Work in progress

take oneFinding a job can be difficult for just about anyone. When I first started university I thought all I had to worry about was maintaining a high GPA and all good things would follow (was I ever wrong). So now a recent graduate, I have the fun of experiencing job hunting in a very competitive time where baby boomers just won’t quit and graduates are running over each other for great opportunities.

I live in a small city and most of the buildings are very old, which means accessibility is hard to find. So that limits where I can apply. When you have a disability, there are things you look out for that nobody else has to worry about. For example, is the building accessible? Is there parking close by? A job description is never going to say, “Must be able to climb stairs” because it is just assumed everyone can. So you need to do your research and ask the hard questions. You have to be comfortable where you work and everyone needs to understand your limitations. If they don’t, that is their loss not yours.

In conclusion, I am still learning about what to do when looking for a job with a disability. I would say do not let the word “disability” stop you from taking an opportunity you know you can do. Nobody is perfect and for better or worse, I know LGMD is with me all the time. But so what? Use your strength to do bold things, and not suffer. If you want something in life, don’t be afraid.

My advice would be to never be defeated by anything or anyone. By now I have probably been rejected over a hundred times and if anything, I have grown and learned from it. Do not let the things you cannot do get in the way of things you can do. Always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody says distract you from your goals. I hear negative and false attacks all the time; someone is always telling me what I can’t do. But what they don’t realise is that it makes me fight that much harder. You will see that obstacles do not have half the strength that you have. Everything is possible for the individual who refuses to stop fighting, and honestly, strength has nothing to do with physical capacity. Take some risks, life is too short to play in the safe zone and never fear failure or rejection. You will be defined not by how you sit in comfort, but how you stand in times of challenge. Knowing is better than wondering and even the biggest failure is better than never trying.  And what matters the most is that you never stop- no matter how slowly you are going.

I’ll leave you with one of my favourite quotes by Brian Tracy, “Between you and every goal that you wish to achieve, there is a series of obstacles and the bigger the goal, the bigger the obstacles. Your decision to be, have, and do something out of the ordinary entails facing difficulties and challenges that are out of the ordinary as well. Sometimes your greatest asset is simply your ability to stay with it longer than anyone else.”

Ivana was born in Sanski Most, Bosnia & Herzegovina but moved to Canada at the age of 3. She was diagnosed with LGMD a few years ago and it has forever changed her life.  She is a regular contributor and her blogs will be everything she has learned along the way and what she continues to learn today.

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Hop for Muscular Dystrophy: An Open Letter to Canyon Meadows School

Thomas surrounded by Hoppers

Thomas surrounded by Hoppers

Thomas and I would like to thank everyone from Canyon Meadows School, from the bottom of our hearts for your very generous support and donations to Muscular Dystrophy Canada. Together, they raised over $7200.00!  (Thomas is a Grade 12 student at Dr. E. P. Scarlett and I am a Music Specialist at Canyon Meadows School.)

The students enjoyed hopping and dancing in the gym to a variety of songs including of course, “The Bunny Hop”.  The Dr. E.P. Scarlett Leadership team gave away spot prizes for best hoppers and uniquely decorated bunny ears. All the students were treated to carrots, stickers and certificates of participation for their hard work.

Special thanks to Canada Safeway Shawnessy for their help towards the purchase of the carrots. Safeway Canada has been a huge supporter of Muscular Dystrophy Canada for many years.

Thomas has enjoyed getting to know the Canyon Meadows students over the years. Thomas has volunteered at Canyon Meadows over the last seven years, teaching the students art, helping out with math and reading, and anything else the teachers need support with. I truly believe that his relationship with the students has not only allowed Thomas to share his advocacy for people with disabilities, but it has also allowed our students a better understanding of muscular dystrophy and people facing daily challenges.

The money raised will not only help families with children having muscular dystrophy, but will also go to research to hopefully find a cure one day.

Thank you again for your support. It is cherished and appreciated!

Kathy and Thomas Sorenson

Celebrating the Connections Across our Great Country!

Walk for Muscular Dystrophy Niagara 2012 012The Walk for Muscular Dystrophy season is well underway across the country.  Each year the Walk events across the country engage new individuals and new teams.  As staff and organizers it is always fascinating to watch the season unfold!  We plan, we organize and we wait and anticipate and encourage our past participants to get busy, sign up, and start spreading the word about the Walk – and the reason for the Walk.  Our clients and volunteers never let us down as they jump on board to fundraise and participate in the Walks each year, and year after year as we watch the Walks grow and the funds roll in we know that we are onto something good.

Vancouver Walk 2012-Team MaliyahIt is incredibly gratifying and exciting when we begin to draw connections between our clients in one geographic location and their friends and family participating at Walks in other geographic locations.  More and more often we are seeing this – mom with the muscular dystrophy diagnosis lives in Nova Scotia, and her daughter is walking for her mom in Alberta where she lives;  a young grandson is diagnosed with muscular dystrophy who lives in Alberta, and grandma and a ton of extended family are walking for him in Ontario where they live; a woman’s childhood friend from the Maritimes dies from complications caused by muscular dystrophy and she walks in Alberta each year in memory and honor of her friend. These are just a few of the many examples.

EdmontonWalk2008These connections tell us that the Walk is working!  By holding Walk events in key locations across the country we ARE raising awareness, spreading information, and making sure people know about muscular dystrophy – YOU are raising awareness and making a difference by honouring and celebrating YOUR loved one on Walk day no matter where he or she is, and no matter where you are!

Thank you!!!

Do you have any connections across Canada for the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy?

Terri Tumack is a Fundraising and Community Development Coordinator in Alberta.

On Your Way: Saskatchewan Youth Conference

On Your Way Saskatchewan 2013-group photoOn Your Way is a youth conference for persons with physical disabilities who live in Saskatchewan. It grew out of a dream from the neuromuscular clinic staff who partnered with Muscular Dystrophy Canada and Canadian Paraplegic Association and recognized very little is very available in the province of Saskatchewan for youth and families to assist in transition planning following discharge from clinic and graduation from high school.

On Your way Saskatchewan 2013-Mom and Max23 youth along with their families joined together on May 23rd and 24th for sessions involving Post-secondary and vocational planning/preparation, Self advocacy, Government of Saskatchewan initiatives, as well as parents-only sessions focusing on parenting and transitioning your youth, advocating for your child, issues and topics of  persons with disabilities, and relationships and parenting.

On Your Way Saskatchewan 2013-Luca and friendsConference participants welcomed Luca Patuelli for his inspiring message of “everyone can dance.”   Social and recreation activities including a dance party allowed youth and families opportunities to connect with one another. This very successful conference wrapped up with a  wheelchair basketball session provided by Saskatchewan Association of Wheelchair sports. Participants were joined by the Saskatoon Firefighters.  This conference was made possible by the funding of Community Initiatives Fund. Check out the video which captures the learning, fun and community building that participants enjoyed during the conference:On Your Way - Sask Conference Video screengrab

Price Breakers 2nd Annual Party in the Lot: June 15th

Chelsea Reid

Chelsea Reid

Prince Albert’s hot spot for unique home design items, Price Breakers, will be moving its muscles once again to make an impact in the fight against muscular dystrophy. Leading this event is manager, Chelsea Reid, who knows firsthand how important this community event is to families affected by neuromuscular disorders. Chelsea had a close friend, Stephen, pass away just over three years ago and she knows how the dollars raised support Muscular Dystrophy Canada clients living with neuromuscular disorders.  Stephen loved music, and this event is Chelsea’s tribute to him. For the past three years Reid has made it her goal to help raise awareness and funds so a cure can be found in her lifetime.

2012 Price Breakers Concert

2012 Price Breakers Concert

The event will be taking place on Saturday, June 15th, and includes live music from bands, and singers, dancers, comedians, as well as a VIP section with front row seats and deluxe food. The public is welcomed to bring a lawn chair and listen to the free music performance. Last year, Team Price Breakers raised over $2000 for the Saskatoon Walk for Muscular Dystrophy to support persons with neuromuscular disorders.

For more information please contact: Chelsea Reid by email Chelsea(at)pricebreakers@sasktel.net or visit the event on Facebook.