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>

 

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

 

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.