Posts Tagged ‘Dr. Lynn Elen Burton’

Last night I attended the Vancouver YWCA Women of Distinction Awards as a nominee. The nominees were truly an amazing group of women. I was truly impressed with the achievements and passion of the group.  I recognized that, collectively, there were many world changers sharing the stage with me.

I did suffer some chemical sensitivity issues early in the evening, especially when we were sent into a tiny room, where the newly perfumed women were gathered to practice going on the stage. Oxygen at maximum was not stopping the symptoms of watery eyes, extreme irritability, inability to concentrate and the strong feeling of a need to escape. The inner me was trying to stay calm but the inner me disappears and the animal me comes to the fore. Lucky for me, my dear (and I cannot emphasize this word enough), dear, dear friend, Dr. Lynn Elen Burton, acting as attendant (and she is not that kind of doctor, she’s an academic) was with me trying to stave off the reactions she has seen up close. Fortunately, in their wisdom (or was it due to Lynn’s pleasant attentiveness to the situation and her ability to communicate with the volunteers?) those in charge allowed me to wait by the ramp rather than repeating my entrance and exit from this little room.

From that point on, the evening was delightful. I was flanked by my scent-free friends on both sides through the dinner. Long time friends Lynn, and her husband Mario Piamonte, former Anmore Village Councillor, attended to my every need at my right. On my left,  Joe Trasolini, MLA for Port Moody-Coquitlam and Gray Giovannetti. With tickets to the event at $200.00 each, most of my friends were eliminated from participation. How lucky I was to have these four with me!

It is easy to become caught up in the competition when the reality of the event is quite simple. It has two purposes. It is to raise awareness and much-needed funding for the wonderful programs for women sponsored by the YWCA. And, in doing so, this night of celebration raises awareness of some of the women in our community who are truly outstanding in several ways. These are identified as:

1. Breaking new ground or old barriers
2. Showing vision, creativity and initiative
3. Being a leader and role model
4. Guiding, supporting and encouraging the development of others
5. Participating actively as a volunteer
6. Being recognized by her community for her contributions (i.e. awards, accolades)

I am truly grateful for the recognition and the opportunity to participate.

Jay Peachy

Sometimes you get the tenant you need and sometimes you get the tenant who needs you. Life is like that, full of give and take. I am grateful for both.

Jay came to me after a difficult time. My new suite had been vacated by me very dear tenant (who had been so helpful – he’s family now but that’s another story) when the developer of the adjacent lands cut off access to my property.

The most important criterion for becoming my tenant is being scent and chemical free. A long round of emails confirmed that Jay  was a good communicator, willing to completely give up the use of all scent and chemical products and delighted to find a space that would allow his dog. I agreed to meet him.

There were a number of applicants but something drew me to this man with no references, a strange affect, no job and clearly no money for the deposit …and our relationship began: landlord- tenant; advocate-client; employer-attendant; patron-artist; neighbour-neighbour; friend-friend. There were and are many more aspects to our relationship. I know that this was the place where he was meant to heal and evolve more fully into Jay Peachy, the artist. And clearly, although he is not the tenant I anticipated, one who could be the helper I needed for my physical challenges – do not get the idea it is a one way street.

Jay is an amazing attendant when I go to medical appointments and need someone to guard me against reactions to chemical exposure. He has twice administered the epipen and numerous times supplied oxygen when required. He’s amazing and was once asked in a medical setting if he was a nurse when he deftly saved my life.

But here in Anmore, “Nature’s Home” as Dr. Lynn Burton and I are determined to label this beautiful community, Jay has healed and blossomed. Yes, he still has bipolar disorder. But now he has safety nets in place, a home community, the courage to stand up and face the world fighting the stigma, LABEL clearly pasted on his forehead, and help others tirelessly through his artistic genius.

He has become a volunteer at Mossom Creek Hatchery just below our home, connected with salmon enhancement and conservation and swallowed that into his art and essence. He hosts a radio show, Sound Therapy Radio on CJSF and has now won awards for his efforts. His standup comedy is just another of his artistic endeavours.  Jay Peachy brought Art in the Garden to Anmore with a group of enthusiastic volunteers inviting the support and promotional assistance of the Tri-City Arts Connect Umbrella.

Twenty-four months ago, this young man could not get himself out of bed. He was defeated by a disease and a system. One hand up, a lot of nature and living with his faithful dog companion, Star, and he didn’t just come back, he’s bringing others with him and showing them the way.

Not too much commentary – I will try to let Glenn ter Borg’s film speak for itself. Believe me, there are hours and hours of film that went into making this 10 minute segment of the Hindsight Years. Glenn says mine was the most difficult to date. Here’s the link… enjoy!

The Hindsight Years – Elaine Willis