Not Acceptable R-word

“Not Acceptable” is a powerful and compelling 30 second television PSA which gives voice to a variety of diverse communities each of whom expresses that it is not acceptable to call them by what were once common words, but are now recognized as offensive slurs. It culminates in actress and self-advocate Lauren Potter from “Glee” stating that it is not acceptable to use the word ‘retard’ and she and “Glee” co-star Jane Lynch make a call to action to stop using the word and to promote the acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and to make their pledge online at

The PSA was launched by the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign, an on-going initiative from Special Olympics and Best Buddies to eradicate the derogatory use of the word “retard(ed)” from everyday use and promote the inclusion and acceptance of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

May 20, 2011

Why I am an Advocate

By Brandon Staglin August 5, 2010

I have schizophrenia, and sometimes I think about whether I have let my illness define my life. I work for my family’s nonprofit, International Mental Health Research Organization (IMHRO), as a mental health advocate. If you asked me when I was a kid what work I would want to do, the last thing I would have said was to take on a family enterprise. I used to value my individuality above anything else, and dreaded being corrupted by conformity. Thanks in part to my illness, my values have shifted since then. I had a psychotic break in 1990, the summer after my freshman year at Dartmouth College. A friend managed to get me to a psychiatry ward. At first, I could not accept that I had a mental illness. I had a life plan, to be an astronautical engineer! I would not be cut down by a schizophrenia diagnosis.

Three nights into my first hospitalization I decided I would get out of the psych ward immediately. I was unable to sleep, furious, and refused to take meds. A nurse was on her way with an injection to make me sleep. I would not let her violate my consciousness! [...] continue the story

Change A Mind About Mental Illness

Director Ron Howard lent his vision to this PSA, made possible by over 100 volunteers coming together with one simple goal, to change minds about mental illness.

October 21, 2009

The Four Unwanted Words

By Ron Telpner

Like my father before me, and my grandmother before him, I am a person of words. My daughter Meghan is the same.

I write for a living, whether it is copy for an ad, a speech for a client, or an opinion piece for a magazine. I love words. I love the architecture of a well-written paragraph. I get joy from seeing just how magical a turn of phrase can be.

I am 60 years old and a lot of words have crossed my lips, crossed my mind and ended up on a page, in an ad, or as a quote. Like I said, I love words.

But I never imagined the impact it would have on me of hearing the four words, strung together by my doctor, on September 7th, 2010.

Those words were, “ You have prostate cancer”.

I think he said a few more words after that, but I am not sure I heard them. The one thing I was clear on was that I heard, “you have cancer”.

Then he said something about let’s just wait and see what happens. Did I just hear him say, “You have cancer and we’ll just wait and see what happens?” I [...] continue the story

Calm in the face of cancer

By Fernand Gingras December 1, 2011

I wasn’t overly concerned about my health when I decided to respond to an ad published in a Québec newspaper by the Centre hospitalier de l’Université Laval: Dr. Fernand Labrie was looking for men for a study on prostate cancer. Like the rest of the participants, I agreed to have an annual digital rectal exam (DRE) and a prostate-specific antigent (PSA) blood test — that was all there was to it. And for five or six years, nothing came of these tests.

When my PSA started to rise, however, I was advised not to take any chances due to my family history — my father had died from complications of prostate cancer. In fact, as it turned out, I learned that I also had the disease. My doctor went through all the different treatment options with me: prostatectomy, radiation therapy, active surveillance (not recommended in my case), etc. After doing my research and discussing further with my doctor, I settled on brachytherapy (radioactive implants), because it seemed to me that this treatment would be less exacting and the side effects less bothersome.

It was the lead-up to the procedure that I found particularly difficult. I had several biopsies, [...] continue the story