Learning Indirectly

tumblr_loytmwLVsY1qm37rzo1_500There are always ways you learn things; it can be through a book, a teacher, by following the steps of a role model, or by making a mistake. The list is endless. What I never thought is how learning indirectly taught me more than I ever thought possible. Learning indirectly simply means learning when failure happens or when things don’t work out the way you wanted them to. The fact of life is most of what you are going to learn will be indirectly. After being diagnosed, you may also go through vulnerability as you try and understand this new information and create a new identity for yourself. You need to confront this new reality and there is no book, no guidelines to show you how to go on.

It is completely wrong to think that after a diagnosis your life will not change and it shouldn’t be difficult to adapt to. That knowledge isn’t even easy to accept. The recognition of that reality itself is hard. There is uncertainty in all of life. Events occur and we have no control and no warning. The uncertainly of the future has me asking questions like- what will happen to me? Will I be able to walk in five years? Ten years? Uncertainty about the future will not go away but over time, you learn to come to terms with it.

It’s not all a sad story though, and really I am not sure it ever really was. My diagnosis has forced me to look at the fragility of life and pay attention to things in life I never noticed before. I also learned not to waste my energy on things that don’t really matter. So all in all, I am not the way I once had been. But that’s okay, because learning indirectly made me realize how powerful I am.

Meet the “Let’s Make Muscles Move” blog’s new contributor:

I volunteer!My name is Ivana and I was born in Sanski Most, Bosnia & Herzegovina but moved to Canada at the age of 3. I was diagnosed with LGMD a few years ago and it has forever changed my life.

I know that after being diagnosed my family were probably thinking that this disease would slow me down and I had doubts that it might as well. But if your strong, you can push even harder than you did before. So I made the choice to keep fighting and I took the hardest road in hopes it would guild me to something I never thought possible. So instead of asking why I was given this life, I understand that ordinary wasn’t good enough for me. In my heart, I know that I was meant for something greater.

        After graduating high school I went to post-secondary and got a degree in Finance and General Business. I chose to do Commerce as opposed to a Arts (despite my love for writing) because I knew it would be the most challenging bust most rewarding degree. I came to realize early on that business has this amazing power to transform society and create prosperity in a number of ways. It was the hardest and best decision I have made to date.

        My blogs will be everything I have learned along the way and what I continue to learn today. It will teach you my biggest lessons, what inspired me, and some mistakes. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them.

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Stokes International makes fourth yearly donation to Muscular Dystrophy Canada

Stokes International makes their fourth donation with a cheque for $ 6473.00 to Muscular Dystrophy Canada on behalf of all their customers as part of their yearly program that has raised to date over $ 30,955 in just four short years!

John, Kevin, David and Art during the presentation

John, Kevin, David and Art during the presentation

On Monday, May 6th David Mellor, President of Stokes International, presented the cheque at this year’s Ontario Fire Chiefs Conference in Toronto to Kevin Harrison, National Director of Corporate Giving for Muscular Dystrophy Canada. Alongside for the event was John Uptegrove, Captain from Puslinch Fire and Rescue, and Art Brown, Fire Chief of Mississippi Mills Fire Services. David Mellor explained, “this is an opportunity for Stokes to help support and give back and we are pleased to be partnered with Muscular Dystrophy Canada, a truly worthy cause, and we look forward to continuing to support Muscular Dystrophy Canada for many years to come.” David went on to say that the program was initiated to help celebrate Stokes 60th year in business in 2009 and that his Grandfather, the founder of Stokes Cap and Regalia, would be proud of what they’ve been able to achieve.

Stokes International would like to thank all their customers and they look forward to raising the bar for 2014.

David Mellor was ecstatic about his group’s support, stating, “my father Lloyd Mellor is proud of our team that continues the good work and social responsibility that the Stokes team has endorsed. As a company that sells to the Fire, Police, Paramedic, EMS, Security and Military Services across this great country it’s important to remember that our customers are buying our products to continue important traditions of quality and pride in their services, and charity is a big part of those traditions.”

Stokes looks forward to telling their customers how they’re making a difference – together in the many years to come.

We couldn’t do it without you!

Kevin Harrison is the National and Ontario Director of Individual and Corporate Giving for Muscular Dystrophy Canada.

Day in the Life: Reg Bardsley, Walk for Muscular Dystrophy Volunteer Coordinator

vernon walk-2013-team stay strong with vernon volunteer fire fightersThe first North Okanagan Safeway Walk for Muscular Dystrophy was held this past Saturday, May 4th in Vernon.  The event raised over $13,000! With over 100 people attending and seven Walk teams, the event was a success! Volunteer Walk Coordinator, Reg Bardsley, has an incredibly busy day making sure that the event runs smoothly. 

For almost 20 years Reg served on various Fire Departments and Rescue Units throughout British Columbia as a Fire Fighter/Rescue specialist. In 2002 he was diagnosed with Fasio-scapular-humoral Dystrophy, an adult onset type of muscular dystrophy that manifests with weakness at first then progressing to almost full wasting of the muscles. Reg was forced to retire from Fire fighting & Rescue. Since his diagnosis he has been an advocate of those with disabilities concerning access to transit and related handicap mobility issues.

Reg Bardsley

Reg Bardsley

Reg’s Walk Day:

7:00 a.m. – Get up and have coffee (must have coffee it’s going to be a long day!) Even with all the planning I’d done, I’m thinking about all that needs to be done to make our Walk a successful day for all.

8:00 a.m. – Head off in my wheelchair loaded with items for the activities, signs for Muscular Dystrophy Canada and all the other necessary set up materials.  My wheelchair is pulling a trailer filled with stuff!

8:30 a.m. – Arrive at the venue to meet with Fermco Rentals for placement of the Porta-potties. Here comes Mike from the Lions Club to position the cook trailer for the lunch.  There are a lot of people and volunteers who make the event possible!

vernon-mdwalk-4-29-139:00 a.m. – Cindy and the Canada Safeway crew arrives to start setup. Five more volunteers arrive so we make our way down the walkway to place the Muscle Facts signs along the route for a scavenger hunt game.

9:30 a.m. – Firemen arrive and set up the tents, banners and flags. Tables & chairs are getting placed for the Scotiabank volunteer team to run the registration.

10:00 a.m. – Starting to jokingly think, “are we done yet?” Things are coming together though! I think we are ready, and here comes our MDC Fundraising Coordinator, Jeannine (after bit of airplane troubles she has arrived! I can stop worrying now!) I am having another coffee to celebrate her arrival lifting a great stress off of me.  Jeannine will be able to arrange the registration paperwork with the Scotiabank crew.

11:00 a.m. – Wheeling around getting volunteers to start running activities including lawn bowling and hoop toss being chased down by at least a dozen people, from volunteers to media and anyone else wanting to talk to the guy in charge. I did a TV interview with Shaw/Global BC then another with Kiss FM as well as taking pictures for the Morning Star newspaper. So this is what celebrities feel like!

12:00 p.m. – Lions and Safeway cooking hotdogs, firemen hanging balloons, Kiss Fm events crew wanting an interview, Vernon Mayor arrives to greet us and get ready for the ribbon cutting. Looking good!

vernon walk-cutting ribbon 201312:30 p.m. – Now it’s time to assemble everyone for the opening speeches. Wow, what a turnout! It is great to see so many here. I do my speech welcoming everyone and get started on the official opening. There is a  red ribbon across the pathway which Walk participants Micaela Evans, Joey Christiansen and Jacob Brayshaw help Mayor Sawatsky cut.

1:00 p.m. – Walk for Muscular Dystrophy is happening! It is so exciting to see so many people walking and rolling, each with their own reasons for participating.

2:00 p.m. – Jeannine tells me that we have reached $13,000 in donations! WOOT! I am overwhelmed. We gather for the awards and closing ceremony. As we prepare our speeches I am thinking back to January when I thought if we could raise $5,000 we would be a success, now we are over double and it’s hard to fight the tears of joy at the totals. The smiles and the stories will stay with me for a long time.

3:00 p.m. – I am tired but today has been such a blessing, and now I am exhausted! I talk with Jeannine about future projects and what we can do to make next year’s Walk event even better.

vernon walk 2013- Reg with jacob brayshaw-largest team award4:00 p.m. – I am home now. Time to relax and reflect on the day and think of what was accomplished, so many challenges met and exceeded. So many people to thank their for their help and support. I think I will sleep well tonight after the excitement mellows. A great day!

Thank you all for your support and effort in making our first annual North Okanagan Safeway Walk for Muscular Dystrophy such a huge success!

Reg explains that his involvement with Muscular Dystrophy Canada as a volunteer and motivational speaker/educator has been a blessing to his own life in giving him a purpose and a chance to give back while still accepting the limitations of his disability.

As a client of MDC Reg has received assistance in the form of specially constructed leg braces and recently, when the braces no longer served his needs, a wheelchair that he would have otherwise not been able to afford. Reg explains, “the wheelchair has granted me a new outlook on my life by allowing me the freedom and independence to wheel around town on my own to shop for groceries, go out for a visit and of course for fundraising!”

Find out more about the Services that the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy helps make possible.