Welcome to the new PatientCommando.com

More about you. By you…
Your story. Your video, photo, signature, comment.

Start now and change the world.

Disability Horizons – A Dynamic Duo

If you love socialising, travel or adventure; then this is definitely for you!

In November 2010, two disabled guys from London, on a roadtrip in California, dreamt up a huge project they wanted to bring to the world. Imagine two lifelong friends, two electric wheelchairs, two Personal Care Assistants, a hoist and an accessible car stirring up a big cocktail of imagination and innovation, during a dream adventure.

This idea was to start an online disability lifestyle magazine like no other…

Martyn_Srin_SFAfter months of working hard to turn the vision into a reality; Martyn Sibley and Srin Madipalli launched www.disabilityhorizons.com. Disability Horizons pioneers an innovative 21st century approach to disability by empowering an aspirational community to provide and share content that informs, inspires and entertains.

The Disability Horizons community is already 20,000 strong. Their readers write the articles, share their wealth of disability knowledge and progress towards their individual dreams together. Articles include personal stories on employment, sport, travel and relationships. The guys share many of their own daring escapades and have regular article contributions from high profile organisations, service providers, politicians, celebrities, entrepreneurs and various opinion formers that have the power to shape and change lives.

There is a page for readers to pose their own questions, an area to post unwanted disability items (the classifieds section), a resources profile page for disability companies to share useful products/services, and the Disability Horizons ‘Travel Zone’.

In honour of the Paralympic Games, Disability Horizons has graciously agreed to share some of their stories with us. The insights continue to grow our understanding of how people around the world have common and uncommon experiences in managing life limiting conditions.  The Dynamic Duo at Disability Horizons are breaking new ground and give new meaning to the old phrase “walk the walk”.

 

  • Stories from Disability Horizons
  • Sparks of Change

    Posted on by Martyn Sibley

    25. Mar, 2015 Peaks and Troughs. Ebb and Flow. However much I strive for consistency, it always seems to evade me. Partly because I guess ‘that’s life’. Partly because I seem to like to mix things up! I tend to regularly kick off new challenges. From finishing 2014 tired, living back home, and struggling with a deterioration in my disability. I’m now in a new flat, building my health back up, and fighting (tooth and nail) for improvements on my wheelchair, car, care and housing adaptions. I was lucky to spend time in Fuerteventura and Austria since the New Year Read More…

    Tagged Under: , , , , ,
  • Discovering my last taboo

    Posted on by Disability Horizons

    By Ben Davies In this article I am going to explore the morality of paying for the company of a female or indeed male if you are a disabled person. But first I am going to talk about relationships and the potential barriers I feel exist as a disabled person. I personally really struggle with relationships and socialising full stop, whether it’s going the pub with the boys or chatting someone up. I simply cannot do it as my confidence in this area is really low. Overall I’m ok with the boys as we talk about football and drinking, the Read More…

    Tagged Under: , , , , ,
  • Max’s journey

    Posted on by Disability Horizons

    By Nicola @nickynoona My story is about my son Max who is now 12 years old and has Asperger’s Syndrome. Max was born a healthy 7lbs 10oz in the hot summer of 1999. From day one he was an easy baby. Always happy and placid and rarely cried or threw tantrums. I counted myself very lucky to have such a content child. Max was walking by 11 months old and was ahead of other children with his talking too. I was not worried about his development or behaviour in any way. Coming up to Max’s second birthday I had been Read More…

    Tagged Under: , , , ,
  • Planning an accessible wedding

    Posted on by Disability Horizons

    By Carrie-Ann Fleming Almost 2 years ago, in November 2009, my boyfriend Darren surprised me with a candlelit anniversary dinner, which ended in a romantic proposal. I was ecstatic, and friends and family were thrilled for us. After celebrations came the questions about when we would get married, and what we were planning… which was a daunting prospect! As a wheelchair user, I really didn’t know where to start with all the preparations, how exactly do you plan an accessible wedding?! The first thing to decide on was the venue. We ruled out a church ceremony, as neither of us Read More…

    Tagged Under: , ,
  • Matt’s marathon

    Posted on by Disability Horizons

    Matthew King from Bedford, who is about to start his career as a lawyer, completed the New York marathon in 2007 in his chin controlled powered wheelchair, which he uses as a result of a spinal injury. Matt kindly shares his experience of travelling to New York and taking part in the marathon. By Matthew King My name is Matthew King, and in 2004 at the age of 17 I broke my neck playing in a game of rugby, and have been left paralysed from the neck down and dependent upon a ventilator to breathe at all times and use Read More…

    Tagged Under: , , ,
  • The lasting effects of a temporary disability

    Posted on by Disability Horizons

    By Margo Milne Imagine you were born perfectly fit and able-bodied. As a teenager, you suddenly became severely physically disabled, but then you became able-bodied again. How would that affect your attitudes to disability and disabled people once you were an adult? When writer and broadcaster Hardeep Singh Kohli was 13, he came down with Guillain–Barré syndrome, a usually temporary condition that causes sudden paralysis, often triggered by infection. He was in hospital for 10 weeks, and it took him a year to learn to walk again. Lucy Pask, who runs the website Great Aunt, also had Guillain–Barré syndrome, in Read More…

    Tagged Under: , , , , , ,

Tent Talk: Healing Through Theatre

Today at 5:00 PM we will present our Toronto Fringe Festival Tent Talk: Healing Through Theatre. All are welcome to attend.

Our Executive Director Zal Press, will be joined by speakers Daniel Stolfi, of the Award Winning Theatre Production, Cancer Can’t Dance Like This, and Dr. Jeremy Rezmovits, from Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital.  Brian G. Smith, Creative Director for Patient Commando and The Second-City Alumni will facilitate this humorous one-hour event.

During a kick-off event at the CBC’s Glenn Gould Theatre last year, Brian orchestrated a brilliant performance that demonstrated the power of theatre and humour. While today’s event will be a slightly different program it will undoubtably build upon the efficacy of performance.  Join us.

Event Details:

Panel members from the health industry, show business and patient organizations tackle the topic of “Healing Through Theatre” in a riotous discussion. This is Laugh Therapy at its best. Moderated by Brian G. Smith, presented by PatientCommando.com

More information available here

The Fringe Club at Honest Ed’s 581 Bloor St W

Tuesday July 10th 5:00-6:00pm: Healing Through Theatre

Bar open 4:30pm – 12am

If you can’t make it we’ll be on Twitter the entire time tweeting #FringeTT

Michael Seres – The Man With Olympic Sized Guts

The morning after my first bowel resection over 21 years ago, I was lying in bed still woozy from anesthetic. A troop of white coated doctors entered the room and surrounded my bed. It was my surgical team.

The lead resident was filling me in on how successful the operation was, how much bowel was removed, when he added, “Oh, by the way, while we were in there we removed your appendix too.”

He was much too casual about taking one of my body parts. I panicked momentarily, groping myself between my legs to make sure the surgeons hadn’t got carried away “while they were in there”!

I’ve learned to live with the consequences of those missing lengths for a couple of decades. I know I’ve been lucky. There are people in far worse condition than me. Then 5 days ago I came across Michael Seres online.

Michael didn’t just have a bowel resection. After years of chronic Crohn’s disease his bowel completely collapsed. A resection wasn’t going to do the trick. He needed a whole new bowel and was slated to be one of the very first people in the UK to undergo a bowel transplant.

The transplant took place in October, 2011. It hasn’t been an easy journey. But on Sunday, June 8, 2012, Michael sets a new standard in guts and glory by being an Olympic Torchbearer for the 2012 London Olympics.

You can watch him walk streamed live online here at approximately 9 a.m. EDT. If you miss it, we’ll be featuring it next week on our site.

We’re also going to be featuring Michael’s writings which are honest, enlightening, and visceral. With all that he’s undergone, he continues to understand the inherent connection between his reality and that of his wife and children. Through his constant blogging, and that of his wife Justine and young son Nathan, we will share all the intimate details of this unique story.

Even as one who has lost parts of my gut, I have difficulty relating to losing it all, then getting someone else’s to replace it. Michael Seres is my new hero. Aside from offering himself up as a guinea pig for this procedure, he’s taking us all along for the ride.

Thanks Michael. It’ll be exciting to see your walk on Sunday. Be careful playing with torches.

Here’s a couple of Michael’s blog posts to get you started.

Patient Stories at The Fringe

Two weeks ago we shared news on two patient storytelling events that will take place during this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival.

After a more thorough review of the festival’s listings, we’re pleased to announce that we found three (3) more. With the Fringe opening it’s doors tomorrow we felt it was an appropriate time to list all of the patient performances, whether chronic illness plays a starring role or is simply an undercurrent to the performance’s plot.

Healing Through Theatre

Host: Brian G. Smith (Second City Alumni) Panel: Zal Press (Patient Commando),  Dr. Jeremy Rezmovitz (Sunnybrook Hospital), Daniel Stolfi (Cancer Can’t Dance Like This)

Event Details:

Panel members from the health industry, show business and patient organizations tackle the topic of “Healing Through Theatre” in a riotous discussion. This is Laugh Therapy at its best. Moderated by Brian G. Smith, presented by PatientCommando.com

More information available here

 

The Fringe Club at Honest Ed’s 581 Bloor St W

Tuesday July 10th 5:00-6:00pm: Healing Through Theatre

Bar open 4:30pm – 12am

Eat Poo Love 

By: Paul Clement, Evan Mackay, Dan Mackay Cast: Dan Mackay, Evan Mackay, Paul Clement

Paul Clement survived Stage 2 Colon Cancer and went on to blog about it (selected blogs available here), and eventually co-wrote a stage version of the blog which will be performed at the 2012 Toronto Fringe Festival as “Eat, Poo, Love”.  He recently appeared on the RogersTV program ‘daytime Peel’ to discuss his journey through the illness, and his fundraising work with Colon Cancer Canada.

Event Details:

You’re going to stick that WHERE?! When a demon knocks on Paul’s back door, his life takes a turn for the absurd as he is forced to greet the medical community ass-first. Surrendering his dignity in a series of ridiculous situations, Paul ponders what can’t be resolved by a clean bill of health. This true story is full of shit.

Purchase Tickets Here

Randolph Theatre / Annex Theatre 736 Bathurst St.

July 06 05:15 PM July 07 07:30 PM July 10 09:00 PM July 11 12:00 PM July 12 11:00 PM July 14 05:45 PM July 15 01:45 PM

Mum And The Big C

By: Lynne Kamm

Event Details:

A no-strings attached, playgirl lesbian, most titillated when transient, is relegated back to the sedentary burbs to nurse her boob cancer-riddled, food hoarder mom who’s hell-bent on marrying her off, and finds herself fenced in with lies when she unwittingly shags her mother’s oncologist and falls in love.

Purchase Tickets Here

Randolph Theatre / Annex Theatre 736 Bathurst St.

July 04 08:45 PM July 07 12:00 PM July 08 08:45 PM July 09 03:00 PM July 11 11:00 PM July 13 01:45 PM July 14 09:15 PM

Stamped: A Story About Daniel, Who Happens to Have Autism

By: Sarah Magni

Event Details:

Stamped is a solo show based on a true story about a boy with Autism and his attention-hungry sister. Supported by a cast of crazy characters, all played by Sarah Magni, Stamped is about how others label us and how we define ourselves.

Purchase Tickets Here

Alleyplays Fringe Club at Honest Ed’s 581 Bloor St. W

July 04 06:30 PM July 08 06:30 PM July 09 06:30 PM July 10 08:30 PM July 11 06:30 PM July 13 08:30 PM July 14 06:30 PM July 15 08:30 PM

21 Days

By: Tabia Lau, Music by Mary Lougheed

Event Details:

Julie will only ever live 21 extraordinary days before dying from a rare disease, so things get complicated when Ben offers her a chance at true love. On the strictest of all time schedules, Julie must decide what is worth chasing before her numbered days are up in this fantastical original musical about love, time, and the timing of love.

Purchase Tickets Here

Robert Gill Theatre 214 College St., 3rd floor

July 05 10:30 PM July 07 10:45 PM July 08 02:45 PM July 10 09:00 PM July 11 08:00 PM July 12 06:45 PM July 15 02:45 PM

If you know of patient performances that we have failed to list please leave the event information in the comments below. Thanks in advance.

Happy Fringe!

The Fringe Festival Pushes Patient Story Into the Fray

The Toronto Fringe Festival is arguably the city’s largest theatre event.  This summer from July 4-15, over 150 performances will be presented to an expected audience of 100,000. That’s a whopping 4% of Toronto’s population.

What makes the Fringe exciting is the process in how acts are selected for the festival.  Each year hundreds of creative applicants send in their ballot to have a show slotted for a Fringe playbill. With no judge or jury, the shows are picked at random, making for a wildly organic and impressive lineup.

Fringe audiences are accustomed to alternative theatre.  Which is why it’s the perfect environment to showcase the new, truthful, gritty, and sometimes slightly less glamourous stories.  In our minds The Fringe is also the ideal arena for patient storytelling.

Last year proved this with the highly acclaimed performance of Daniel Stolfi’s “Cancer Can’t Dance Like This”. Daniel’s show has since gone on to win the Canadian Comedy Award for Best One Person Show, and garner national attention.

This year will be no different. In fact this year’s program offers at least two patient story events for public consumption. Details of these shows below.

Healing Through Theatre

Host: Brian G. Smith (Second City Alumni) Panel: Zal Press (Patient Commando),  Dr. Jeremy Rezmovitz (Sunnybrook Hospital), Daniel Stolfi (Cancer Can’t Dance Like This)

Event Details:

Panel members from the health industry, show business and patient organizations tackle the topic of “Healing Through Theatre” in a riotous discussion. This is Laugh Therapy at its best. Moderated by Brian G. Smith, presented by PatientCommando.com

 

The Fringe Club at Honest Ed’s 581 Bloor St W

Tuesday July 10th 5:00-6:00pm: Healing Through Theatre

Bar open 4:30pm – 12am

More information available here.

 

Eat Poo Love 

By: Paul Clement, Evan Mackay, Dan Mackay Cast: Dan Mackay, Evan Mackay, Paul Clement

Paul Clement survived Stage 2 Colon Cancer and went on to blog about it (selected blogs available here), and eventually co-wrote a stage version of the blog which will be performed at the 2012 Toronto Fringe Festival as “Eat, Poo, Love”.  He recently appeared on the RogersTV program ‘daytime Peel’ to discuss his journey through the illness, and his fundraising work with Colon Cancer Canada.

Event Details:

You’re going to stick that WHERE?! When a demon knocks on Paul’s back door, his life takes a turn for the absurd as he is forced to greet the medical community ass-first. Surrendering his dignity in a series of ridiculous situations, Paul ponders what can’t be resolved by a clean bill of health. This true story is full of shit.

Purchase Tickets Here.

 

Randolph Theatre / Annex Theatre 736 Bathurst St.

July 06 05:15 PM July 07 07:30 PM July 10 09:00 PM July 11 12:00 PM July 12 11:00 PM July 14 05:45 PM July 15 01:45 PM

We’re exceptionally pleased that The Toronto Fringe Theatre Festival and its patrons continue to support patient storytelling.  Our thanks.

Father’s Day Special

I’m reminded of the time my father came to visit me in the hospital after my second bowel resection.

He entered the room in earlier afternoon, walking at a measured pace with his cane, neatly dressed in a suit, winter overcoat and fedora. Ignoring my mother’s exhortations that a man of 91 and such short stature shouldn’t be travelling by public transit on a wintery day, he navigated the system to come and sit by my side.

He related in extreme detail, and with great pride I might add, how he walked to the bus stop, got on the bus and leisurely rode the 35 minutes to the subway. He described all of the new buildings he had noticed along the way and admired the courage of the developers and the creativity of the architects. Getting off the bus, he transferred to the subway, agilely maneuvering down the long escalators leading to the cavernous stations. “I took my time” he cautioned, when my eyes opened wide with the image of his aching, arthritic knees adjusting to the many steps. Once off the subway his chest puffed up as he was able to breathe the cold fresh March air and coast the rest of the way by foot to the hospital.

That was pretty much the dialogue that day. I was 2 days out of surgery, still deeply under morphine influence, aching gut, and not up for company. It didn’t matter to him that I wasn’t very hospitable or communicative. He wanted to be there with his son. That was all that mattered and the conversation wasn’t that important.

For the next 3 days he repeated the trip, same suit, same hat. Same conversation.

My father’s sense of duty is an example of how the illness experience can be interpreted by a parent witnessing the illness of a child, regardless of their age (I was 49 at the time). It starts with the first sniffle as a baby.

This weekend we celebrate Father’s Day and the relationship of parents and children challenged with an illness. There’s Aza Raskin’s lyrical memory of his late father Jef Raskin, inventor of the Mac, and Pulitzer Prize winner Buzz Bissinger’s brutally honest memoir of his road trip with brain damaged son Zach. Unlike the conversations I had with my dad that week over 12 years ago, not one of these stories is the same.

Feel free to add your story to theirs.