This feature reminds us that Heroism comes in all forms, big and small, and sure does make an impact coming from a seriously inspirational young lady named Regan. Regan, you're well on your way to making a difference in the lives of many. Keep up all of your amazing work! You truly are a Heroic Human...
You are my Heroes,
"Regan Scott created The BakeRee out of a simple love of baking. This young lady is Durham Health certified and completed her Safe Food Handling certification all by age 12. Now, she’s in demand all over Durham Region and as far as downtown Toronto!
Regan, known to her baby sister (and staff taste tester) as “Ree”, tested out recipes for special diets for hours on end. Only the best gluten free, vegan, and even raw creations made The BakeRee cut. Regan has produced some of the tastiest cookies for special diets – her dairy free chocolate chip cookies are simply too good to be dairy free. Although she specializes in cookies, Regan says her banana loaves are also a huge hit not only at the farmer’s markets but also around Christmastime when her fresh baked goods are in high demand. In December, Regan prepared nearly 50 gift sets, made to order, for children gifting to their teachers. Another 50 gift sets went out for corporate client gifts. At only $20 a set, these gift sets come with a half dozen fresh cookies of choice, in a BakeRee customized mug, and cello wrapped with a gift tag ready to go. Word about this young entrepreneur’s tasty treats has spread as far as downtown Toronto – Regan has prepared platters for some blue chip companies’ corporate events, although she only smiles and blushes a little when I ask which companies. I ask her how she prepares such big orders and delivers them, and she looks to Dad, who only smiles.
Usually, Regan saves her earnings from The BakeRee sales for her education and donates a portion of proceeds to a charity close to her heart. This summer, Regan is donating proceeds from her sales at the UFM (Uxbridge Farmers Market) on Sunday, September 23 to the Toronto SickKids Hospital (SickKids Foundation). Regan remembers her experiences visiting SickKids as an outpatient. When Regan was born, a blood clot in her arm led her to be in care at SickKids for the first weeks of her life. When returning for check ups, she remembers being scared and nervous in the big hospital’s waiting rooms. Regan hopes to donate funds, with the support of her community, to provide fun activities and programmes for children in outpatient waiting rooms. She knows that play will make children’s experiences less scary and more fun while waiting to see their health team doctors.
Regan’s plans for The BakeRee include the fundraiser on September 23d at the UFM, where you can fill out a ballot to win a gift set. Regan explains that with competitive dance, swimming, school, and babysitting (yes, she’s also a certified babysitter) she has to balance her time very carefully. Regan will focus on fulfilling gift set and party platter orders for holidays rather than attending markets. With nearly 100 gift sets on order last year, I suggest getting in touch with The BakeRee today to get your orders in.
You can check out Regan and The BakeRee at www.TheBakeRee.biz on Instagram @TheBakeRee_ on Facebook @TheBakeReeCA or you can email her to place your order: TheBakeRee@outlook.com. Be sure to stop by the UFM on September 23 to support her in donating to SickKids Foundation - and buy some of this famous banana loaf you’ve already heard so much about!"
WHAT’S MY STORY?
“What are you going to do in this world?” Said by a grandson of Nelson Mandela
The moment I heard these words, I knew that there was a bigger meaning to who I was, and what I am meant to do then I ever could have imagined.
As a young girl, I was shy, introverted and had a deep passion to help others and leave a positive impact. Like many young teenagers and young adults, I struggled with self-confidence, my body image and my identity. One of my saving graces came in the form of mentors and books in they self-help industry.
Hi! My name is Ashley-Ann and the best words to describe myself are: Entrepreneur. Writer. Philanthropist. Life Coach or Mentor. But I simply like to go by, storyteller.
At the age of 21, I realized that I was the creator of my future and ultimately, my life. This was the start of dedicating my life to giving back, making an impact and provide healing for others. But in order to be a source of healing for others, I had to heal myself.
WHAT DOES STORYTELLING MEAN TO YOU?
Writing is what healed me, it allowed me to express myself on paper rather than keep my thoughts, feelings and emotions locked inside. Today, I write to help heal anyone who is ready to be healed. I help women who feel stuck to discover solutions within my story so that they can heal and own their life. And that is why, “The Key to Happiness: A Journey to Embracing My Story” was written and turned into an online experience.
“You have one life, live it intensely, and search profoundly for happiness.” Padre Fernando
So I ask you, “what makes you happy?”
Is it having a big house, lots of money, lots of friends, a fancy car, traveling, partying every weekend, the latest smartphone?
Well, what if you didn’t have all of these things? What would be your source of happiness?
WHAT’S YOUR MISSION?
My soul purpose if for you to realize that you are that source.
You have that capability to be in a state of happiness at all times.
Yes, there will be moments of sadness, frustration or anger.
But ultimately, you are the source to your own happiness.
I remember when someone asked me who I love, I would never say me.
I remember when someone asked me if I was happy, deep down I knew I wasn’t.
I remember when someone complimented me, I would fight against that compliment.
You see we spend so much of our life resisting our true self, and self-sabotaging our own happiness. That ends here. With the pain I’ve experienced I have created principles to happiness that you can apply to your own life and it’s all found in The Key to Happiness Online Experience.
Connect and stay updated with Ashley-Ann here: @ashleyannpereira
Landon's story is one of perseverance, strength and bravery. His vulnerability and openness with his journey has only given inspiration and empowerment to those around him. Thank you for sharing, Landon, and for making a difference by telling your story. You truly are a Heroic Human...
You are my Heroes,
“I was the so-called tomboy that pushed the gender roles of what a girl “should” do until it was no longer acceptable. At the age of thirteen, puberty hit, and I was stripped of whatever little comfort I had within my body. As my physical body changed, I was reminded of the XX chromosomes I was born with. My chest began to grow, and my menstrual cycle left me with not only streaks on my underwear but traumatic memories never leaving my existence. Society condemned my behavior; my body betrayed my mind and the mirror became a spot of absence. To go through an experience feeling out of place and hopeless led me to the point of never staying quiet.
Sharing my story began in 2015, I took a leap of faith and decided to upload a YouTube video with the title, “I AM TRANSGENDER”. I had been out to my close family and friends nearly two years prior and it was time to socially transition. It started as a way for me to get the word out about my name and pronoun change before the new school year arrived, but it soon progressed into a video blog of my physical and emotional transition along the way. Since then, it’s never ended.
At the same time of my transition, I was faced with immense trauma that left me lost and shattered. My father passed away suddenly, my mother became emotionally absent, we lost our family home to foreclosure and I was battling an eating disorder. I refused to let my life struggles tear me down because for the first time in my life I had confidence within myself. My self-love led me to put in the work to lose nearly 100 pounds. The only thing that seemed to get me through it was staying present in psychotherapy.
Today, at the age of eighteen, I’ve recognized that being authentic is what makes me have purpose in this world. Using the years of education and life experience I have, I’m working to become certified as a motivational speaker and life coach for those in the LGBTQ+ community. If me being myself empowers another to embrace their own identity than my vulnerability was all worth it. My mission is to show others that we’re all unique and our individual stories are what make us so incredibly human, so let’s use them to empower each other."
Stay updated with everything Landon is up to here: @landonmcnee
"I believe that wearing hijab while playing sports has given me adversity, confidence and strength on and off the field. For many women, wearing modest clothing along with a headscarf while taking part in sports is a physical and social challenge to overcome and we should celebrate those that have mastered it and encourage those who are struggling!
My inspiration to create this initiative comes from my own experiences as an athlete and an interest in creating opportunities for Muslim women, especially those from minority groups, to grow and realize their social and physical potential. Muslim women, like women of any other faith or race, have extraordinary abilities and talents. However, their abilities and accomplishments often get overlooked due to the piece of clothing covering their hair. I was often told that rugby was not to be played by women who wear hijab, that women who looked like me were better off in school or at home. Others saw barriers for me which were not there. However, I knew that my faith would not be weakened by playing sports. Growing up in Toronto has given me a chance to discover my passion and strengths in relation to rugby and an opportunity to pursue it, while wearing the hijab. Being Canadian should mean that we recognize our differences, celebrate it, and optimize on it to move forward and grow as individuals and as a society.
Approximately 84% of the 1.3 million Canadian Muslims say that that being Muslim is very important to their identity (2011 National Household Survey). Preserving this identity should not mean that women and girls are deprived of opportunities to be part of their communities, particularly by taking part in sports and athletics. Involvement in sports and recreational activities is key to integration and social and economic participation, especially among newcomers. Let's acknowledge the fact that more than half of the Muslim women in Canada wear hijab or niqab in public (Survey of Muslims in Canada, 2016). It would be too many opportunities wasted, too much talent not recognized if these women were discouraged from pursuing sports and athletics.
Hijabi Ballers holds events and programs aimed at celebrating and increasing the participation of Muslim women in sports. We have received numerous grants and awards allowing us to serve hundreds of Muslim females pursuing sports and athletic development opportunities in Toronto."
In August of last year my little brother Michael committed suicide. We learned that he was suffering from Depression and Bipolar Disorder. He was undiagnosed. He was 24 years old. I spent the night at the hospital with him while he lay in a coma with my brothers and my parents by his side. He was pronounced dead at 8:10 AM on a sunny Monday morning. That night changed everything for each one of us. The choice he made on that hot summer evening to end his life has forever shifted the trajectory of my life and the lives of those who surrounded him.
That’s the part that seems obvious – that your life would change as a result of experiencing something as profoundly traumatic and devastatingly sad as suicide. What is less obvious and worth sharing is the story of how I have chosen to understand the choice he made because I cannot change what happened by being angry or sad. Instead, I have chosen to see the beauty, chance and possibility in his death. I am going to promote a powerful life for him because of those life altering things he taught me in the days, weeks and months following his death.
Michael struggled throughout the night on life support. My father and younger brother shifted through stages of traumatic shock and grief while my mother was in panicked transit en route from Montreal to Toronto. I spent much of that night sitting with him, talking to him, trying to help him feel loved in case any part of him was aware of what was happening. In fact, the doctors responsible for him that night encouraged me to do that, despite the fact that his motor skills were obviously inhibited by the damage to his brain. I felt, along with the doctors that there was a chance he might still hear and feel me. He stabilized over the course of the night but finally after over 6 hours of improved condition, at the moment when my mother arrived at the hospital, completing the attendance of all family members, he went into a massive cardiac arrest. A series of resuscitations took place, and 2 hours later he died.
I spent the last two hours lying beside him, struggling to find a balance between staying calm for him and managing devastating waves of grief. I imagined that if it was me lying there I would want to feel loved in the simplest most powerful sense and so I chose to focus on finding that place in the early hours of the morning, during the final hours of his life.
This is in fact the beginning of the story of Michael’s life in many ways. Since I have begun sharing his story a number of people have been affected by it. For example, a work colleague who I have known for years had never told anyone that his younger brother, the same age as Michael, also suffered from Depression and Bipolar Disorder. When I told him the story of my brother, he asked me: “what should I do, how can I stop my brother from doing the same thing?”
I am often questioned about what I could have done or should have done in order to stop him from making the same choice that night. I actually never struggled with the guilt of being unable to stop him, what I struggle with most is that I did not know that he was in pain. I felt by not recognizing the signs, I had no idea what he was struggling with. If could choose to go back in time it would be so that I could tell him two things: that I was so sorry he suffered alone and that I would try to separate his personality and the choices from the mental illness he suffered from.
I wish that I had been more compassionate, more present and more supportive and not as judgmental, critical, busy, and impatient to be able to see that he needed help.
This could remain a sad story. However, early on in this experience I chose to see that in fact we were, all of us directly and indirectly involved, given a beautiful gift – the gift of perspective. When I told my friend my story, he left the following weekend to visit his little brother – and he told him everything that I wished I had the chance to tell Michael. From that point on he credits Michael’s story with why they have a different and a healthy relationship. My friend now treats his brother with a greater level of compassion and empathy and his brother feels supported and understood in a deeper way.
This is why I have to tell his story. So that it impacts those who hear it and inspires all of us to make the direct choice to be more compassionate and present with those who need us. This is the gift he gave me and I am choosing to respect the choice he made and to create a better world in the process.
We firmly believe in the research that suggests a correlation between an increased sense of well-being and a regular yoga practice. Our goal is to help those living with a mental illness discover this shift for themselves by offering regular yoga classes through our partnering studio at no cost.
We exist because we believe yoga may allow some to find a sense of peace inside the struggle of mental illness. We will help as many people as we can discover the power of yoga by connecting them with some of the most amazing studios Toronto has to offer.
Intellectually supported by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and empowered by generous donations and long term financial partners, Blu Matter Project is an innovative not-for-profit organization that provides qualified applicants with the opportunity to discover the benefits yoga without the financial burden.
Blu Matter Project is currently expanding. This 2018 we have created a partnership with Lululemon "The Local" on Ossignton. 50% of the profits from each purchase at The Local go towards the support of Blu Matter and building a bigger team. Currently Blu Matter is only running out of the "Iam Yoga" studio, while next year we will be expanding our program to 5 other studios in the Toronto GTA. This means more free yoga, and mental health by yoga access will be readily available for participants who have been previously waitlisted. It also means easier access, as the studios chosen will be spread out across the GTA for ease of transit.
Blu Matter Project is a not-for-profit organization that operates as the liaison between Ambassador Studios and those living with Anxiety, Depression and/or Bipolar Disorder. We provide our recipients with the opportunity to practice at a partnering yoga studio free of charge for a year.
Our vision is to generate a stigma-free conversation about the lived realities of mental illness, creating a non-judgmental, global support network. We are committed to providing tangible solutions by way of monthly workshops to those living with mental illnesses. We hopwe to create a global conversation about the real-life experiences of mental health for all parties involved.
To learn more about Blu Matter Project and to get involved, visit their website blumatterproject.com
Sabrina founded A Brown Girl Company to celebrate diversity and to bring advocacy and awareness to mental health. She holds pace for people to share their stories and journeys, and features people to share vulnerabilities, successes and challenges. Sabrina, you truly are a Heroic Human...
You are my Heroes,
"I was inspired to start this company because I realized that life is too short to not be represented and to not have a voice. In june 2017, I was diagnosed with depression right after I tried to take my own life. As you can imagine, it was a terrible time. I felt like my life was over. I slept all day everyday because my one and only wish was to not be here anymore. Fast forward to August 2018 - a year and two months after my diagnosis - I'm running my own brown girl empowerment line, which has gotten incredible feedback from around the world. I made it my mission to show people that they too can turn something as bad as depression into something good. It’s okay to not be okay and I want everyone to know that when they come across my page.
In the past, I've looked up "brown girl empowerment" and had no luck. Therefore, I decided to make my own. I want brown girls to know they aren't alone. Society never really talks about brown women, and I wanted to let them know that their voice will be heard. I want them to see my products and say "hey, that looks like me!". I will do everything I can to give brown women a voice because we deserve it. We need to stick together, and stay strong. Everything gets better. We are strong, powerful, talented and beautiful just like all the other women out there, and that is simply what this line is intended to represent. Something beautiful can come out of even the ugliest of situations and I need people to know that it really does get better no matter what situation they are in."
To follow along on Sabrina's journey, follow @abrowngirlcompany
Katie Bowen Photography
Katie Bowen Photography
I want to take a second to acknowledge how amazing Analyn is. She is the epitome of womanhood, strength, vulnerability and courage. In sharing her personal story with cancer, motherhood, amputation and postpartum - Analyn has inspired others to share their journeys and to open up about the difficulties, and the joys of diversity and humanity. Analyn, you truly are a Heroic Human...
You are my Heroes,
"Creating this space and figuring out what it even was and what I wanted from it has taken a lot of time and has evolved. It honestly continues to evolve as I learn more about myself.
This actually started as a business page for my doula business. I have had a passion for teaching, pregnancy and birth for a long time and turned that into a job I love. As my business was new, I was working hard to grow it. I spent countless hours working on my original website ( which I still have) and IG. When I sat down to work on my IG I decided I would do daily post with each day dedicated to a specific topic. IE Monday would be birth, Tuesday postpartum, Wednesday breastfeeding, etc. On the day I do a postpartum post I wanted to show raw, natural postpartum bodies. I spent time pinteresting and googling "postpartum bodies" and what I kept finding was articles on how to "bounce back" and diet plans, work out plans etc. I was so frustrated that nothing at my finger tips showed the beauty in the natural postpartum body. When I looked deeper and finally found the images, images of saggy bellies and stretch marks, something hit me. There was an absence in women with scars and disabilities being represented. Where were the beautiful pictures showing that women with amputations, and in wheelchairs, and with scars were also mothers? I realized if I wanted to see this I would have to make it myself. I got down to my underwear and showed myself - scars, amputation and all. I wanted to show that women with disabilities are beautiful and desired and mothers. That picture took off, and I really wasn't expecting it to have the impact it did. It was then that I realized I needed to inject more of myself and my stories into my business page. A few months later when I was diagnosed with cancer again - this time, it was breast cancer. As a breastfeeding mom I knew I wanted to document what I was going through. I changed the name of my business page and moved to telling my story. Being diagnosed with cancer as a mother absolutely shattered me. Being diagnosed a few weeks before my 18 year remission day, it knocked the air out of me. I wanted to tell that story. I wanted to connect with others like me that understood without saying a word.
At first I was documenting things as they came up. It wasn't until after I stood in the street topless and I was driving home that I thought about what it is I really wanted to wanted to say. I've learned a lot on what it really means to have cancer more than once, what it really means to live with an amputation, and what life after cancer really looks like.
My mission with my blog and social media is to bring an understanding to people, cancer and disabilities. That we are beautiful and we are valuable and that we aren't defined by what's seen on the outside. Mostly though, I do this for my children. I want them to connect with others, to ask questions, to value similarities and differences and most of all to have the confidence to live the lives they want and to be exactly who they are."
Sophie is addressing an issue that people experience day-to-day all over the world. Her rewarding work gives people the space to share their stories and bring awareness to varying experiences of harassment. Sophie, you truly are a Heroic Human...
You are my Heroes,
"I was inspired to share my story with you because Catcalls of NYC is about building community and engaging new people. The Instagram account is made possible by followers who submit their stories of harassment in the New York City area. I then share their stories by writing them on the sidewalk in chalk in the spot where they originally happened and posting them on Instagram. My goal is to raise awareness about catcalling-- an issue that is often belittled, ignored or considered “just words.” By sharing these stories I provide people with a community of support and make them feel less alone. By writing the comments in chalk on the sidewalk I force the public to pay attention to these words that are being said to women on a daily basis.
For me, this account has always been personal. I grew up in New York City and catcalling was (unfortunately) a part of my transition to adulthood. When it started happening, I didn’t understand what was going on. At age 15, I felt uncomfortable when men would talk to me. Comments like “hello beautiful” and “sexy” made me extremely self conscious walking down the street. Sometimes I would avert my eyes, look down at my phone or even cross the street if I saw a man walking towards me.
What originally made me feel uncomfortable soon made me very angry. Why was this behavior allowed in public? Why was my experience as a young girl in NYC so drastically different from those of my male friends? Why did I have to think about what I could wear so as not to provoke unwanted attention? Even as I recognized how problematic this behavior was, I never felt comfortable responding
to men who catcalled me. Their words silenced me. I started Catcalls of NYC as my way of speaking back. Rather than saying something in the moment, which I was too afraid to do, I could do something after the fact. I could use my story for good and offer others a platform to share their stories too. Furthermore, by raising awareness I could challenge the culture that normalizes street harassment and eventually change it.
I highlight intersectionality on my account because feminism is nothing without intersectionality. For me, this means recognizing the different aspects of peoples' identities and how they contribute to their experiences of harassment. In this way, the account is an educational platform for people to learn about the different types of street harassment diverse people in NYC face.
Overall, this work is extremely rewarding. People often thank me for giving them a space to share their stories. Sometimes I’m the first person they’ve told and it’s a relief for them to not carry the burden alone. People who haven’t experienced harassment have also thanked me for shedding light on this topic. One man told me that because of my account he’s become more aware of how his own behavior may make someone uncomfortable. He feels that he’s becoming a better ally. It’s gratifying to help other victims of street harassment by giving them a voice. I'm thrilled that by reaching new people with this message I can change minds and embolden people to tackle this pervasive behaviour."
Follow Sophie's initiative on Instagram: @catcallsofnyc
Teens Take Charge is a student-led coalition committed to raising students’ voices for educational equity in New York City. The coalition is part of The Bell, an organization that uses media, testimony, and events to shift more power in education policy to the students affected by it. This student-led movement is taking the future of schools and education into their own hands. To the entire Teens Take Charge team;
you truly are Heroic Humans...
You are my Heroes,
"Teens Take Charge was born around April 2017 with the first student performances,
To Whom It May Concern,
in the Bronx Public Library. Whitney Stephenson and Nelson Luna are the co-founders of the coalition but along with other peers, they came up with the name: Teens Take Charge. Whitney and Nelson have both graduated this past week from Democracy Prep Charter School. Both will attend college this fall with Whitney attending Mount Holyoke College and Nelson attending Columbia University.
After April 2017, Teens Take Charge had its second event on November 2017 at the Schomburg Center. By early 2018, the coalition opened its platform not only for students to share their stories, but to have the opportunity to become involved with policy. The third event on March 2018, We Regret To Inform You, featured not only performances but Teens Take Charge's proposals to the Department of Education. On May 17th, the anniversary of Brown vs Board of Education, Teens Take Charge invited policymakers and politicians to visit high schools from all over the city. Today, the work of TTC involves working with policymakers and having students at the table when it comes to public schools."
A co-founder of TTC
" I felt like a number and a passing rate within a system I never realized I had the power to change. A system where my individuality wasn’t something nourished. However, Teens Take Charge allowed me to see that change is not impossible if we act on it. It is an organization where change can be made when teens take control of their education. From public testimonies of letters and spoken word poetry, Teens Take Charge has allowed a platform for different forms of youth voice. It has been an outlet that allowed me and many youths to realize that our voice matters, and it’s packed with a powerful force of change."
Learn more about Teens Take Charge at teenstakecharge.com and bellvoices.com, and follow them on Instagram @teenstakechargenyc
I had the privilege of working with Emma at one of my staff meetings put on by Lululemon. Emma led us through a meditation, and a painting session which we were then inspired to create art that encompasses our goals. I can speak for my whole team in saying that this was the highlight of our day! Emma was so open and vulnerable about her journey with Mental Health and provided a sense of comfort and inspiration throughout our entire session with her. Emma, you truly are a Heroic Human...
You are my Heroes,
"How beautiful it is to find peace within yourself. To understand there is no good or bad, right or wrong. To love yourself, Flaws and all. To wake up happy and confident ready to face the day. To welcome mistakes, so you can learn and grow. To become a better version of yourself, every day. To truly understand who you are, connect to thyself and embrace your weirdness. To be guided by controlled emotional states and to not let any outside influcence effect who you are. Just be you and love every moment. " - a quote from my book "It's Going to Be a Really Good Day"
and thats exactly how I wanted to live, healing myself from the inside through re-directing, re-discovering and re-connecting to my energy. I was diagnosed with bipolar
and instead of choosing it to be a weakness, I used it as a the strength for my foundation to which I built my drug-free, self-supportive life with my creativity guiding me!
I've always believed if you have the power to see change within yourself and the courage to act on it then not sharing it would be a waste. Thats why I decided to connect others with my art. I want to awaken EVERYONE to the most definite possibility to another side within and around them. The simplicity of my art is to capture others to find their own way to CHOOSE for their own lives, to be courageous, vulnerable and brave with yourself.
I think, believe, and know it is time to evolve as humans on many levels and through painting, writing and my own self learning path I hope that it will spark others to do the same!
Difference is where we seperate and as an individual who explores creativity, difference is where the connection starts. Be yourself for you, because YOU ARE YOU 👊🏻
Lot's of love,
Oh and always remember its going to be a good day!
Follow Emma's journey on Instagram @_emmapink
Nicole's battle with Crohn's Disease is one hell of a fight. She is a determined wife, mother and a voice for those fighting with this disease. She is an inspiration, and a body of strength for anyone suffering worldwide, and especially in her community. Nicole, you are not alone. You are truly a Heroic Human...
You are my Heroes,
"I am a Crohnie. I have Crohn’s Disease. I have been battling this illness since 2004 and I continue to battle until a cure is found. I, unfortunately, don’t battle for me, though I’m working on the whole self love piece. I, instead, battle for my family. I do not want to give up the fight because of my husband and my children. I want to be around for them. I want to be the best mom and wife I can be – physically, mentally, and emotionally. I've always had it in me to write, to express my feelings, my emotions in regards to living with this HORRIBLE, incurable disease. Everyone who lives with Crohn's Disease experiences it differently. Different symptoms, different triggers, different medications, different saving graces. I wanted to share my experience, my journey with you.
Through my blog and social media accounts, I have met some incredible fighters. Particularly a non-profit group called Our Wings to Fight. In 2017 I was approached by the chair of this committee to speak at their annual gala, where they raise money for Crohn’s and Colitis Research at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto.
I have since joined their committee and I continue my volunteer work and my push to find a cure, spread awareness and support everyone impacted by this illness."
To take part in Nicole's journey, follow her on Instagram @marriedtocrohns
I want to acknowledge Sarah for the ways that she shows up for the world. This woman has undergone incredibly difficult circumstances, and continues to shine light and positivity in every situation presented to her. Her determination, vulnerability and strength through her journey has been changing the lives of the people around her, and she is an absolute inspiration. Sarah, you truly are a Heroic Human...
You are my Heroes,
In August 2016, at age 30, I had reached the peak of my career. I landed my dream job travelling around Australia for work in aged care. I was happy. I was independent. My life was turned upside in a matter of hours. I was staring death in the face and the fight was only just beginning.
When tragedy struck I thought I only had a bad bout of the flu and when I rapidly worsened I was taken to emergency at the hospital.
When Dr’s realised this could be Meningococcal Disease, I was placed in an induced coma and was on life support for 8 days when they got the confirmation that is was in fact meningococcal septicaemia, the W strain, the most deadly and usually kills within hours. During this time my family was told I wasn’t expected to survive and were told to say good bye to me multiple times. After 8 days I surprised everyone by waking up. I soon realised just how much strength I needed and had no choice but to fight.
Using everything I had, I continued to fight whilst having several fingers and toes amputated, the loss of four major organs and requiring a kidney transplant. I have had 20 operations in 18 months, and have had to go back on life support 4 times. I literally had to rebuild my body, and I continue to do so. I am dependent on dialysis three times a week in order to survive until I receive a kidney transplant.
Yes, I used to think I had done something wrong. Am I being punished for something? What did I do to deserve this? As the hits continue to keep coming, I now know this horrid thing called Meningococcal didn’t kill me for a reason - although it continues to try even 18 months on! The reason being? To help stop this from happening to other people. To potentially save lives. To use my strength and willpower to fight and show others what this disease can do to you.
You don’t know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice. I have been blessed with amazing family and friends who have been by my side every step of the way. During the tears, tantrums and milestones. If you don’t have a support network it can be a very lonely and empty experience which makes you question the littlest of things. Am I good enough? Why should I go on? What’s the point? My life has completely changed. I feel my life is now richer in ways as I appreciate living a whole lot more. I want people to know that if you find your inner strength you can fight. You can turn negatives into positives. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Talk to others, be bold. Be brave.
I am now a proud public speaker to share my story and help to motivate others in challenges they may be facing in which we have no control over. In addition to this I am a director of a not for profit organisation called The Violet Foundation in which we support those affected by Meningococcal Disease and raise awareness of the disease."
Heroic Humans is a social impact movement that provides a gathering space for inspiration, celebration and empowerment. We aim to foster connections among heroic people and groups, helping to establish a broader reach and more profound influence on their individual communities. We care about authentic connections and the power behind all people and passions. Let’s join forces and recognize those who make a difference.
Heroism comes in all forms. Whether it’s someone who lights you up, inspires you or others, or pours your favorite cup of coffee; everyone has their own story to tell and a life to change.
With your help, we can uncover raw emotion and vulnerability, overcome adverse conditions, and applaud human empowerment in all its forms.
Submit your Heroic Human and share their impact with us. We’d love to get to know them!
HEROISM LIVES HERE