“A visually arresting and comically haunting look at the ramifications of brain surgery and how one woman finds her way in a reality that is forever different. BRAIN STORM takes you into the operating theatre, to dissect the question; are our brains magic, machines or both?”
Shireen Jeejeebhoy, one of our alumnae, had the amazing opportunity to consult on Writer/Director Taliesin McEnaney’s captivating One-Act play Brain Storm. McEnaney asked Shireen to be both brain injury consultant and dramaturge on the world premiere mounting of her play. The workshop production of Brain Storm won the Toshi Knife Cutting Edge Award at the 2017 Toronto Fringe Festival. Combining dialogue, choreography, and projections, the 2020 mounting immerses the audience into the experience of a young woman whose damaged brain throws her into a new reality.
“Taliesin McEnaney draws on the work of famous Canadian neurosurgeon Dr. Wilder Penfield, the writings of her spiritual medium grandmother, and a brain injury in her own family to craft this unique piece of physical theatre.”
Pay-as-you-can-afford tickets are available on the Brown Paper Tickets site. Attend the play at Dancemakers Studio and enjoy dinner or drinks in one of the many restaurants in the Distillery District before or after.
“How do you make vivid theatre out of brain surgery? Somehow writer/director Taliesin McEnaney achieved that back at its workshop production at the Fringe Festival in 2017 – chosen one of NOW’s best productions and ensembles of the fest.” (Glenn Sumi, NOW Magazine, 1 Feb 2020)
Some of you may be familiar with Olive Jeejeebhoy, a Tri Psi for over three decades, twice International President and I’ve lost count how many times President of our local Tri Psi chapter. Currently, she’s serving as Scholarship Chair for International Tri Psi. Olive is my mother, and I roped her into joining Tri Psi in my first year as a Tri Delt. At first hesitant, she capitulated and added it to her many volunteer activities. Mum loves Tri Psi, loves her Tri Psi sisters, has spent many, many hours at the chapter house in years gone by with the collegiates, and is always willing to help Tri Delta. As anyone who’s met her knows, she is one energetic giver!
It’s not often we can honour her giving nature, but today’s the day in the Canadian-American season of Thanksgiving!! Mum has not only devoted many hours to Tri Psi over the decades but also to the Scott Mission. Volunteers are the foundation of the Scott Mission, and Mum has been a keystone of their mission for three decades. She transformed their Christmas Toy Room and continues to shine a cheery light of dignity and respect to all the people the Scott Mission serves. This is why the Scott Mission is creating the Olive Jeejeebhoy Award for Faithful Service for the volunteer that best exemplifies initiative, cheerfulness, and faithfulness among other qualities of sacrificial service to the people of Toronto.
I, along with the Scott Mission, have set an ambitious fundraising goal of $5,000 in order to provide an annual award of $100. Please consider joining your Tri Delta sisters and Tri Psi mothers in helping us make this award a reality for a deserving volunteer at the Mission’s upcoming Volunteer Appreciation Tea in April 2020.
To find out more about Olive and her remarkable volunteerism and to give towards this award, please visit https://www.scottmission.com/oliveaward/
Please share this post far and wide! Thank you!!
Exciting news from one of our Tri Delta sisters! The TD Gallery at the Toronto Reference Library has a new exhibit entitled, “Plum Blossom from the Bitter Cold,” and it includes photos of Tri Delta Arlene Chan and her late mother Tri Psi Jean Lumb.
Arlene wrote in 2018:
“When Toronto Public Library announced in late 2016 that it was to establish the Chinese Canadian Archive to capture and record the rich heritage of the Chinese community, I was ecstatic. . . The connections to our past are fast fading with the loss of our elders, precious memories and personal memorabilia.”
Go! See! There’s a reading list and drop-in guided tours. Plum Blossom from the Bitter Cold runs until October 27th.
The Brain Injury Society of Toronto holds an annual Expressive Art Show every Spring. This year it’s at Artscape Youngplace at 180 Shaw St. And I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be there with my book Concussion Is Brain Injury: Treating the Neurons and Me!
The BIST Expressive Art Show launches on Tuesday, May 21, 4:00 to 7:00 pm with paintings, illustrations, crafts, sculptures, and copies of my book available for sale at a deep discount ($20) and for personal autographing. I’ll also be doing a brief reading at 5:00 pm.
“the intricate details of the author’s experience are riveting and enlightening.” Kirkus Reviews
“Jeejeebhoy’s tale is highly emotional…uplifting, while giving a realistic view of recovery.” Self-Publishing Review
This year, I will also have one of my artworks — a photographic collage — on display.
I’ve always been impressed with the evocativeness and beauty of many of the art pieces. I hope you will check out the show and the many artists there! I’d be thrilled to see you, sister Tri Deltas, your friends, family, and neighbours, too!
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. 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?
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: Treating the Neurons and Me is out now in paperback or ebook. Please check out my website page on it for all the details.
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!!!
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 Site. At 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.
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
This year’s Annual General Meeting falls on the day of Mardi Gras and during Carnival, so please join us for our AGM and ‘Carnival’ themed party!
The event will be held on February 9th at 6pm at Vanessa LeBouthillier’s party room, located at 305 Roehampton Ave.
Dues-paying members of the Toronto Alumnae Chapter will be voting on the 2016-2018 Alumnae Chapter Executive Committee slate.
Please advise whether you plan to bring an appetizer, dessert or wine in the comments below.
Donations of gift cards, toiletries and lightly used toys and clothing for women and children will be collected for Juliette’s Place, homeward family shelter and we will be collecting for Adopt-A-New Member fund.
The building is one block East of Eglington station (at Yonge St.).
Please use Vanessa’s buzzer code #1104 at the entrance.
The party room is located on the first floor, at the end of the lobby entrance on the right hand side, right after the elevators.
Free street parking is available on Roehampton Ave. and Rawlinson Ave., the intersection where the building is located.
Visitor parking is also available at the building. Please check in at reception before parking.
Don’t forget to bring your beads, masks and any festive wear to the party!