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 [...] continue the story

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 [...] continue the story

World IBD Day for the week

Its World IBD Day today so since it’s Saturday and every living creature with an appetite is out hunting down new prey, I’m going to celebrate the day for the whole week.

I’m biased, of course. I’ve been living with Crohn’s disease for over 31 years. It’s one of the family of nasty Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, (yes, Bowel diseases) that includes Ulcerative Colitis, but does not include IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (more on that in another post).

Since its such a gross topic (bowel disease, you can only imagine) I’ll skip the details of my experience and go straight to highlighting those individuals who have shared with us some remarkable stories. You’ll see the index below to get you started and every day this week you’ll see some of these stories and individuals highlighted on our home page.

Trust me. It takes a little bit of courage to talk about your toilet habits in public. It can be funny, but these folks aren’t getting paid to entertain a crowd at a comedy club. What they are doing is breaking down the stigma attached to these illnesses, and in so doing, are changing the world one story at a time.

Bravo to these articulate [...] continue the story

“Valleys”: Successfully Funded on Kickstarter

On with the show!

Our congratulations to Mike Lang (Director) and Amy Aubin (Star) of the soon to launch web documentary “Valleys”.  In the final days of crowd-funding, this dynamic duo managed to raise an impressive $18,000 via Kickstarter.

As the Director of Photography for the Toronto portion of this series I am pleased to know that “Valleys” will be developed as Mike originally intended. It was evident when the trailer was launched last week that Amy’s story was powerful and necessary to share.

We look forward to updating you on “Valleys” as news becomes available.

Here’s a snippet from Amy’s blog – sharing her excitement: Wow – so Valleys the movie will be happening; in 30 days we managed to raise our goal of $17,000.00 thanks to a lot of people with big hearts!  Mikey said he had never raised this much and well neither had I; this past weekend we had our doubts as we had been stuck at the $5,000.00 mark but today we made it to $17,000.00 so thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who has helped in any and every way.  No effort or donation is too small and I thank all of you from the bottom of my [...] continue the story

Two “Patients” Could Use Your Vote

It’s this time each year that I notice an increased excitement, a buzz, in most of the people I work with. Some would account this behaviour to the onset of Spring, but I say it’s for a different season altogether.  The Webby Award season.

Each year the Webby Awards honour the best of the web.  Now in their 16th year, their ever expanding categories include interactive, mobile and apps. If TED talks are the new innovative “ideas worth spreading” then the Webbys are the ideas that have worked.  The creative eyes of the world tune into this award ceremony each year and just about every agency wants their work showcased here.

Our congratulations then to the individuals, agencies and foundations that saw TWO (2) patient stories listed on this year’s nominee ballot.

Under the online film & video category of Public Service and Activism both Dear 16-year-old Me by the David Cornfield Melanoma Fund and Living With Alzheimer’s by Relate Digital for the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, (featured below respectively) are listed.

 

While next year’s ballot will most likely include KONY 2012 (lessons to learn when your campaign goes viral), this year, it’s all about the patient.  We’re asking you, our community to help make these videos even [...] continue the story