This past weekend, I traveled to Vancouver with my mum and grandma to be part of a very special event: BC Epilepsy’s Family Education Day at BC Children’s Hospital.
This all day conference featured multiple professional speakers (doctors, psychologists, librarians, researchers and advocates) all addressing epilepsy and the challenges those of us living with the disorder face.
The best part of the day was meeting so many other people who are living with epilepsy and listening to their stories. Many of them were very familiar to me.
I was also very honoured to be part of a panel of presenters, each of us living with epilepsy. We shared our own experiences and took questions from the audience.
The other great thing about the weekend was that I was able to do it with my grandma. Grandma has had epilepsy her entire life and she always gives me good advice on how to “listen to my body” and live well with the disorder.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been two years since the EAS was created. In that time, Dan and I have done so many amazing things from our Gala to Epilepsy Day at Disneyland to our Purple Day Open Mic. And we have met a ton of inspiring people from all over the world.
I’m sad to announce that Dan is now stepping down from his role with the EAS to pursue other adventures. He will always be a founding member and you’ll probably still see him helping out with some of our events. I know he will rock everything he takes on.
I am going to continue with my epilepsy work and have some exciting new initiatives coming up. So keep your eyes on this space.
We are so excited to announce our Purple Day event for 2015: An Open Mic at The Sweet Tooth Cafe in Summerland.
The fun all starts at 5pm on Thursday, March 26th (Purple Day!) and is open to all ages. It free to the public but we will be collecting donations for epilepsy awareness initiatives. There will be door prizes and lots of fun!
Spread to the word to all musicians you know and all music lovers, too! If you are a musician, we supply the microphones, amps and have the ability to play your backing track if that’s how you want to do it.
Today is the first ever International #epilepsyday. Check out some of the awesome photos coming in from people all over the world who support those with epilepsy and want to raise awareness! You can take part, too! Take a selfie with #epilepsyday and your location and share it on your social media!
October was a busy month for us. We got back from We Day Toronto and were behind in our coursework from school. Then I got sick. I’d had a bad cold the whole time we were in Toronto but it got a lot worse when I got home. I didn’t have any seizures but my doctor put me on bedrest for a week.
Luckily, I was all better by the time We Day Vancouver rolled around!
I’ve been to We Day Vancouver every year since Grade 8. I love it. This year was extra special because Dan and I were able to bring special guests with us AND we were invited to the Evening of Champions. Since we missed this night in Toronto we were even more excited.
We were also pretty excited to bring two younger YEP members to We Day. My little brother, Matt, and my cousin, Kenz, were totally stoked to come with us.
We stayed in the official We Day hotel, the Sheraton, in beautiful downtown Vancouver. The first night we had the Evening of Champions. This was such a great event. Craig Kielburger was there and so was Spencer West. Hannah Alper was there and spoke. And Neverest played unplugged. We had such a great time and got to see a lot of the people we’ve met through Me to We.
We Day Vancouver was so much fun. The performers were awesome. The speakers were inspiring (as always). But I think the best part was seeing the spark to BE THE CHANGE ignited in the younger kids we’d brought to the event. 🙂
Lunch at Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe before we go to the Evening of Champions.
The view from our hotel!
Loving the suite we got at the hotel! 🙂
Our #cyberlove campaign was in full swing.
Dan & I hamming it up. We are very serious people.
At the Evening of Champions looking very grown up (or trying to).
This is Emily. She has been our contact in the Vancouver Me to We office and has been such a support for us!
In May of 2014, I was amazed to learn that I was a finalist for the Canadian Living Me to We Awards. I was even more surprised to discover in June that I’d won the Youth In Action category!! We had to keep quiet about the award until the October issue of Canadian Living came out (boy, was that a hard secret to keep) but over the summer I did interviews with the reporter from the magazine and had a professional photo shoot!
As soon as I discovered that I’d won the award, I knew that Dan had to come with me. There was no way I would have even had a chance to win it without his support. So on October 1st, we flew to Toronto for We Day!
It was an amazing experience. Canadian Living had sent a limo to the airport to pick us up! They put us up in a hotel downtown. The only downer was that our flight was delayed so we missed the Evening of Champions dinner. We landed and went straight to the rehearsal night at the Air Canada Centre. It was surreal. We were escorted to the Green Room where there was a private chef cooking up food for the performers. We got to meet the other winners. While we were in the Green Room performers like R5 circulated in and out of the room. Then we got to go watch the rehearsal and we had a surprise. Kendrick Lamar was the secret guest performer and we were there right in time to see his rehearsal. We had to keep it a secret and not take any photos but it was pretty cool.
Then I had to go with my fellow winners onto the stage to practice accepting our awards. After that we went back to our hotel and tried to sleep, which was pretty much impossible.
We had to be up super early the next morning because I had to get to the event early as I had to go on the red carpet with the other winners. Then we ended up in a private suite to watch the show. The rest of the day went by in a blur. Being on stage, receiving my award and the after party. It was so much fun!
Dan and I still had more exciting things planned for Toronto though (it was our first trip there!). The next day we went to Ripley’s Aquarium and then to the CN Tower. And on our last morning we toured the University of Toronto’s campus. It was an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime trip.
It was such an honour to win this award. And a bit weird to see myself in a magazine!
We were a bit excited on our way to the airport even though it was early!
Having a quick bite to eat before going to the rehearsal.
Our backstage passes!
The stage at We Day Toronto 2014.
My fellow award winners. What an amazing and inspiring group of people.
We got to meet so many cool people. Here we are talking to Dave Cuddy and his partner Robin Alexander. Dave’s organization Education is Power Africa provides funding to students in East Africa.
We got to meet Neverest!
Having some lunch during We Day in our suite. Thanks Canadian Living!
There we are … on stage!
That’s me (Caitie) on stage at We Day. So surreal!
I still can’t believe I got to meet Kardinal Offishall!
Marc Kielburger was so nice. He came up to the suite to meet us and was so encouraging!
Presenting with my official award. I think Dan was more excited than me!
I was feeling quite sick as the day wore on. We got to the after party early and I had to sit down right away. But then one of my all time heroes, Spencer West, came in. He talked to us and even posed for a picture. Talk about a dream come true!
We got to meet Craig Kielburger! He even danced with us! What a great guy.
So happy at the after party. What a great way to end the day!
Breakfast before we explore Toronto!
We are fish people.
We couldn’t resist the kiddy tube. 🙂
We are kids.
Dan and I both love aquariums and fishies.
The CN Tower.
Sitting on the glass floor of the CN Tower!
It was so windy up there!
On our way to the University of Toronto we stopped for a photo op.
University of Toronto
Dan was really excited to find a Krispy Kreme!
Tired but happy on our limo ride back to Pearson International to go home.
Poutine at Pearson International! A great way to end our trip.