Gail Attara, President and CEO, Gastrointestinal Society (GI Society)

Gail Attara, President and CEO, Gastrointestinal Society (GI Society) www.badgut.org | www.mauxdeventre.org With offices in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal, the GI Society supports Canadians with a full range of resources in the sorely neglected gastrointestinal health area. Gail Attara began in 1996 as Executive Director of the organization’s sister charity, the Canadian Society of Intestinal Research (CSIR). She led the organization from a small BC charity into a national presence, accounting for the largest growth period since inception in 1976, before co-founding the GI Society in 2008 and now serving as its president and chief executive officer.

Gail’s motto, “The patient comes first,” directs her leadership of the GI Society, as she advocates on behalf of patients to promote patient-focused health care and for a wider public awareness of digestive illnesses that affect as many as 20 million Canadians.

Government, non-profit, media, medical, and corporate stakeholders in GI health regularly seek out Gail for consultations and speaking engagements from coast to coast, where she is known for captivating listeners with her straightforward and engaging style.

Gail has a sound background in public relations and fundraising, and she is also a published freelance author and artist. She is an active community volunteer in Canada and overseas, [...] continue the story

Anne Marie Cerato

Anne Marie Cerato 4-Year Lung Cancer Survivor

Patient Advocate and Speaker

I am living with stage 4 Lung Cancer. A little over a year ago, I was certain that my life would be cut short and I doubted I’d see my 35th birthday. Thanks to a targeted treatment I’m looking past 40, my condition although incurable is now manageable and chronic, not terminal.

One of the most challenging parts of this journey has been the isolation I felt, during and after treatment, both as a Lung Cancer patient but also as a Young Adult. Even living in a world-class city like Toronto, I found it incredibly difficult to find the resources and outlets I needed as a Young Adult living with Lung Cancer. After having experienced the stigma and isolation of having this condition I decided I would do something to change things for the better.

I began These Are My Scars to provide other young adults with a place and the tools to see their own scars in a new light. Through this new perspective, we hope that individuals are able to heal from the deeper emotional scars emanating from the cancer experience. This personal project has led me into Patient Advocacy and [...] continue the story

Anna Brundage

Anna Brundage Anna Brundage  is an accomplished and respected Diabetes Nurse Educator. She is the recipient of the Diabetes Educator of the Year Award from the Banting and Best Diabetes Centre and the recipient of the Honourary Lifetime award from the Canadian Diabetes Association in the Diabetes Educator Section. The DES grants honorary lifetime membership to recognize active DES members whose longstanding excellence in practice and significant contributions have improved the quality of life for people affected by diabetes.

Anna is co-founder of the T1 Think Tank, a highly specialized collaboration of Patient Leaders and Healthcare Professionals focused on Type 1 Diabetes. The T1 Think Tank has 3 main objectives: 1) Improve communication between Patients and Healthcare providers. 2) Elevate the Standard of Care provided to Type 1 Diabetes 3) Empower patients with skills for better self-management of Type 1 Diabetes (Editor’s Note: True to her tradition, Anna did not reply to our request for information. The picture we chose to represent her reminds us of her life’s work and the constant balancing act that diabetes management demands from those living with the condition. Anna’s modesty and humility is well known. Yet the impact she’s had on literally thousands of people living with diabetes over her long [...] continue the story

Holly Bridges

Holly Bridges Three years ago, I was diagnosed with uterine fibroids (non-cancerous tumours facing 1 in 4 women and are the leading cause of hysterectomy in Canada) and told that hysterectomy was my only option.

Today, I am pain-free and period-free, with all my reproductive organs intact, thanks to a gynecologist I found through

my own research, who performed two of the most high tech, state-of-the-art procedures available in the world today – a hysteroscopic myomectomy and hysteroscopic endometrial ablation.  Women should not have to rely on their own detective skills to get the best possible outcomes for the medical conditions that threaten their well-being.

So what?

Every year in North America, some 700,000 women (650,000 American and 50,000 Canadian) undergo hysterectomy and of those, 60 and 80 per cent of those hysterectomies are medically unnecessary, performed for benign conditions such as uterine fibroids, cysts, polyps, adenomyosis and the most crippling of all benign conditions, endometriosis.

The reason I am so passionate about helping women become more aware of minimally invasive medical and surgical options is they present outcomes for women that are:

Less painful Less risky Less invasive Less expensive

I wrote The UnHysterectomy and started my online community as a resource for women to learn, connect and share about their own [...] continue the story

Megan Oates

Megan Oates Diagnosed with cancer at 17, author and budding philanthropist Megan Alexandria Oates decided to pen her own memoir ‘Would You Like Your Cancer?’ Provocative and honest, she crafted a must-read story that is entertaining in its boldness and captivating in its intimacy. She shares the innermost details of her journey through cancer and recovery, hoping to inspire, raise awareness and positively impact the lives of others.

Megan is a twenty-something survivor, young adult advocate and leader in her community. She contributes regularly to Thyroid Cancer Canada’s ‘Thry’vors’ Newsletter and has spoken at events held by the Canadian Cancer Society and Valerie’s Flutter Foundation. Through her story, the experience of cancer is all the more real, invoking compassion, sparking conversation and helping to change the lives of cancer patients and survivors. Making a Difference Being diagnosed with cancer in her teens, Megan struggled with fear, anxiety and feelings of isolation. To help support patients who are courageously battling cancer, and enable those who love and care for them to better understand the many different impacts of this disease, Megan has provided copies of her book to several hospital libraries across Canada and the United States. She hopes her story helps to strengthen and [...] continue the story