Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A Recap of the #SelfCareMvmt Summit

I was introduced to Self Care Catalysts when I attended ePharma back in March. I really had a great time speaking with the SCC team. SCC paid for my travel to Toronto for the #SelfCareMvmt Summit. However, all thoughts below are my own and have not been influenced by said compensation.

I just really, really love this team, who put this together in three months.

Courtesy of Health Storylines
Make sure to check out #selfcaremvmt on Twitter for some fun convos around this summit. 

Dude, Canada was awesome.

My trip was fun... though my flight was delayed four hours. I was okay with that, though, since there was a mechanical issue with the door on the previous plane!

Plus, I got wine and some free food.

I rested most of the day of the #selfcaremvmt summit, since it felt like I needed to practice what I preach with regards to self-care. I spent time with my pal Kristin, just hanging out and enjoying each other's company.

The shirt was from Wear Your Label, obviously
When we arrived to the MaRS building, it was time to enjoy some delicious food and get mic'd up...

Kristin Coppens, Lene Anderson, and me with my blonde hair
But not before spending time with Lene Anderson! I also got to meet friends like Annette McKinnon, though we neglected to commemorate that with a photo - d'oh!

Courtesy of Kristin
The keynote speaker of the evening was Margaret Trudeau, the former first lady of Canada and, yes, Justin Trudeau's mom. She was hands down one of the most amazing people to see speak. I have had the honor of seeing many people in various venues, but this was something.

As someone living with PTSD, I find it hard to discuss that in public due to stigma. That night, I watched Margaret Trudeau openly discuss her Bipolar Disorder in the most endearing, hilarious, and frank way.

I had goosebumps for the bulk of her talk.

I just really wanna be her best friend.

We heard from other amazing people such as Filomena Servidio-Italiano from the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada, psycho-sexual therapist Sandra Rotholc, psychotherapist and physician Lucinda Sykes, writer and Crohn's disease patient John Bradley, comedian Robert Hawke, and then us cool ladies on the patient panel!

This has been one of the biggest things I've participated in. I was nervous at the beginning, but not by the time I got on stage... which is weird for me. I'm used to always fearing speaking in front of others.

Not anymore.

Courtesy of Health Storylines
I did not mean to match Rob, but hey it worked out pretty well!

During the summit, I learned so much about grace, love, and support. It reaffirmed so much of what I already knew - the universality of how illness makes us feel alone, in denial, and struggle with day-to-day life.

It helped to make it more obvious that the work we do as patient advocates and activists is so needed.

The most important thing for us all to remember is that age-old illustration of oxygen masks on an airplane. So many of us push ourselves out of self-care under the guise of helping others - sometimes that's the real reason and other times we're in denial. 

Courtesy of Fresh Stitches
And that's okay.

But we can't help others without taking care of ourselves. It's impossible to help people if you're dead or if you don't have the energy to do so.

We just have to remember that.

At the end of it all, CEO Grace Soyao announced a self care design challenge. We are charged with answering the question: 

How might we support and enable self-care as part of the management of long-term chronic conditions?

Think you have a way to answer that question? Enter your submission here and you could get the chance to go hang out with SCC in Toronto for two weeks as well as snagging a $1,000 stipend while you work to incorporate your idea into SCC's Health Storylines app.


  1. This sounds/looks like an incredible conference-- and YOU were the person to be there. :) I'm so proud of you and the strides you're making on/in your own personal projects and life. You amaze me.