O’ Mentor, my mentor: thank you Kat

As many of you know, we’re saying goodbye to our longtime programs and services coordinator, Kat Powell, this week as she heads off to school in another province. Over the past eight years, Kat has been the heart of BIST, and has helped us become what we are today.  We’ll miss you Kat, and we wish you the very best with this new phase of your life!

Read our blogger and peer mentor volunteer Mark Koning’s tribute to Kat below. Even if you haven’t meet Kat, you’ll be touched.

BY: MARK KONING

It was at the tender age of six that I was hospitalized with a viral brain infection. While I became a Survivor, I grew up shadowed by a darkness I did not understand. Years passed by before I received the diagnosis I did not even know to ask for.

Mark and Kat
Mark and Kat at our summer picnic in High Park.

Confusion, fear, frustration, anger, loneliness, and a further list the length of a forearm, made it clear to me that during the “unknown” period in my life, something was not right. But also, that there was something bright and shiny from within to give and share with others.

When I first became truly aware of my injury, certain relief was felt. It was not until I met Kat that I became awakened to a purpose.

Along my path since that young age of six, I have learned many things, including this: those that inspire often don’t realize what they have done or come to mean in someone’s life.

My uncertainty was put at ease as I was brought to a safe space. The comfort I was given led to confidence being built.

O’ Mentor, my Mentor;

From Coordinator to inspiration;

Through the love, the laughter, the growth, awareness and knowledge;

You have developed Superheroes in a small community, all of whom I have witnessed look up to you. You have left your mark and will always be remembered by many.

My journey with BIST was a new step. With uncertainty and a little hesitation, I reached out and you offered me a branch of strength. You made me believe in what I could give, that I had something to offer, and you helped me continue to grow; as I’m sure you did with others.

Because of your helping hand, I can now be referred to as, not only Survivor, but:

Mentor;

Presenter;

Advocate;

Thank you, Kat.

As your position changes, I know your heart does not.

This is not a “goodbye”, but “until next time”. Because once inspiration is engraved, it never really leaves.

If you would like to send Kat your best wishes, please do so via Facebook, Twitter or at info@bist.ca and we’ll make sure she gets your message! 

Get to know Julie Notto, BIST’s new programs and services coordinator, HERE!


Mark’s passion to lend a helping hand, offer advice and give back, has developed into a moral and social responsibility with the goal of sharing, inspiring and growing, for others as well as himself. His experience as a Survivor, Caregiver, Mentor and Writer, has led to his credibility as an ABI Advocate and author of his life’s story, Challenging Barriers & Walking the Path. Follow him on Twitter @Mark_Koning or go to www.markkoning.com.

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