Note from Globetrotting Mama: I’ve known Kelly Reid for years. As colleagues in the travel industry we’ve laughed and sipped wine and broken bread together many, many times. This summer, as I returned from a trip that brought so much joy to my family, Kelly and her family were experiencing the ultimate in heartache.

Her husband David passed away.

Right To Play was the charity closest to David’s heart. She has been working with her sons to raise awareness about the good work they do in David’s honour. ( And, as it turns out, Clara Hughes is also celebrated in Kelly’s home for the work she does with Bell Canada. When Kelly saw that I was working with Clara on the Level The Field Campaign, she reached out.

I asked Kelly if she’d share her story on Globetrotting Mama.

She is my first Guest Post. I’m so honoured and touched that she accepted. (Please be sure to take a peek at just a few of the family memories Kelly shared at the bottom of this post.)

David died suddenly in July of this year. At his memorial service, his youngest son, Joel, described his superhero theory, stating: “When dad died, I was told that he had been born with a defective heart.  I found this astonishing.  To me, dad had the biggest and best heart of anyone.  He was a kind of superhero to me.  He fought for good and for all of humanity, without the expectation of reward.  We say that a man such as this has a big heart, or a ‘lot of heart.’  This was true of dad.  His extra-developed heart was the key to his super powers, namely, his phenomenal ability to love indiscriminately.  But like other superheroes, he had a secret weakness that we didn’t know about.  The irony, in my dad’s case, was that his special power was also his secret weakness: his heart. My dad will always be my favourite superhero.”

David Right To Play

Dave often took his summer vacation to coach kids. At this summer rugby camp, both Ryan and Joel coached with him. Joel is in the white jersey far right. Ryan is next to him on the right in the back. Dave is at the far right in the red t-shirt.

Dave’s eldest son, Ryan, saw him as a philosopher king, who had determined his own code by which to live his life.  The idea that resonated with him most deeply was Karl Marx’s maxim, “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need”, or in Dave’s words, “those who can, should.” This idea was at the core of Dave’s thoughts and actions.  It explains why he gave himself to others so fully and freely, without ever wanting anything in return.  He did it all because he could, and living his life in accordance with his own principles was all the reward he needed.

It is hardly surprising that a man who lived his life by these codes was a gifted coach who understood the potential for transformation which coaching holds. He believed strongly in the philosophy of Right to Play, and he lived that philosophy in his daily life.

 A gifted athlete all his life, Dave’s sports of choice were hockey and rugby, which he played alongside his sons later in life, something that brought him particular joy. A natural leader, Dave coached many teams, including the Shaw Cable teams that he devoted himself to for 33 years. Dave also refereed numerous hard-fought rugby matches with the same balance of passion, fairness and good sense that guided his life.

David Katherine

David and his sister-in-law Katherine.

Dave lived his life to the fullest, and he was loved by many.  From the over 500 people who attended his service, and the many friends who could not attend, Right to Play received nearly $5000.00 in recognition of his love of coaching and sport.

Dave would be thrilled with the fundraising efforts for Right To Play in his honour which will allow 85 children the right to play for one year—and he would be equally tickled to hear that Clara Hughes knew who he was! She was a personal idol of his not only for her athletic accomplishments but especially because of her work to raise awareness about mental illness and her advocacy work for to Right To Play.  He would be impressed with Heather Greenwood-Davis’ newest mission.  He met Heather through his wife Kelly’s work and had followed her family’s recent travels around the world online.  He would not have been surprised to see that Heather was chosen as a parent sponsor for Right to Play.  Not ever having travelled to Rwanda, Dave was nevertheless drawn by the complexity of the situation, and Canada’s role in it. This project in particular would have been dear to his heart. He would be pleased to help make a difference in Rwanda.

Family Portrait: Reids

Family portrait – Top row l-r Joel, Kelly, David , Front row daughter-in-law Jenn, Ryan

Vote now.  Vote daily. Vote for “We Build Peace”at

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Right To Play is an international humanitarian organization that uses sport and play programs to improve health, develop life skills, and foster peace for children and communities in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the world. Working in both the humanitarian and development context, Right To Play trains local community leaders as coaches to deliver its programs in countries affected by war, poverty, and disease in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and South America.

 In honour of David Reid, Kelly, Ryan, Joel and the rest of Dave’s family are supporting parent sponsor Heather Greenwood-Davis and athlete sponsor Clara Hughes in their “We Build Peace” project in Rwanda, as part of the Level the Field campaign recently launched by Right To Play.  They encourage you to take a good look at this project, and to vote for Heather and Clara daily from now through December 18th.