NMO Day 2013, Vancouver

Written by on November 19th, 2013 –

Thursday, October 17th, 2013 was NMO Patient Information Day here in Vancouver. I was invited to gave a presentation on the Health Mentors Program which went very well. There was alot of positive feedback.

My friend Nancy Reimer talked about being an advocate and organizing the first NMO 5 km walk/run (the first anywhere in the world!) this past May. She did a great job. When she talked about her 9 year old son’s battle with NMO, it brought me to tears. Little kids should not have to deal with life threatening illness!

Dr. Katja Van Hurle, from the Guthy-Jackson Foundation spoke about the work the foundation is doing. It’s easy to see from her energy and enthusiasm that she is such an asset to the foundation. Listening to what she had to say, it was impossible not to feel hopeful and encouraged about the progress the foundation is making. I hope to be able to attend GJF’s NMO Day in San Diego next year to connect with the larger NMO community in person.

The MS Society Lower Mainland Chapter also did a presentation on the support services they offer. Since the Guthy-Jackson Foundation is based in the US, the Canadian MS Society has kindly offered to take NMO patients under their wing and offer all their services to us as well. 

I got a nice surprise when they were showing their slides. There, up at the top left of each one was one of my photographs! This particular photograph has been used on the cover of the Peer Support information pamphlet and now as part of their slide show header! 

A few days later, I had to head out to UBC for a neuro appointment. When I arrived, one of the researchers was at the front desk and immediately greeted me and told me what a great job I did on my presentation. When the neuro fellow came to get me from the waiting room, she told me she’d heard great things about my presentation. I wasn’t expecting this, but it made me feel really good to know I’d had an impact. I really love doing advocacy and awareness work and I have more opportunities coming up in the near future. I am already working with a second group of Health Mentor Program students from 2013-2014 as well as speaking on two patient panels and joining an advisory committee for a new certificate program on Collaborative Practice for Health Care Professionals.

So…that’s the scoop from the 2nd annual NMO Patient Day here in Vancouver. I’m so grateful to live in a city where connecting to others living with this rare disease is possible. Together we are stronger!

Photo (From L-R) Nancy Reimer, Advocate & Organizer of the NMO walk/run

                                 Dr. Katja Van Herle, Guthy-Jackson Foundation

                                 Dr. Tony Traboulsee, Neurologist, Researcher & NMO Specialist UBC

                                 Lelainia Lloyd, Advocate & Health Mentor


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