A record $1.43 Million raised at the 2016 Courage To Come Back Awards

New records were achieved at the 18th annual Courage To Come Back Awards on May 5th with over 1,500 attendees at the Vancouver Convention Centre and over $1.43 million raised to support Coast Mental Health.

_BE_1438_web - CopyEach year, Coast Mental Health hosts this coveted awards gala, an inspirational evening to recognize six truly remarkable British Columbians – their courage to overcome serious adversity, change their lives for the better, and move forward to help others do the same.

Funds raised will go directly to Coast Mental Health to support those dealing with mental illness. The event was chaired by Lorne Segal, O.B.C. and attended by The Honourable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. A key highlight during the evening was Minister of Health Terry Lake donating $100,000 from the Province on behalf of Premier Christy Clark and Minister of Finance, Mike de Jong.

During the evening, the following recipients were presented with spectacular glass sculptures designed by Susan Point:

  • Tom Teranishi, Vancouver, BC – Medical Category
  • Meredith Graham, New Westminster, BC – Social Adversity Category
  • Jemal Damtawe, Coquitlam, BC – Addiction Category
  • Christy Campbell, North Vancouver, BC – Physical Rehabilitation Category
  • Dr. Barbara Harris, Vancouver BC – Mental Health Category
  • Coltyn Liu, Vancouver, BC – Youth Category

In the words of Courage Recipient Meredith Graham – “People can and do change in remarkable ways. There is extraordinary potential in genuine kindness. Every act of kindness, no matter how small, has the power to heal.”

The Courage To Come Back Awards
The Courage To Come Back Awards are presented annually by Coast Mental Health Foundation to celebrate British Columbians who have overcome illness or adversity and have ‘come back to give back’ to their communities, and to inspire others to do the same.

Coast Mental Health
For over 40 years, Coast Mental Health has helped bridge the gap between diagnosis and recovery for individuals with significant mental health challenges. Through the generous contributions of donors and partners, Coast Mental Health offers innovative programs that address the three essential pillars of sustained recovery: Housing, Employment and Support Services. Through engaging clients in their own recovery and focusing on long-term success, Coast Mental Health envisions a future where possibilities become reality. To find out more about what Coast Mental Health does, go to www.coastmentalhealth.com

Coltyn Liu, 16, of Vancouver, is the 2016 Courage to Come Back Award recipient in the Youth category.

COLTYN LIU NAMED COURAGE TO COME BACK AWARD RECIPIENT

Coltyn Liu
Photo credit: Mark van Manen/PNG

Look at him now and you’d never believe his story: hit by a steel vendor’s cart in a shopping mall food court as a toddler, slammed aside like a rag doll, suffering traumatic brain injury which left him having to learn to talk, to walk, to comprehend; left him hyper-sensitive to sound and the world around him, susceptible to screaming fits, seizures and ongoing secondary injuries and challenges.

Look at him now and you see an ‘A’ student, six-feet-four, a volleyball star, a leader and winner with the awards to prove it. You see a mentor to other kids, a volunteer coach and ref. You couldn’t imagine him slithering on his stomach, lashing out in pain, a crying violent boy, bullied mercilessly, not able to handle being touched or understand what was happening or being said around him, moved to home schooling. You’d never believe the daily heartache and struggles he still goes through to be in school, the effort it takes to do everyday activities and the things he loves or the anguish he lives with as he fights through a day and the continuing regressions and pain.

Look at him now and it’s easy to forget the years of poverty, the food bank line-ups, the scrounging to survive, the doctors, lawyers and therapists as his mother and sister fought the system to get him the help he needed. You’d never know the battles they still face and the hardships they continue to endure.

Look at him now and you will see his “me-do” attitude, his will to live and overcome perceptions and beat the odds, you see his love of sport, first as therapy, then as a passion. As one of his teachers puts it, Coltyn “is one of those elite-level athletes who has the innate ability to raise the level of all the people around him”.

Look at him now and you’ll find him helping others, founding, with his sister and mother, K.A.R.E (Kids Actions Really Energize) Power, an organization which identifies community challenges and comes up with solutions from a youth perspective.

Coltyn will receive his award at The Courage To Come Back Awards gala dinner on Thursday, May 5, 2016 at the Vancouver Convention Centre West. Tickets and information at couragetocomeback.ca


Global News

Sonia Deol interviews Coltyn Liu – click to view on Global News website>

The Province newspaper

Susan Lazaruk editorial about Coltyn Liu – click to read on The Province website>

News1130

John Ackerman interviews Coltyn Liu – click to listen on News1130 website>

 

Christy Campbell of North Vancouver is the 2016 Courage To Come Back Award recipient in the Physical Rehabilitation category.

CHRISTY CAMPBELL NAMED COURAGE TO COME BACK AWARD RECIPIENT

christy-campbell
Photo credit: Mark van Manen /PNG

Christy Campbell, 41, of North Vancouver is the 2016 Courage To Come Back Award recipient in the Physical Rehabilitation category.

Christy had it all: active healthy life; loving partner, rewarding career, happy home, and great friends. Then, in December, 2005, at the age of 31, she was devastated by a stroke. Unable to walk or talk or read, Christy’s vocabulary was wiped out. She could not ask for help, type an email or say her own name. She lost every word but one and learned a new word “aphasia.” Aphasia is a communication disorder best described as being dropped into an alien land where you can’t speak the language and don’t understand a single letter of the alphabet.

Give up? Not a chance. The one word she had was “yes.” Christy was alive and with the support of her husband and many friends and family took her life in an unexpected direction. At the time of her stroke, beyond short-term therapy BC’s medical system had very limited resources for people Christy age with her conditions, this despite the fact that new aphasia cases arise in Canada at about the same rate as cases of breast cancer.

Courageously, Christy decided that she would improve the resources available to brain injury survivors in BC. Six months after her stroke she could say 12 words. Intellect intact, she spent countless hours learning to dress and write with her left hand, learning to walk, learning to drive and learning to read again. She’d lost her career but not her will to contribute; she wants people with aphasia to have the treatment, resources and support they need.

In the years since her stroke, her vocabulary and confidence grew and she continues to overcome the isolation aphasia imposes. Christy inspired and co-founded the annual Sea-to-Sky Aphasia Camp, now entering its seventh year. She established UBC’s Campbell-Purves Aphasia Education Fund and offers her time and energy as a volunteer to Providence Health Care, Columbia Speech and Language Services, the Stroke Recovery Association of BC and other organizations far and wide. She’s now a mother of an active four-year old who loves listening to her read bedtime stories.
Christy will receive her award at The Courage To Come Back Awards gala dinner on Thursday, May 5, 2016 at the Vancouver Convention Centre West. Tickets and information at couragetocomeback.ca


Global News

Sonia Deol interviews Christy Campbell – watch live on Global News Hour at 6pm May 2nd

The Province newspaper

Susan Lazaruk editorial about Christy Campbell – click to read on The Province website>

News1130

John Ackerman interviews Christy Campbell – click to view on News1130 website>

 

Jemal Damtawe of Coquitlam, is the 2016 Courage To Come Back Award recipient in the Addiction category.

JEMAL DAMTAWE NAMED COURAGE TO COME BACK AWARD RECIPIENT

Jemal-Damtawe-sm
Photo credit: Jason Payne/PNG

At age 15 in war-torn Ethiopia, he became a child soldier – at the point of a gun. His first escape, stowed away on a cargo ship, left him swimming for his life with other boys, two of whom drowned. In 1986, still a teenager, he tried again, reaching Canada in 1989, getting asylum, starting a restaurant in Montreal, getting married, having a daughter.

But he couldn’t shake his trauma, undiagnosed PTSD. He self-medicated with drugs and alcohol, left his family, moved to Portland, OR, joined a gang and became a drug dealer.

The threat of death led him back to Canada – Vancouver – in 2005. The overdose death of a friend led him to Union Gospel Mission. Sheer will, recovery programs and the caring support of others led him to quit drugs and get sober. He confronted his childhood trauma and vowed to help others kick the habit as he had. He became Reverend Jemal in June 2011.

On Christmas Day, 2015 Jemal Damtawe celebrated 10 years of sobriety. He began working as a volunteer swamper at the UGM Thrift Store and is now a full-time Outreach Worker and Preacher at UGM. He rescues those struggling with addiction and homelessness in the Downtown East Side. He is mentor to dozens of men who have walked on the road away from addiction and back toward self-respect.

Jemal has married again, has a three year-old son, and has joyfully reconnected with his 23-year old daughter.

Jemal will receive his award at The Courage To Come Back Awards gala dinner on Thursday, May 5, 2016 at the Vancouver Convention Centre West. Tickets and information at couragetocomeback.ca 


Global News Hour

Sonia Deol in-depth interview with Jemal Damtawe – click to view on Global News BC website>

The Province newspaper

Susan Lazaruk editorial about Jemal Damtawe – click to read on The Province website>

News1130

John Ackerman interviews Jemal Damtawe – click to view on News1130 website>

 

Courage Partnership – welcome to our newest sponsor

I wanted to do my part and make a small difference

by Duncan Robinson

Wimbleton LogoCourage as the name implies is taking your life, and having the dream or the Courage to imagine getting through something so difficult, and radically making an impact on your life. By making a radical impact in your life, the irony is your impacting many others around you.

I saw this demonstrated last year at the Courage Awards, from those at our table to those who attended the event, how each speech impacted me, and those close to me, realizing how fortunate we are, in our day to day lives. I wanted to do my part and make a small difference, knowing that small adds up to significance if we all participate at some level. I welcomed the opportunity to become a gold sponsor of this event.

Duncan Robinson
Wimbleton Financial Services, (impacting others through Strategic Planning)….


We are pleased to welcome Wimbleton Financial as a new Gold Presenting partner of The Courage To Come Back Awards in 2016. Duncan Robinson will be presenting one of the six awards on May 5, 2016 at the Vancouver Convention Centre West.

Meredith Graham of New Westminster is The Courage To Come Back Award Recipient in the Social Adversity category

MEREDITH GRAHAM NAMED COURAGE TO COME BACK AWARD RECIPIENT

by Gerald Haslam

Photo credit: Richard Lam/PNG

Meredith Graham, 27, of New Westminster, is the 2016 Courage To Come Back Award recipient in the Social Adversity category.

Meredith’s childhood was influenced by her parents’ experiences of poverty, food scarcity, violence, periods of mental illness, and substance use. Meredith – from age eight on – was forced into the role of parent.

She was diagnosed with depression and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder at 13, bi-polar disorder at 18 and borderline personality disorder at 26. She ran away from home as a teen, couch-surfing with friends. In high school she used coping strategies that further put her health at risk, such as disordered eating.

At the point where she could have given up, or worse, Meredith was embraced by people who cared: teachers and vice-principals at Princess Margaret Secondary School in Surrey. At 15, she now had a safe place to live with no more three-hour daily bus rides. She had medications, individual and group counselling, with support from psychologists, social workers, and, later, group home workers, women from her church, and landlords.

Overcoming setbacks, she graduated from high school (and sang the national anthem at the convocation), completed the Performing Arts program at Capilano University, graduated with a diploma in Child and Youth Care Counselling from Douglas College and is now a student in the Bachelor of Child and Youth Care program.

She is a youth and family development worker at St. Leonard’s Youth and Family Services in Burnaby, and has also made significant volunteer contributions in the community. She initiated Peer Health Educators at Douglas College to teach students about improving mental health and was active in the Douglas College Miles for Mental Health Run/Walk, has contributed training materials for the education of social workers and serves on two volunteer boards for the Vancouver Foundation. She’s open about her history, giving interviews, speeches, and sharing her poetry to focus attention on the issues illustrated by her own life and the need for resources to help others.

Meredith Graham will receive her award at The  Courage To Come Back Awards gala dinner on Thursday, May 5, 2016 at the Vancouver Convention Centre West. Tickets and information at couragetocomeback.ca


Global News

Randene Neill interviews Meredith Graham – click to view on Global News website>

The Province newspaper

Susan Lazaruk editorial about Meredith Graham – click to read on The Province website>

News1130

John Ackerman interviews Meredith Graham – click to view on News1130 website>

 

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.

 

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.