Posts Tagged ‘volunteering’

Vancouver ScotiaBank MS Walk 2015

Written by on May 25th, 2015 –

Yesterday was the Vancouver ScotiaBank MS Walk. This year. the walk was held at a new location, at The Plaza of Nations right along False Creek in beautiful downtown Vancouver. This meant that the route ran right along the seawall. It was a gorgeous walk for everyone who participated.

The turn out was fantastic-about 500 people showed up and there was so much to see-teams in costumes…

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Teams with signs…

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Teams whose participants were doing the course their own way…

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On A Mission

Written by on February 17th, 2015 –

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In late January, I flew out to Toronto to meet with the Personnel Awards  committee at the MS Society of Canada office. The Personnel Awards committee is responsible for reviewing research applications for studentships – Master’s, Doctoral and Postdoctoral fellowship applications that are involved in both biomedical research and clinical and population health research. This committee was comprised of 11 researchers and clinicians, (one of whom was the chair) two MS Society grants staff, an MS Society intern, the Vice President of Research, (who  herself has a PhD) and four community Reps, which included me. In all, the board room was filled to capacity with 19 people working as a team.

All of us spent 6 weeks prior to the meeting working hard on our reviews. I personally reviewed 24 grant applications. I spent countless hours learning new words (Thank goodness for Google!) and trying very hard to understand a few applications that were exceptionally challenging. There were times where I felt like I was stretching far beyond my comfort zone, but I would temper that with the knowledge that I was doing this work to the absolute best of my ability.

The review process was eye opening for me. I came away with a deeper understanding of just how complex a process it really is.

The Canadian MS Society’s mission statement reads:

“To be a leader in finding a cure for multiple sclerosis and enabling people affected by MS to enhance their quality of life.”

And these are the values* I saw in action during the review process: (more…)

Exciting News!

Written by on December 4th, 2014 –

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So…I have been keeping something very exciting under wraps for just over a month now, but I can finally tell you about it. In September, I applied to be a Community Representative for the Canadian MS Society and I received an email indicating that I’d been accepted as the representative for British Columbia at the end of October.

 A Community Representative is someone who is affected by MS-either they live with MS themselves or have a family member who does. In my case, I lived with an MS diagnosis for 5 years before being re-diagnosed with Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO). I have a number of close friends who have MS and I also have members of my family who live with or have lived with MS as well, so my ties to the MS community run deep.
Community Representative assess MS research grant applications to ensure ease of comprehension and relevance to MS and offer valuable insight throughout the review process to ensure that research dollars are spent wisely on projects that will have a significant impact on those affected by MS. Each Community Representative spends significant volunteer hours reviewing, evaluating and recommending studies for funding by the Canadian MS Society.
I have been assigned to the Personnel Awards Review Committee, which is responsible for reviewing Masters, Doctoral and fellowship applications that are involved in both biomedical research and clinical and population health research. This committee is made up of one chair person, ten scientific reviewers (Doctors) and four community representatives.
Over the next month, I will be working hard on the review process and then in mid-January, I will be flying out to Toronto for a meeting to go over in detail each application our committee has reviewed.

I am very honoured to have been selected to participate in this process and to have the opportunity to have an impact on the future of MS research in this way. I am really looking forward to working with my committee (I think it will be an excellent fit!) and am excited to learn new things.

The Canadian MS Society will be posting profiles of each of the Community Representatives on their website soon. If you’d like to learn more about the Canadian MS Society’s research program, you can do so by clicking here.

F.U.MS in Vancouver

Written by on November 1st, 2013 –

Billy Talent was here in Vancouver the last two nights, playing concerts at the Commodore. Loribelle and I were invited to come and help Aaron out by manning his F.U.MS booth. We had a great time meeting Aaron’s fans, sharing information about someonelikeme.ca and letting them know about Aaron’s new “Ask Aaron” section in the forum, as well as selling t-shirts to help raise funds for the Canadian MS Society. We did a lot of tweeting and even gave away a signed copy of their latest album to one lucky couple who saw the tweet to be the first to visit the F.U.MS booth to win it.

Last night Aaron came to meet Loribelle, her husband and I before the doors opened. It was nice to finally put a face to a name, after all this time. We had the chance to chat and I gave Aaron an NMO awareness bracelet, which he immediately put on. He very kindly asked us which of the band’s t-shirts we would like to have and then took them and had them signed by the entire band.

Loribelle and I had also never met before, so doing this volunteer gig was the first time we’ve crossed paths. It was great hanging out and getting to know her and I am sure we’ll get together the next time she’s in town.

THANK YOU Aaron for the opportunity to help out. Have a great time on the European leg of your tour!

 

Why My Story Matters

Written by on December 18th, 2012 – 2 Comments

In early October, I went to the Blusson Centre, a beautiful new medical building in Vancouver that houses the UBC spinal cord injury research centre for the orientation for the UBC Interprofessional Health Mentors Program.

Way back in the spring, I went for an interview for the program and not long after that I got an email saying I’d been accepted. The way this program works is that future health care practitioners are matched with a Health Mentor who has a chronic illness and/or disability. The program offers students the opportunity for patient-centered learning through working with their mentor for a period of 16 months. This program has been accredited as part of their formal education and includes students from the medicine, nursing, dentistry, pharmacy, physical therapy, dietetics and speech and language pathology & audiology.

At the orientation, I finally got to meet the students I will be working with from now until January 2014. I have four lovely young women assigned to me. My students are studying medicine, nursing, dentistry and occupational therapy. In the current program, they’ve matched 200 students with 50 mentors. That’s amazing! My students and I had our first formal session in mid-October and I instantly felt a very positive vibe about how our group was going to mesh. I believe learning is a shared experience and I think this is going to be a great one for all of us.

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