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A Mother's Story

BY KEITH LACEY Today, Mother's Day, will be filled with emptiness for Elaine Lumley. This will be Lumley's first Mother's Day since her only child, Aidan, 20, was senselessly gunned down outside a Montreal nightclub almost six months ago.
Aidan Lumley


Today, Mother's Day, will be filled with emptiness for Elaine Lumley.


This will be Lumley's first Mother's Day since her only child, Aidan, 20, was senselessly gunned down outside a Montreal nightclub almost six months ago.

Aidan was in Montreal to celebrate a friend's birthday and the end of first semester exams from Trent University in Peterborough. He was a third-year, straight A physics student who aspired to become a doctor. He was the grandson of Margaret, and the late Rev. Robert Lumley of Sudbury. The young man was buried next to his grandfather in the Anglican cemetery in Sudbury.

"Aidan was the love of my life," said a tear-filled Lumley in front of 100 friends and family members at a sombre, but uplifting memorial benefit concert she organized Monday in Toronto.

"I felt like I had to do something for Aidan...I had to put a face to this horrible crime."

The benefit was the launch of her national postcard campaign calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to put an end to the proliferation of handguns across this vast country, particularly in our three largest cities.

Lumley wants to make a profound impact with her postcard campaign.

Half of the first printing of 5,000 postcards show a recent picture of her handsome, six-foot-three son and a "no  handguns" symbol.  Aidan's name and the words "young, beautiful and DEAD" with the last word in large upper case red letters are printed on the card. The day he died Nov. 27, 2005 is inscribed across the bottom of each card. The other half of the first printing do not have "DEAD " on the bottom.

Aidan Lumley's mother, Elaine, wants to prevent other young people from being killed needlessly. She has started a postcard campaign she hopes will deliver a message to the prime minister about the need to ban handguns.

At the back of each postcard reads, "Aidan Lumley was a third-year university student.

Ontario swimming champion. Tall. Handsome. Funny. Aidan was shot in the Montreal, Nov. 27, 2005. The murderers have never been caught, but they will. Please put an end to handguns on our Canadian streets."

Lumley wants to make a difference to honour her son's memory and try to prevent other young people from being killed needlessly.

"I'm outraged our sons and daughters continue being killed because of gun violence," said Lumley.

She will send postcards to any organization, individual or community leader in Canada that requests them. She plans to continue holding benefits and raising cash to continue the campaign.

"If we could send a couple hundred thousand of these postcards to Stephen Harper's office, I think we could make a difference," she said. "We're starting small, but I hope we'll get really strong reaction...Canadians everywhere are sick and tired of seeing our young people being killed senselessly."

Elaine Lumley was born and raised in Sudbury. Her father, a well-known Anglican minister, died two years ago. Lumley has worked in Toronto's vibrant theatre community for many years.

Aidan was born in Sudbury and spent his formative years here before moving to Toronto with his mother at a young age.  Aidan had many friends in Greater Sudbury as he spent most summers working here and sailing at the Sudbury Yacht Club.

A determined, vibrant and intelligent woman, Lumley said she had to do something after her son's death to try and make a difference.

She has been on national television numerous times in the past five months after stepping forward as an advocate against handguns.

She's met far too many other parents who have lost children to violence.

Lumley would like to meet Harper in person to plead her case.

"I'd love to meet him," she said. "I'd like to appeal to him not as a politician, but as a father...I don't want any other parent to have to go through what me and my family and Aidan's friends have been through."

Harper has advocated stiff minimum sentences for anyone who commits crimes involving handguns or illegally possessing them, and "that's a good start," said Lumley.

However, having Canadians demand a crackdown on illegal handguns, being brought across the border from the United States, is going to take a lot of political will and many millions of dollars, she said.

"The guns are here," she said. "I never, ever thought I'd be having to talk about this, but the guns are here and people are dying.

"It should make all of us furious. We should all be saying 'no more, no more'."

She admits she hasn't started any kind of healing process, but keeping busy with the postcard campaign and organizing events to honour Aidan have helped her immensely.

"When I watch television now and see another young person has been killed (because of handgun violence), it just breaks my heart all over again," she said. "I can feel my heart breaking into a million little pieces."

The Benefit for Aidan Lumley was held at Theatre Passe Muraille, near Bathurst St. and Queen St. E. Performers included Mutahdi and the World Drummers, Toronto singer-songwriter James Longo, Toronto band Johnny Ecstasy and folk performers Rodney Brown and Ian Tamblyn, who are both well-known to regular attendees of Northern Lights Festival Boreal, as both have performed numerous times over the years.

Max Kandler, 20, Aidan's best friend was master of ceremonies at the concert. Not a day goes by when he doesn't think about him.

"I know he still affects me everyday because he had such a positive outlook on life and cared so much about helping other people," he said. "He never acted like he was smarter than other people and used to pretend he didn't study or do homework. But then he'd show me his marks and he'd get an another A in physics. You don't do that unless you've got something going on upstairs."

Kandler has lived his entire life in Toronto and can't believe what's happening with young people and guns.

"And it's not just in places like Jane and Finch (a notorious neighbourhood )...People are going out to clubs with guns and they're not looking to protect themselves, but looking to cause trouble," he said.

"These people have a lack of purpose in life and something has to be done to keep them from getting access to these guns."

Toronto lawyer John Legge, a close family friend and Aidan's former Scouts leader, brought the audience to tears recalling Aidan's passion for life and helping others.

Aidan cared about the less fortunate and always wanted to make a difference, said Legge.
"He was the first to volunteer to help the homeless...the first to volunteer at his church...he was a decent, good kid."

Legge said he's attended funerals of former governor-generals, leading politicians, judges and many friends, but he has never witnessed the overwhelming emotion and huge numbers who showed up to say goodbye to a special young man.

Aidan had a "brilliant mind" and would have become a successful and influential physician, he said. "We have all been deprived because Aidan was senselessly and needlessly murdered," he said.

Legge said he hopes the person who shot Aidan twice from behind at point-blank range knows what kind of wonderful person he killed and prays he has the courage to turn himself in and get help.

"There was no fight, no provocation, no reason," he said. "It was most certainly a case of being in the wrong city at the wrong place at the wrong time."

Banning handguns and instituting stiff penalties has never been more important as too many families are having lives shattered by violent criminals with easy access to weapons of destruction.

If enough Canadians demand stiff sentences by the criminal justice system, and judges and police and government priorities are placed on banning handguns, the problem will not go away, but will be drastically reduced and will save young lives, said Legge.

"This has got to stop," said Legge.

Aidan's mother says her road to healing will ease when the man responsible for killing Aidan is arrested. The Montreal detective in charge has assured her they have a suspect, but are having difficulty finding him as witnesses have been less than co-operative.

If her son's killer was unable to access an illegal handgun, Aidan would still be alive and continuing a life filled with wonder, excitement, promise and potential, she said.

"This isn't happening just in Toronto or Montreal, but it could happen in Sudbury or any small town you want to name," she said. "We have to get these handguns off the streets now."

Anyone interested in donating to the Aidan Lumley Fund, can write Elaine Lumley at 557 Indian Rd., Toronto, M6P 2B9.


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