Are You Novelling?

Over the last few years, National Novel Writing Month aka NaNoWriMo has become huge. It’s a great way for anyone to express their creative side or for writers to finally get that novel written and finished. I’m always delighted when I discover someone I know is doing NaNoWriMo. Are you novelling this year? Please say Hi and become my buddy at ShireenJ!

A friend introduced me to it in 2009, and I’ve written a novel or non-fiction every year, though most remain unpublished. This year, I set myself the challenge to both write and edit for public consumption a satirical novel focusing on every Torontonian’s favourite subject. No, not raccoons. The TTC. Louise and The Men Of Transit.

“Louise has been hired by TTC management and dives into learn all about customer convenience on transit from her idol, the CEO. She eagerly adopt her idol’s way of wearing a name tag and riding the subway. And then she meets Jim.”

So far I’ve written a chapter daily and have uploaded them to Wattpad. If you don’t know Wattpad, it’s a free Toronto-based website devoted to providing stories on any device, readable anywhere in the world. You can read without joining. If you join, you can comment on any chapter or story, build your library of favourite stories, or follow your favourite authors. My plan is to post a new chapter every day and am hoping writing this post will make it so. Accountability works! You can read it here -> https://my.w.tt/Xywq8XN0BR

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month in Canada

BIST Brain Injury Awareness Crowd in 2010June is brain injury awareness month in Canada. Other nations use other months to raise awareness about brain injury. But what does raising awareness mean? Do we simply want people to hear about it over their morning coffee, then go on about their lives, oblivious to the suffering all around them? Or do we want to change the lives of people with brain injury for the better so that they can actually heal from their injuries, live within society, regain their dreams and families?

Back in 1980, a young man who had survived osteogenic sarcoma declared he would run across Canada to raise awareness for cancer. Back then cancer was seen as fatal, a shameful disease that people didn’t talk about much or they whispered sympathies behind closed doors for anyone caught with having grown a tumour. Children with cancer would, of course, die tragically, as everyone knew. A cure was not possible. Talking about the disease and advances in treatment was restricted to those with it or within medical circles. And then Terry Fox dipped his artificial right leg in the cold Atlantic waters off of Newfoundland, Canada and set off in his quintessential one-good-leg, one-prosthetic-leg hop to run a marathon-a-day across the second-largest country in the world.

Not many noticed his leg dip. But as he ran day after day on the highways of Canada, people began to pay attention. There was no social media, so it was word of mouth and local papers (which still existed back then) that spread the news of Fox’s Marathon of Hope.

Hope . . .

And the one-legged hop of a young man braving to put a public face on a dread disease.

Those are what caught the media’s attention so that by the time he hit Toronto, Canada’s largest city, so many people knew about his mission that crowds swallowed him up and overflowed his fundraising coffers. They cheered him on as he exited the city and turned north.

Cancer snuck into his Marathon of Hope and suffocated his dream.

People had seen that bone cancer had taken his leg. They had assumed he was alright and was awfully brave for running a marathon a day. But when cancer came back and crawled into his lungs, it exploded the myth that people were fine if they continued to live after a cancer diagnosis.

Canada was invested in the life of this man; heartbroken when cancer stole his dream from him; mourned when he died. Canada’s collective emotion drove people to talk about cancer out loud; to donate and fundraise for a cure through Terry Fox runs. Funds pouring in fired up researchers and clinicians to search harder for a cure and to treat people kinder and more empathetically; tangible awareness inspired others to provide support and services to boost morale during dreadful cancer treatments. When someone received a cancer diagnosis, friends, family, neighbours now knew what that meant and rallied around to provide lifts to appointments, hot meals, coffee time. Other countries heard about Fox, and Terry Fox runs sprouted up all over the world. Some cancers are now curable. Children no longer automatically die.

No one with cancer is ostracized anymore.

None of this is true for people with brain injury. They remain in the shadows; mainstream researchers and clinicians talk about strategies and acceptance, not curable treatments; those who understand neuroplasticity and have developed effective treatments remain unknown or dismissed as shams; family and friends are given permission to abandon their injured loved one. And no one is expected to rally around for the years it currently takes to recover and the decades of living within its constricting walls.

Shame and disgust sideline people with brain injury into day programs — keep them busy so that they won’t notice society wants nothing to do with them. Shame and disgust lead so-called experts to judge injury-driven behaviours instead of treating the neurons so that the person can be themself again. Shame and disgust lead most to avoid reading up about it, to avoid the injured person, and to deny the need to accommodate.

We talk good game about concussion in athletes and troops, but we don’t change our attitude to fund treatments, to talk out loud about how the brain affects every single part of you and so every single part of you from your thoughts to your heart can be injured and so need treatment. Talk is solely about the mysterious CTE or PCS — aka untreated brain injury — and donating concussed brains to science.

We need a Terry Fox-type ignition for brain injury.

Brain injury awareness months just aren’t cutting it. What tour de force will ignite a nation, spread awareness of brain injury around the globe to finally change lives for the better?

Member News: Concussion Is Brain Injury is Published!

As you may remember, I crowdfunded an update to Concussion Is Brain Injury back in 2016. I’m pleased to announce that it’s finally launched!

Kirkus Reviews: “the intricate details of the author’s experience are riveting and enlightening.”

After many years of incubation, Concussion Is Brain Injury is re-birthed with a brand-new reader-friendly structure, all-new chapters, and updated information on my newest (experimental) treatments. The Treating the Neurons and Me edition tells my story in all its rawness and, in separate sections, outlines the lessons I learned, the treatments I underwent that dramatically healed — and keep healing — my damaged brain. I’ve written it for people with brain injury and those who know people with brain injury, with sections and related blog pages for those who want to know more about the technical details.

Self-Publishing Review: “Jeejeebhoy’s tale is highly emotional…uplifting, while giving a realistic view of recovery.”

Brain injury is a hidden epidemic and unfortunately is not treated under the current standard of care. Although fellow Torontonians like Dr. Norman Doidge have spread the news about the neuroplasticity of the brain and treatments harnessing that, most people with brain injury remain untreated. As I write: “traditional rehabilitation, involving cognitive therapy and rest, were ineffective.” Rest and strategies are not treatment. My goal in writing Concussion Is Brain Injury: Treating the Neurons and Me is to change that and give people knowledge of how they can begin to heal their brain.

Concussion Is Brain Injury

Concussion Is Brain Injury: Treating the Neurons and Me is out now in paperback or ebook. Please check out my website page on it for all the details.

Arlene Chan Receives Heritage Toronto’s 2017 Special Achievement Award

We are thrilled to share fabulous news about one of our Toronto alumnae: Heritage Toronto is honoured to name Arlene Chan (neé Lumb, Canada Alpha 1970) as the recipient of the 2017 Special Achievement Award. Presented by the Heritage Toronto Board of Directors, the Special Achievement Award celebrates individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the preservation and education of Toronto’s heritage. A community advocate, librarian and author, Arlene Chan has spent her lifetime documenting and sharing the Chinese Canadian experience in Toronto.

Born in Toronto, Chan learned her most important lessons at the feet of her mother, Jean Lumb, CM, a restaurateur and social justice advocate. Lumb taught her daughter the importance and rewards of community work, especially with her successful “Save Chinatown” campaign in the 1970s that fought to protect the area from redevelopment. After earning a bachelor of arts and masters in library science at the University of Toronto, Chan chose to devote herself to projects that carry on her mother’s legacy.

Among her many accomplishments, Chan is the author of seven books on the history and culture of Chinese Canadians; she is currently working on a historic guide to Toronto’s Chinatowns. She is the President of the Jean Lumb Foundation and oversees the Jean Lumb Awards which provide scholarships to high school students of Chinese heritage. Chan has also collaborated with numerous organizations on interpretive projects, community programs, and walking tours, including her work with the Ontario Heritage Trust, Toronto Ward Museum, and Heritage Toronto.

Chan’s generous spirit is reflected in her many volunteer commitments. She is a Little Pear Garden Dance Company board member, a member of the Toronto Public Library’s Chinese Canadian Archive advisory group, and serves on the Heritage Interpretation Working Group for the New Toronto Courthouse.

“Arlene Chan’s knowledge and affection for Toronto and its Chinese community are well reflected in her work. Her literary efforts are treasure houses of information and celebration for all those who seek to learn, understand and enjoy.” David Crombie, former Mayor of Toronto

Huge congratulations to our Toronto Tri Delta sister Arlene on this honour!!!

Event Details

The Special Achievement Award will be presented at the 43rd Heritage Toronto Awards on Monday, October 23, at The Carlu, a tour de force of Art Moderne design and a National Historic SiteAt this premier event for the heritage sector, more than 500 attendees will enjoy the Mayor’s Reception, hosted by Mayor John Tory. Winners will be announced during the Awards Ceremony, hosted this year by Christopher Hume, the long-time architecture critic and urban issues columnist at The Toronto Star.

Tickets to the event are sold out. This event is Heritage Toronto’s major fundraiser of the year, raising monies in support of its public programming.

Heritage Toronto is a charity and agency of the City of Toronto that celebrates and commemorates the city’s rich heritage and the diverse stories of its people, places, and events.

Member News – Crowdfunding Concussion Is Brain Injury

Dear Tri Delta Sisters,

I’m really excited to announce that I’m crowdfunding an update to my 2012 book Concussion Is Brain Injury! I want to make it better for readers. I want to enrich and enhance it with ground-breaking new sections that challenge the status quo, sections on the raw reality of relationships, the truth about our emotions, my thoughts on CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy), faith after injury, rehabilitating reading in the knowledge economy, and a promising new treatment that I kickstarted.

To that end, I need your help to fund the services I need to bring this book to readers. The funds raised through PubLaunch – a crowdfunding site designed specifically for authors and readers – will go towards professional editing, a new exciting cover design, better packaging, and a robust marketing campaign. In return for your generous support, I have set up some great rewards for you, including prints of my original photography, special edition hardcover copies, and copies of my previous books.

The target of $11,000 will cover all expenses. Won’t you join me in making this second edition happen? Please click the link to check out the campaign: http://www.publaunch.com/campaigns/concussion-brain-injury

If you have any questions about my book or PubLaunch, please ask in the comments section. I greatly appreciate your support, and I look forward to continuing to help, educate, and inspire my readers. Thank you!

“Even though I worked with children who had brain injuries I found myself failing to understand some of Shireen’s frustrations and struggles and that is why I jumped at the chance to read her book. The book is a must read for ANY PROFESSIONAL who works [with] adults or children with brain injuries. It gives you the prospective [sic] of how frustrating our system can be and the lack of hope most professionals give to people with brain injuries.” Nancy Howson on Facebook

Social Media Connected to our Website

Social media is part of our Alum experience, and so we’ve tied our Twitter account to our website. Posts written here will be automatically tweeted out to @TriDeltaAlumTO, and you can now see the most recent three tweets in the right sidebar (scroll down a bit) and even tweet us directly from our website without having to go to Twitter first. We’ve also moved the tag cloud up so that you can more quickly find the topics you’re interested in. We hope you enjoy this new connection!

Silence can be bad and good depending on who you are.

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Eric always wanted a teal Vespa.

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I got a new cat named francis.

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The jib goes to the main shore.

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