by Brian Bailey from Apsley, ON Canada K0L 1A0

Brian Bailey, along with his wife and son, has run the charity TURNING THAT FROWN UPSIDE DOWN for the past 22 years. 

Here, Brain explains his inspiration behind the idea for the charity:

"I'm only one person. What can I possibly do?"  How many times have we all heard this statement at one time or another? The point being made here, of course, is that one person doesn't really have all that much power, or at least not the kind of power to institute lasting change.

But perhaps rather than talking about power or 'clout' (as it is sometimes called), it might be more beneficial to think in terms of attitude.  For attitude is an excellent place to start, because all of us do, in fact, adjust our thinking patterns from time to time, even if we are unaware of it.  It is necessary for growth and maturation, which in turn affects our individual thinking about the way in which we view the world around us and the people with whom we interact.

I believe, for instance, that a good, healthy,  positive attitude is perhaps the greatest single asset any person can possess.  Have you ever verbalized a new thought or idea to others, with such fervent passion that those around you caught your excitement as well?  If you ever get the opportunity to try this, you may be extremely surprised and delighted by your findings.  In fact, you might even discover that you actually do possess some 'so-called' power.

147157Brian and familyBrian Bailey


The charity endeavor entitled, TURNING THAT FROWN UPSIDE DOWN. is for children who have serious and long-term illnesses who request autographed &/or non-aligned photos, posters etc. of their heroes: celebrities in the sporting and entertainment world primarily.  The goal of this project is to put smiles on the faces of the sick children and hope and determination in their heart and soul by taking their minds and emotions (full of anxiety and worry) off their specific illness, as well as to give them the desire and strength needed to 'fight the good fight'; the fight they must win in order to get better.  The items they request and hopefully receive 'help greatly' to accomplish this important goal.  

Sometimes, I will even make choices for the children as well, for a variety of good reasons:  the celebrity I choose is usually a very interesting, successful person, someone who might just capture the child's attention and, in the process, give them strength, resolve and hope in dealing with their problems in a positive & productive manner.  The children will also be so very thrilled and excited to receive such an amazing gift.

This project actually started quite by accident.  My son Neil and I decided one day to start collecting autographed photos from celebrities for fun!  After a while, it dawned on both of us that perhaps we could do something more with this endeavor.  We began to ask ourselves these questions:  Do you think children who are really sick might just enjoy receiving autographed photos of their heroes?  Could those pictures possibly help them in some way, shape or form to try to get better, or at least to perhaps just take their minds off their sickness, if only for a little while?  Isn't that a worthwhile goal?  Wouldn't that make a difference in their lives?

Thus began an amazing journey that has spanned the past 22 years.  We have requested and received hundreds of famous signed photos which we have then passed along to a multitude of children in hospitals all over North America.  There has been much success and many rejections as well in trying to secure these signed pictures for the children.  It is not an easy job by any stretch of the imagination to obtain autographed material from famous people.  If I am unable to secure a signed photo of the celebrity in question for the child, I will usually try to obtain a beautiful non-signed picture for the child.  Hopefully, the youngster will enjoy this photo also.  The bottom line is simply to try to help that particular child (ren) through the process of getting well and feeling stronger and healthier each day.

There are 2 aspects of this project that really do intrigue me.  The first is in the acquisition of these pictures while the other aspect involves the distribution of the photos to the children.  I love the challenge of obtaining the pictures from the celebrities!   How do you convince someone of a rather grand stature that what you are doing is worthy of their attention and also gain their trust at the same time?  Because TRUST IS EVERYTHING!  These are indeed quite formidable tasks, to say the least!  Of course, EXCELLENT COMMUNICATION here is of the utmost importance.  More importantly, however, just show them your IMMENSE PASSION.  Passion can be very powerful!

The other aspect involves dealing with the Hospitals and the Child Life personnel, the people who deal directly with the children.  I believe this project can fulfill a key role as an ally to the Child Life Workers as they help the sick children through the getting-well process, helping them to cope as they work their way through this difficult and challenging journey, the way back home.  I have the UTMOST RESPECT AND ADMIRATION for these people (child life" workers).

Why is it that I continue to forge ahead with such an endeavor, especially in light of all the problems and difficulties therein?  Well for starters it is always good to be involved in something that serves a purpose for the greater good of mankind, definitely an endeavor MUCH LARGER THAN YOURSELF AND YOUR OWN WORLD.  Also, I have been sick in hospital many times in my life  (3 Hip Replacements, 2 Hernia operations, Appendix and Bowel Surgery, to name but a few), and I can tell you unequivocally speaking from personal experience that such hospital stays are necessary but certainly not very enjoyable at all.  This is true in spite of the fact that the nurses, child life workers and doctors perform in an absolutely marvelous manner in helping these sick children... if this project can help to alleviate some of these negative thoughts and feelings for the children and hopefully replace them with positive, joyful, optimistic feelings in the process, then this project is worthwhile and perhaps can make a difference in the life of a sick child.

Nine years ago, almost to the day, my son Neil (31 years old at the time) had a large brain tumor  (non-cancerous Acoustic Neuroma) operation.  Thank God he is doing all right now.  At the time however, it was a pretty difficult situation when a 'code blue' was called after his initial 13-hour surgery and then another 4 hours of emergency surgery.  I know personally the 'pain & anguish' a parent feels for a sick child (no matter the age of the child).  It must be even more difficult when the child is at a young age.  This motivates me to try to do something, anything for these sick youngsters to make them think about other things than their illness and motivate them to get better in that process.

People have asked me many questions: is this endeavor really instrumental in helping these kids to feel better?  Do I ever get discouraged?   How do I feel emotionally from being involved in such a serious and somber undertaking?  Perhaps the answers to these questions can be found in the concept that many human beings strive to make some small positive difference in our world.  Just maybe it's as simple as the feeling of knowing that someone, somewhere is breathing a little bit easier because of something one has tried to do.  It's both SIMPLE AND COMPLICATED at the same time. 


My wife and I ran the charity together for years and during that time I have been fortunate to meet some amazing celebrities including Edward Asner, Dick Van Dyke, Jean Beliveau, Annika Sorenstam, Liona Boyd, and the list goes on. Now, it is just myself and my son as my wife passed away from acute leukemia in May of 2018.  Al Pacino must have contributed at least 50 signed photos for the sick children.  I fear I bothered him way too much, but he brought joy to so very many children!

I want to thank all the marvelous celebrities who have participated in 'TURNING THAT FROWN UPSIDE DOWN'.  I thank you from the top, right down to the bottom of my heart, for all your kindness, caring, trust and generosity.  I really DO APPRECIATE all the autographed photos you have sent to all the sick children that this project supports.  You are truly putting beautiful smiles on the faces of these children, as well as giving them joy and hope about life.  You have my very deepest, sincerest and heartfelt thanks and appreciation.

You know, it's quite interesting for me personally, when I hear comments about the fact that people just don't care anymore.  Celebrities, in particular, are said to occupy a different financial bracket and therefore live in another world, within a different dimension.  How can they possibly know, or even care what life is like for the ordinary person?  Well, I must certainly protest and disagree with this particular line of thinking.  It has been my own personal experience, especially in light of this project, that nothing could be further from the truth.  The fact of the matter is that celebrities DO INDEED CARE about the welfare and well-being of others.

Many celebrities have submitted two or more autographed pictures, while even others have sent a combination of Photos, T-Shirts, Baseballs and Harmonicas.  I have even had the luxury and good fortune to be able to go back time and time again to some celebrities for other requests from these ill children.  The bottom line seems to be this: If such a request as an autographed picture will make a sick child smile as well as give them hope, then by goodness, an autographed photo IT IS!

To my way of thinking, that's TRUE CARING AND GIVING of the purest and highest order, straight from the heart and soul.  Thanks for supplying the children with all those many smiles and alleviating a great deal of stress and worry as well, and for just simply letting them know that someone, in fact many someones are out there REALLY DO CARE!!!


Page created on 2/20/2022 9:33:49 PM

Last edited 2/22/2022 11:48:31 AM

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