On getting and giving...This is the story of two women - both of whom separately wanted the same precious silent auction item.

And both of whom got it.

Only to end up giving way more than they got.


OK, let's start from the beginning.

Last month, the two women - Joelle Caron and Claire Deighton-Lamy - attended an accountants conference at the Winnipeg Convention Centre where Clara Hughes, Canada's most-decorated Olympian, was one of the speakers. As a way of raising money for her Right to Play charity, Clara offered one of her quilted Olympic jackets as a silent-auction item.

It was Clara Hughes' autographed jacket that Joelle Caron and Claire Deighton-Lamy both desperately wanted.

So bidding started.

At one point, as the dollar amounts climbed higher and higher on the bid sheet, Claire asked Joelle a question.

"She said, 'How much are you willing to pay?' I said, "I'm not going to tell you that. But I can tell you you're not leaving here with the jacket.'" Soon thereafter, Claire gave up. By that time, Joelle's bid had reached $1,275.

"So I got the jacket," Joelle said.

Although she doesn't have it anymore.

Which is where the story of getting turns to giving back. In large part, she had Claire to thank for that, though.

Last week, Joelle's uncle Roland Turenne, returned home from Ethiopia as he has periodically over the last 50 years. That's how long the Jesuit priest has been doing missionary work there, part of which has involved building one-room houses for the homeless.

At the age of 86, Father Turenne had decided this had been his last mission. But there was one family, whose shelter amounted to pulling a plastic bag over their heads, for whom the priest still wanted to build a house. All it would take is $2,000.

Joelle recalled how she came up with the idea of raising that money. The Clara Hughes jacket was still in the box on her dining room table and as she looked at it, Joelle asked herself a question. "Can I turn this jacket into a house?" Which is how she came to call the woman she out-bid for it.

"I said, 'I have a little story to tell you.'" So Joelle told Claire the story about her uncle the missionary who builds $2,000 one-room houses for poor families just outside Addis Ababa.

"Then I said, "I was just wondering if you would be willing to pay $2,000 for that jacket.'"

"And she said, 'Are you kidding me?"

"'Don't feel obligated,; I said."

"And she said, "Absolutely. I'm in.'"

So Friday afternoon, they got together for the exchange. Joelle gave Claire the Clara Hughes jacket and Claire gave Joelle a cheque for $2,000.

Then Friday night, during a backyard barbeque at her sister's home in Whyte Ridge, Joelle surprised her uncle with the cheque.

So there you have it.

The $1,275 Joelle paid for the jacket went to the Clara Hughes charity to help kids play sports, and the $2,000 Claire paid for the same jacket went to help Father Turenne build one more home for a far-away family. Or, as Joelle summed it up: "Clara Hughes' jacket double-dipped."

View Free Press Article here.