Lessons in courage

by Gerald Haslam – founding member of Coast Mental Health Foundation, author, past member of The Courage To Come Back Executive Committee

Lorne-Kimber
‘Intrepid Pilgrim – Lorne Kimber’ by Grace Tan

My involvement with Courage began on a rainy fall day in 1998. Hugh Mitchell, a stockbroker and friend I’d done business with since the early 80s, reached me by phone. “I’ve found something really fascinating, something you couldn’t turn down in a month of Sundays,” said he.

That piqued my interest: whatever could he be talking about and how could he be so sure I’d want to be involved? “It’s called the Courage to Come Back Awards. It started in Pittsburgh; a local organization called the Coast Foundation wants to start it here.”

So? I’d never heard of the Coast Foundation (now Coast Mental Health), had no idea what these awards might be about. I must have sounded skeptical, to put it gently.

“Just come to one meeting,” Hugh insisted; “see what happens.”

What to do? When someone you trust asks you to do a little something – go to one meeting, nothing more – you repay that trust by saying yes. So I went to the meeting, met Darrell Burnham (then Executive Director of Coast, now CEO) and Shirley Broadfoot (first Courage Chair), and other volunteers, heard what they wanted to do, bounced ideas back and forth, made some suggestions and came away totally convinced that this Courage thing was a wonderful idea that could and would change lives for the better. That meeting began a relationship which has lasted, one way or another, ever since.

For the best part of 10 years I was chair of what we called “the vast and powerful media committee” (which had all of two members). I wrote virtually every press release announcing the names of recipients. I met virtually all of them. I went to scores of meetings in the Coast basement on East 11th Avenue. I wrote a book about Courage recipients and nominees called Heroes Next Door. I got to know a number of those folks very well. I came to regard them all as a kind of extended family. For months every year I was consumed by the Courage event. I watched it grow from its rather ragged beginnings into the important project and life-changing experience it has become.

But did it really affect me, change me, as a person? Yes, no question. Let me tell you how, abbreviated version, give you some of the lessons this experience imparted to this one individual. I want to do that by using the best example I can think of, the Courage recipient I got to know best, a hero named Lorne Joseph James Kimber. Born in Saskatoon June 3, 1948; died in Vancouver April 22, 2008.

“I am not a poor disabled person,” he liked to say; “I am, first, a person, and second, I have a disability.” For all the years I knew him, Lorne, who suffered from multiple sclerosis, never walked, never washed himself or dressed himself or brushed his own teeth. His ability to speak declined steadily. But he lived a fuller life than most of us: he was a blazing beacon for people with disabilities, a champion not only for himself but for others as well. He was a mentor and a role model. He was brave and tough and stubborn and cheerful and he had an impish sense of humour.

I first met Lorne in his room at George Pearson Centre, a long-term care facility in Vancouver. He was the recipient in the General Medicine category in the first year of the Courage to Come Back Awards, recognized for his years of successful advocacy for people with disabilities. He was a pioneer in the push for wheelchair accessibility and the initiator behind what he fondly described as Canada’s first wheelchair-accessible taxi fleet (Kimber Cabs, going strong since 1989).

That first time, I was drafting a press release announcing his award. “I may have MS,” it quoted Lorne as saying, “but MS doesn’t have me.” I read the line to him and he said, “Can I add something?” Yes, of course. “MS doesn’t have me,” he went on; “Jesus does.”

Lorne believed God gave him severe challenges because he was destined to inspire others. He believed in Heaven and knew to a moral certainty that when the Lord called him home, as he put it, he’d be reunited with Angela, the beloved wife he lost to cancer in 1987. We who saw him often figured his next bout of pneumonia – by 2008 he’d had survived a dozen or more of them – might well be the last. But that wasn’t how he went, passing on instead peacefully, in his sleep, to be sprightly and joyful again.

He taught me so much more than he realized at the time, about life’s challenges and how to confront them, about optimism and courage, about never giving up. His faith was real, his smile infectious. He taught me that the true measurement of your value is how much you help others.

Lorne Kimber was my friend; if he could face life as he did, the rest of us, with less daunting prospects, can surely do almost as well.

Nominate someone – reading how my friends feel about me was mind blowing

Wendy St. Marie, 2015 Courage To Come Back Award Recipient – Speech, Courage Launch, January 6, 2016

Arlen Redekop / PNG photo
Arlen Redekop / PNG photo

I want to tell you how being nominated and going through the process has affected me and to ENCOURAGE others to nominate.

I had the very great honour of being the recipient of last year’s Courage To Come Back Award in the medical category.

When my friend told me that she would like to nominate me for this award I said sure. I didn’t think that there was a chance in the world that I would be a recipient of any award.

Having said that, I appreciated the intent.  She asked permission to contact other friends, one of which was my oldest friend. We have known each other since we were four year old. In other words my history was validated.

I was so positive I wasn’t going to even be considered that I purposely did not look at the website or any information on the Awards or Coast Mental Health.

This is why I am here today. I want to tell you how being nominated and going through the process has affected me and to ENCOURAGE others to nominate.

All nominees must sign the nomination form In order for it to be submitted. Upon reading it I was immediately overwhelmed by what my friends wrote about me. Regardless if I had never heard again from Coast Mental Health, to have in writing how my friends feel about me was mind blowing and that was MORE than enough. I will hold all of those words close to me forever.

I didn’t think about the awards again until I received a call from Lorne Segal.  After his introduction , Lorne spoke of the history and the value of these awards  and the selection criteria. I continued to listen thinking this man does a great “Decline”. I had been in the position of delivering bad news to staff before. Then he finally Congratulated me for being the recipient in the Medical category!

From there it was a whirlwind of Press and Media, and meeting the other nominees.

This experience ranks as my most exciting and memorable.  I look at my beautiful award on my mantle every day.  I have gained more confidence in my abilities and I recently completed my training to be an Ambassador for the M S Society of B.C.

I am passionate about these Courage Awards.

Please take the time to nominate someone. It is a short time out of your life to take the time to nominate.   There are so many worthy people in Vancouver.  You can change someone’s life!

 

Without Ted’s letter, no award for Jerome Bouvier.

by Gerald Haslam – founding member of Coast Mental Health Foundation, author, past member of The Courage To Come Back Executive Committee

Jerome BouvierJerome Bouvier received the 2011 Courage To Come Back award in the Addiction category because his friend Ted Kuntz wrote a letter.

No, that’s not the whole story, not by a long shot, but it’s a crucial part. Nobody achieves a pinnacle like this just because someone else sits down at a computer, but part of it is pretty simple: no nomination, no award.

Kuntz is a Coquitlam psychotherapist in private practice who met Jerome about 15 years ago. The two of them worked together on finding innovative resources for troubled youth. Years later, Ted made the connection between Jerome and the Courage awards. Bouvier is Executive Director of PoCoMo Youth Services Society, which offers street-level services and a mobile drop-in centre to young people in the Tri-Cities of Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam and Port Moody.

Ted Kuntz first learned about the Courage awards through stories in The Province. “I’d been captivated by the stories of recipients over the years,” he says. “I thought about it and wanted to put his name forward. It wasn’t about winning; this was a story that deserved to be told. I figured that a committee of people would read it, and once they knew what he’d accomplished, they’d want to honour him.” Without Ted’s letter, no award.

And they did, but not the first time, in 2006, or the second. The 2011 nomination of Jerome was his third.

“There are just so many great stories,” says Patricia Wiggins of Coast Mental Health Foundation, presenter of the Courage awards since their inception in 1999. She reads every single nomination and arranges the six ‘category panels’ of a dozen or so volunteers, including experts in the various fields, to make the short list of two to five nominees in each category. Then a group of 16-20 distinguished citizens, also all volunteers, makes the final selections. “The choices can be incredibly difficult because there are so many deserving people. A number of our recipients have been nominated more than once.”

Ted Kuntz says the nomination process is “exceedingly easy. For me, writing about Jerome felt like a celebration. People like him teach us how to move through adversity.”

Whether or not the nominee ends up receiving the award on stage at the gala dinner, Ted continues, being nominated gives people who have faced severe challenges an important boost. “I think they feel validated,” he says; “it lifts them higher and they want to contribute more.”

“We hear that all the time,” Patricia Wiggins says. “The nominating process brings people together, increasing their understanding of disabilities, and gives respect to those who have endured so much.”

So what makes a perfect nomination? There are tips on the Coast website, where the nomination form can also be downloaded couragetocomeback.ca “In general,” Wiggins says, “ just tell the story: Don’t overload the selection panels with too much information. Letters of support from others who know the nominee are very helpful.” (Ted Kuntz’s 2011 letter was four typewritten pages plus several testimonials from friends and colleagues’ of Jerome). “All the nominees have made a courageous comeback, but remember that giving back to the community—motivating and helping others—is very important. The panels are looking to be moved and inspired.”

Clearly, Jerome Bouvier moved and inspired them; his journey from drug addict to community leader has brought a tear to many eyes. But for Ted Kuntz and that letter, though, you might never have known.

To nominate someone who inspires you, visit couragetocomeback.ca.

 

BC Courage To Come Back nominations

BC-Wide Courage To Come Back Nominations

Lorne Segal Chair Courage To Come Back Awards

The Power of The Human Spirit

You can hear the passion in Lorne Segal’s voice when he talks about The Courage To Come Back Awards.

Segal, President of Kingswood Properties Ltd., is the Chair of the BC-wide campaign of recognition, and its number-one cheerleader.

“The Courage Awards are such a great initiative, who could remain unmoved?” he says. “Think about it: in this age of bad news and sad stories, we get to learn about and honour heroes.”

“I call nominees the ‘heroes among us’,” Segal smiles. “They don’t realize the impact they have. That’s why we are putting the call out for people to come forward and nominate someone they know. Nominating someone is a way of saying ‘you make a difference’.”

Segal knows about making a difference: he is a recipient of The Order of British Columbia and a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, both recognizing his philanthropic work.

The Courage To Come Back Awards, presented by Coast Mental Health Foundation, recognize citizens in a number of categories: people who have overcome addiction to drugs or alcohol; others who have beat tremendous medical odds or undergone extensive physical rehabilitation; and people who have recovered from mental illness, or from dire social or economic adversity. There is also a special Youth category for people 22 years and under.

The common denominator in all categories is that the person nominated has overcome significant illness or adversity and reaches out to help others. They have “come back to give back.”

“The people who are nominated for these awards are simply amazing,” says Segal. “Every year I am astonished at the power of the human spirit. These are ordinary people but they have done extraordinary things, and because of that they encourage others.”

“Nominees don’t see themselves that way, usually. They are humble. They always say they were just doing what they had to do, but in the process of overcoming their own challenges plus helping others, they inspire their friends, family members and co-workers.”

The award recipients are chosen by a large group of experts and laypeople who volunteer their time to review the stories and select the final six.

Recipients will be honoured at a gala on May 5th at the Vancouver Convention Centre West.

To nominate someone who inspires you, visit couragetocomeback.ca.

 

Coast Mental Health

by Darrell Burnham, CEO Coast Mental Health

Darrell BurnhamCoast Mental Health staff see hope and triumph every day.

Coast Mental Health started the CTCB Awards seventeen years ago. We saw this event as means to highlight the triumph and perseverance of the human spirit.

Through the Courage Awards, we meet six remarkable people who demonstrate these characteristics. Each recipient is a beacon of hope, a fearless hero, a shining example of possibility.

To us it is a wonderful parallel to the recovery we see in people with mental illness.

No matter how bleak things may be, not matter what hardship or misfortune you face, through the right supports and inspiration we all have an ability to rise up and find a brighter future. It shows that there is resilience in each of us that allows us to pick ourselves up, to dust ourselves off, and to overcome.

Over the years we have had many hundreds of nominees, each with their own extraordinary story. Every story has a common thread – great adversity, a life filled with seemingly insurmountable obstacles, heartbreak, suffering, and despair.

For me, I learn just how challenging life can be and I see how fortunate most of us are to have our safety, comfort and health. In fact, when I read the challenges Courage nominees have faced, my trivial problems pale in comparison to these remarkable individuals.

And yet out of these stories of heartbreak and despair, somehow, each person finds the internal strength to persevere, to rise up and to ultimately spread their wings and soar. They find the courage to not just continue on, but to engage and inspire others and in so doing they are giving back to their communities.

If you speak to the frontline staff at Coast Mental Health, they can relate. Every day they work with people with mental illness: people who have endured significant hardship and have faced unimaginable odds in their battle with these sometimes-crippling diseases.

Mental illness is a thief, it robs you of your identity, it takes away your livelihood and it isolates you from your friends and family. It leaves you a shadow of yourself… alone and hopeless. And if diseases like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are not bad enough, add to that stigma and discrimination, and a society that simply does not understand.

Yet Coast Mental Health staff see hope and triumph every day. Through counseling, intervention and care we see recovery. From our meal programs, clothing and supported housing we see restored dignity. And from life-skills training, education and employment programs we see a reduction of poverty.

We know that people can and do recover from mental illness and that they indeed can overcome.

We know that mental illness is simply another adversity and, with support, it too can be courageously beaten.

We are fortunate that the Courage To Come Back Awards give us a vehicle to deliver our message, to share our mission and to help us bring communities together.

And of course, most importantly, the annual Courage Awards introduce us to 6 remarkable recipients. People who deserve to be honoured and whose stories are so powerful they simply must be shared. Their stories overwhelm us with emotion, fill us with awe, and give us hope that within each of us exists that fearless hero.

To nominate someone who inspires you, visit couragetocomeback.ca.

“True heroism is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.” ~Arthur Ashe

 

Courage To Come Back Mental Health Award

by Sandra Yuen MacKay, 2013 Courage To Come Back Award Recipient

sandra yuen mackayHow the Courage To Come Back Mental Health Award Award changed my life

Hello my name is Sandra Yuen MacKay. I received the Courage To Come Back award in 2012 in the mental health category. I struggled with mental illness for many years. Tormented by hallucinations and delusions and dealing with side effects of medications, I felt my life was over at many times. But I dug my way out and became an artist, writer and public speaker on recovery. I published a memoir My Schizophrenic Life: The Road to Recovery from Mental Illness to build awareness and reduce stigma.

A colleague who was also a friend thought I was worthy of this award and nominated me. That in itself was an honour.

One morning, the phone rang, I picked up the phone, and it was Mr. Lorne Segal telling me I had been chosen for this award. I was thrilled. When I received the award and stood in front of over 1000 people at the gala, my life was definitely transformed on personal level and in the way others perceived me.

I met the other recipients and during that short time, we shared a bond knowing the trials we’d been through and the joy we felt upon receiving our awards together. To be part of that experience at the gala, where people opened their hearts and gave toward the Coast Mental Health Foundation to help people in our community was profound. Generosity and humanity flowed in that room.

Since the award, I was named as one of five Faces of Mental Illness in 2012, a national campaign which included advocating to Members of Parliament and visiting the Governor General and his spouse in Ottawa.

The next fall, I spoke at a special event in Nanaimo, I was featured in a bus ad in Terrace, BC and I received a signed photo from the Minister of Defense praising me on my advocacy work. MP Don Davies called me from Ottawa to say how insightful my memoir was and encouraged me to write more. In 2013, I received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for contributions to the community.

All these things came on the heels of receiving the Courage To Come Back Award. The award played a large part in subsequent events and successes in my life.

There are others I know that deserve this award. People that have walked through fire and emerged ready to aid and inspire others, to give them the courage to move forward. Your child, sibling, relative, friend or colleague could be the next Courage To Come Back recipient.

So, if you know someone who you think is worthy of this award, I urge you to nominate him or her. And that person may one day stand and be acknowledged for their perseverance and dedication to giving back to others.

To nominate someone who inspires you, visit couragetocomeback.ca.

 

I’m grateful just to be alive . . . Courage Recipient

by Mark Ash, 2010 Courage To Come Back Award Recipient

mark ash courage recipient

Courage Recipient Mark Ash

I’m very happy to be here and to share my story with you.   Actually, I’m happy to be anywhere and able to do things that “normal people” do.

I’m happy that I can use my hands again and for being able to speak.

I’m grateful just to be alive, for this is my second life.

The old Mark, well he didn’t make it. In December of 2001, I suffered a brain injury due to a car accident. When I woke up in the hospital I was paralyzed.

Every brain injury is different, and in my case, my mind and my memory were unaffected. But most of my muscles weren’t receiving proper signals, especially my fine motor skills. I couldn’t speak, could barely walk or use my hands and had trouble swallowing. Everyone thought it was all over for me. At the time I would have preferred death. You know, when you really start thinking about death, that’s when you learn to appreciate life.

In the two years that followed I struggled with insomnia and severe depression. I saw many doctors and often I was over-medicated. When I did go out, it was with a special group. One of the worst things I encountered was that people automatically assumed that because I couldn’t speak, I was mentally challenged. It was frustrating and demoralizing. Many times I felt like giving up, I didn’t want to continue this miserable existence.

I kept waiting for my body to fix itself. You know like when you have a cold or a broken bone, eventually your body will heal itself. But it doesn’t work like that with a brain injury. I was told by my doctors that most of the healing occurs within the first year of an injury — after that the brain gives up.

I had to accept the reality that no doctors or therapists could fix me. If I were to get better, I had to take my recovery into my own hands. So I began to learn how the human body works, and what I need to do to help it heal. I designed a program for myself. My whole life became a “boot camp.”

I had to motivate myself every day and although I was very working very hard, for a long time there was very little improvement. Many times I became discouraged, but instead of giving my self reasons why I couldn’t, I gave myself reasons why I could, and slowly I began to see results. On my journey I learned not to wait for something big to occur. Start at where you are, with what you have, and that will always lead you into something greater.

I was nominated for a Courage To Come Back Award by my good friend Carmen from Pathways Clubhouse. I was thrilled to be nominated. I didn’t think I’d win.

When Mr. Lorne Segal contacted me to let me know that I was chosen in Physical Rehabilitation category, I was deeply touched. For the next month I did interviews with NEWS1130, the Province newspaper and on Global BC, this was very exiting! I particularly enjoyed my interview with Deborra Hope.

The Award Gala was an absolutely wonderful and uplifting experience. It was an honour to share the stage with all the other recipients. Since then, CBC television did a segment on me and the CMHA Pathways Clubhouse on “Building Pathways for Hope.”

Today I volunteer at the Vancouver Adaptive Music Society studio at GF Strong, where I have many new clients. At the Headway Center for Brain injury and Pathways Clubhouse (where I’m a member), I facilitate “Wellness Through Music” programs. I’m can’t call myself a music therapist because I don’t have a license, so I became a musicologist. I also volunteer with a stroke support group at Douglas Park Community Center, where I have the pleasure of sharing my experiences and knowledge with others, and I volunteer at the Richmond Food Bank.

You know, at first I had to do a lot of cardio at the gym, I needed to force-feed my brain with oxygen, but now I find that “There is no exercise better for the heart then reaching down and lifting people up.”

I want others to look at me and say, “If he could do it, I can do it.” I want my life to be a message.

It’s been said that, “Time heals all wounds.” Obviously the guy that said that didn’t have my wounds. Nevertheless, today I stand before you a new and improved man. I have a new meaningful life filled with happiness. I get to help others and I’m surrounded by people who show me lots of love.

I am eternally grateful to the Coast Foundation through whom I found the inspiration and motivation to come back further than I ever dreamed I could and I’m not done yet.

If your dream happens to fall and break into a thousand pieces, never be afraid to pick up one of those pieces and begin again.

Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.

Visit Mark’s website >

To nominate someone who inspires you, visit couragetocomeback.ca.

 

Courage To Come Back Awards Frequently-Asked Questions

Courage To Come Back Awards Nominations

How do I know who qualifies for a Courage To Come Back Award?

The person must be a resident of British Columbia and give consent to be nominated. Virtually anyone who has overcome difficulties and inspires you or others can be nominated. Visit the (nomination landing page) to read more about the process.

Does the person have to be living to be nominated for a Courage Award?

Yes

Can I nominate someone without telling them?

No, the person must agree to be nominated.

Can I nominate someone I don’t know, a celebrity or sports hero I admire?

You can, but it may be difficult for you to get their consent to be nominated.

What are the categories I can nominate someone in?

Addiction, Medical, Mental Health, Physical Rehabilitation, Social Adversity, and Youth. Youth nominees must be under 22 years of age as of December 31, 2015.

What is the last day I can submit a nomination?

The closing date for nominations is February 12, 2016.

Courage Nomination FormWhat if I don’t want to type into the online form?

You can click here to print a PDF of the form and simply follow the instructions.

If I send you the information or phone you, can you type it up for me?

Unfortunately due to limited staff time we cannot.

Do I have to buy a ticket to the gala dinner to nominate someone?

No. Nominations are free.

Can people be nominated again if they don’t win?

Yes, you can re-nominate someone next year. In fact, some people are nominated a few times before being chosen for an award.

Who selects the award recipients?

Several volunteer panels. No Coast staff member is allowed to vote.

What do the award recipients get?

Recipients receive, in addition to media exposure, a special vignette outlining their achievements and an award at the May 5th gala. After the gala, they receive a framed commemorative photograph and a DVD of the event.

Can I nominate someone who helped me through my illness/disability/addiction/life?

If they have helped someone to ‘come back’ they do not quality. It is the person who came back that qualifies for a Courage Award.

Can I nominate a group, organization or couple?

No, at this point we only accept nominations for individuals.

Can I nominate myself?

Yes.

How much information do you need?

Just enough to tell the story. We don’t need a novel, but we need enough detail so that our independent volunteer panels can assess the submission. Each nomination must have at least 3 letters of support, and if you would like to send in copies of newspaper or online articles they will be added to the nomination form.

Do I have to tell all the details of the nominee’s life?

No, but we do need enough information to understand the nature of the illness, adversity or affliction. Honesty and corroboration are the best policy.

Can I send you my video / DVD / CD / book?

Not at this time. All materials must be able to be scanned.

Can I send in photos?

Yes but again they must be able to be scanned.

When are the award recipients chosen?

Every successful recipient will be contacted in late March. Unsuccessful nominees will receive a thank you letter and printed Certificate of Nomination in late March / early April.

If my name is chosen as a recipient, do I have to appear on television, radio and in print?

Yes, this is a requirement of receiving the award. There is no need to be nervous, however. The interviews are taped so you don’t have the worry of a live blooper, and yours is a ‘good news’ story so the reporters are friendly and sympathetic.

When is the gala dinner / awards presentation?

May 5, 2016 at the Vancouver Convention Centre West.

 To nominate someone who inspires you, visit couragetocomeback.ca.

 

Nominations launch – 2016 Courage To Come Back Awards

Courage To Come Back Nominations

Nominations Launch

The momentum behind Coast Mental Health’s annual fundraising gala is starting to gather, with the nomination process having kicked off with a “soft” launch in the first week of December. That introduction is the lead up to the January 6 media nominations launch when things will really start hopping.

“There are a number of changes in store for our 2016 event,” noted Manager, Communications and Events, Patricia Wiggins. “Visit couragetocomeback.ca and you’ll see that we’re now able to accept online nominations – this is a first for us and we’re very excited about it. Technology is playing a part in the May 5 gala evening as well. For the first time ever we’ll be using a high-tech tablet pledging system called Givergy (a combination of the words giving and energy). This technology comes from Britain and it’s taken the U.K. by storm . . . we’re very excited to be using it here.”

Patricia encourages everyone to nominate people they feel are deserving of an award. If you know someone who meets the criteria in any of the categories (addiction; medical; mental health; physical rehabilitation; social adversity; and youth), please consider recommending them.

“People are honoured simply to be nominated; they often have no idea how inspiring others find them,” said Patricia. “If you think of someone, but aren’t sure about the nomination process or are struggling with it, call us!”

The 2016 gala will be Patricia’s ninth Courage To Come Back Awards. Her focus right now is to get as many nominations in as possible.

The deadline for nominations is February 12. “Get on it,” encourages Patricia, “February may sound like it’s a long time away but it will be here before you know it.”

Get started with your online nomination today.

 

Courage Awards – categories

Six Courage Awards presented every year

The annual Courage To Come Back Awards recognize abilities, celebrate differences and give centre stage to six British Columbians who have overcome tremendous challenges, yet reach out to help others in our province. They are our loved ones, our neighbours, our friends, who have faced seemingly–insurmountable odds and who have come through with courage, strength, and a drive to help others.

Courage recipients show us that people can walk again despite the predictions of some of the best medical minds. They teach us that disabled does not mean unable. They prove that hearing voices in one’s head does not mean a lifetime in hospital. These are valuable members of our community despite injury or illness: they are role models.

Addiction: A person who has demonstrated inspirational achievements overcoming the challenges of addiction and who has given back to his or her community. Sobriety must have been maintained for at least the past five years.

Medical: A person who has demonstrated inspirational achievements overcoming the challenges of a serious medical condition, and who has given back to his or her community.

Mental Health: A person who has demonstrated inspirational achievements overcoming the challenges of living with a mental illness, and who has given back to his or her community.

Physical Rehabilitation: A person who has demonstrated inspirational achievements following major trauma or injury which has required extensive physical rehabilitation, and who has given back to his or her community.

Social Adversity: A person who has demonstrated inspirational achievements in the face of abuse, poverty, discrimination or other significant adversity, and who has given back to his or her community. (In the case of new British Columbians, it may be as a result of political upheaval or war experienced before settling here.)

Youth: A young person, under the age of 22 years as of December 31, 2015, who has demonstrated inspirational achievements overcoming illness, injury, addiction or social adversity, and who has given back to his or her community.

The Courage To Come Back Awards will be presented on May 5, 2016 at the Vancouver Convention Centre West.  Buy tickets online today.

To nominate someone who inspires you, visit couragetocomeback.ca.