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Jan. 20, 2021 | Wednesday
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Former Olympian Elaine Tanner spreads message of kindness
Former Olympic swimming star Elaine Tanner/Supplied

NOTL resident donates boxes of her book 'Monkey Guy and the Cosmic Fairy'


Julia Sacco
Special to Niagara Now

Niagara-on-the-Lake's Elaine Tanner is extending her book's message of kindness, friendship and love by donating the book to area schools, hospitals, day cares and more.

Tanner, a swimming medallist at the 1968 Summer Olympics and a member of the Order of Canada, self-published her children's book “Monkey Guy and the Cosmic Fairy” with the help of husband John Watt in 2015.

And has spent the past five years working to spread its message of kindness.

“We decided that it wasn’t an enterprise that we wanted to get into monetarily. We decided that the message was far greater than anything we put into it value wise, as far as money is concerned, so we ended up basically donating them to all kinds of different organizations,” said Tanner.

“Locally, we gave to Crossroads Public School here, two boxes and two boxes went to the firehall here, a box went to the Niagara-on-the-Lake Community Centre so they distributed that and then there was an emergency services that two boxes went to for Niagara-on-the-Lake.”

This year, more than ever, Tanner said she believes people can learn the lessons from her book of enjoying simplicity and caring for others.

“I honestly hope that this COVID is going to make people actually stop and pause and instead of running off to the malls and thinking that they have to buy stuff, to really enjoy the simple joys of life and to re-evaluate what is important,” said Tanner.

This message of compassion hidden in a magical tale of a “little monkey and the love he has for his being named Louis” is timeless and impactful regardless of the reader's age.

“There was a lovely lady who picked up a book here and she emailed me this morning and she said that she wanted to give a donation to the Santa Claus Fund in the Toronto Star because John and I do that each year,” said Tanner.

These small acts of kindness and generosity are what Tanner finds most rewarding from those who read her book.

“It’s the simplest little thing that you do," she said.

"It doesn’t have to be a big thing, just a small thing and pass it on. If we get all these little rocks that you throw into a lake and we ripple out, that ripple will affect more and more people, so that’s my wish with the book.”