans Helping Humans which gifts struggling families with a home. Hack has led numerous home builds and the effect has been exponential in his community. He’s helped people get out of the cycle of poverty and strengthened a culture of giving back in his community.

"Our biggest hope is to have every single person in Drayton Valley go home at night, to their own home with a bed and roof over their head."

Photo of Hack Hamdon standing at a construction site.

François Laramée
Delson, Quebec

François works tirelessly to keep depression, suicide, and the importance of physical health in overcoming mental health challenges top of mind for Canadians. François, who runs more than 10 km daily, has been involved in several marathons to raise funds for Fondation Jeunes en Tête, which helps teens in psychological distress across Quebec.

"I often think of the people who helped me get to where I am today. There are now people who tell me 'I got where I am today thanks to you.' So it's like coming full circle, and it's really about paying it forward!"

François Laramée standing outdoors.

Pamela Bielak
Vaughan, ON

Pamela recognized that children who spend time in hospitals need an escape and something to occupy their time. She came up with the idea of creating craft kits, which enable children to use their imagination and hands to create wonderful things. Pamela’s cause, Crafting for a Cure, reaches children in over 70 hospitals in seven countries.

"I've seen the worst. I've seen when a kid is in the mental health ward at five years old in the Harlem Hospital. I've seen the kids that are bed ridden smile, that haven't smiled in a week." Daniel Bielak (Pamela's Son)

Pamela Bielak wearing a flower crown standing outdoors.

Harry Stewart and Chris Southin
Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Chris and Harry are a couple who carved their own path to acceptance through adversity and want to help others to do the same. When there was nowhere for LGBTQ2+ youth to turn to in their area, they created a safe space for young people to connect and thrive. TD is contributing to Rainbow Camp to extend that same experience to more young people and to hold a reunion for past campers.

"To me Rainbow Camp means a place that I can be myself and I can talk, hangout and just be unapologetically me," Anonymous Rainbow Camp Camper

Harry Stewart and Chris Southin standing together by a lake.

Dave Proctor
Calgary, AB

Dave, an extreme distance runner, is using his passion for sport to raise awareness and money for the Rare Disease Foundation. Dave’s son Sam has a rare disease called RECA (Relapsing Encephalopathy with Cerebellar Ataxia). As part of his ongoing efforts to raise funds and awareness, Dave is running across Canada.

"I'm going to run across Canada. I'm going to be dealing with heatstroke, blisters, mental fatigue, inflammation in every single joint in my body […] Scary thought, but I know I can do it because I have the very best reason to do it in the world and that is my son Sam."

Dave Proctor and his son Sam standing in a field on a sunny day.

Don MacDonald
Edmonton, AB

Don saw the positive effects that sports could have on marginalized youth in his community so he decided to provide kids in his area with equipment to play. Don's commitment to youth is one reason why Sports Central exists. Since 1991, Don and other community-minded individuals have provided over 125,000 low-income kids gear so they could play in a sport of their choice.

"I come here, I volunteer, I see what's going on, I see the smiles on the faces. It just means we're doing the right thing – I love it."

Don MacDonald standing in front of a building with a sign that says Sport Central

Cindy Stradling
Scarborough, ON

Cindy’s not-for-profit annual conference called Women Moving Forward, is a gathering for women embarking on a journey towards hope, health and happiness.

"When I first began the Women Moving Forward conference, I remember standing at the front of the room and just seeing all the smiling faces. You could see the eagerness and the excitement of the women, because nobody had ever treated them like that. Just seeing them feel appreciated was motivation for me to continue."

Cindy Stradling sitting on a couch in front of a window.

We're encouraging Canadians to watch, like and share these stories to help celebrate the heroes that are helping to improve lives and open doors across Canada.