Your BIST guide to World Pride!

gay pride parade rainbow banner

World Pride has hit Toronto!

Thinking of going to Pride? Here’s the BIST low-down on what’s happening at Pride, with a highlight on some events we think may be more ABI survivor friendly:

Clean and Sober Proud Place – Friday, Saturday and Sunday

WHAT IS IT: A space to hang out and catch performances by local community artists in a drug and alcohol free space.

  • Paul Kane Parkette, 58 Wellelsey St. East (just east of Yonge St.)
  • FREE + WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE; VENUE WILL BE LOUD

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 What it Means to Be Seen – Photo Exhibit – Friday, Saturday and Sunday

WHAT IS IT: A photo exhibit featuring LGBTQ communities from the 1960s to present. See how much things have changed and stayed the same.

  • Ryerson Image Centre, 33 Gould St. (south of Gerrard, east of Yonge St.)
  • FREE + WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE; EVENT SHOULD BE QUIET

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Family Pride – Saturday and Sunday

WHAT IS IT: Just as it sounds – a family-centred Pride celebration! Set up in the Church Street Public School, Family Pride provides tons of free activities for kids, plus gives parents an opportunity to chill and relax in the quietest, and least crowded space on Church Street. BONUS: FREE DRINKS AND SNACKS AVAILABLE!

  • Church St. Public School, 83 Alexander St. (1 block North of Carlton, just east of Church)
  • FREE + WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE; GENERALLY NOT TOO LOUD

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UFCW Canada Pride – Saturday, starts at 10 a.m.

WHAT IS IT: The United Food and Commercial Worker union (UFCW) is hosting a Pride celebration for its members, their friends, family  and basically any community-oriented person who wants to indulge in the spirit of Pride. There will be refreshments, snacks, music, arts and cultural activities.

  • Sheraton Centre Hotel, Civic Ballroom and Foyer, 123 Queen Street West (west of Bay St.)
  • FREE + WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE; EVENT LIKELY TO BE SOMEWHAT LOUD
  • If you’re planning on going, you’re encouraged to sign up here

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Proud Voices – Saturday, Sunday, starts 11 a.m. – readings and performances throughout the day

WHAT IS IT: Listen to readings by some of Toronto’s best LGBTTQ writers. Saturday  features readings by established Toronto women writers, and Sunday it’s the men’s turn. 

  • Glay Day Bookshop, 598 Yonge St. (just North of Wellesley)
  • FREE; NOT WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE
  • ** FREE NIGHTTIME CABARETS SATURDAY + SUNDAY at 8 p.m.! **

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BIST TIP: Getting to Pride from east of Church St. is a lot easier than coming from the west end. But regardless of where you’re coming from – expect crowds. Don’t drive. If you can, walk bike or take the TTC!

  • Avoid Wellesley Station and the surronding area. You will find taking a longer way around to where your going will take less time than managing your way through the crowds.
  • There will be fewer crowds at: Sherbourne Station, Yonge / Bloor station, College Station or Dundas Station – again, it’s worth walk!

For more information: World Pride Toronto

 

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BIST member Taylor Corstorphine: The power of positive thinking

By Melissa Myers

“I’m never discouraged.  I just keep going and keep moving.  I’m never down or sad”

Taylor Corstorphine: graphic design artist; brain injury survivor.

Taylor Corstorphine is in his last year of a three-year Graphic Design program at George Brown, and earned his way into the program by achieving a grade higher than 3.0 on a photography portfolio he created in his first year.  He created the portfolio in a course called Art Fundamentals.

He volunteered with the Brain Injury Society of Toronto (BIST) to create the poster for BIST’s 5km Run, Walk and Roll in September. Corstorphine says it is difficult to balance school and volunteer work, but he looks forward to more volunteer opportunities with BIST.

Taylor Corstorphine
Taylor Corstorphine. Photo by Melissa Myers

His interests at school and ambitions in graphic design include packaging and corporate design, which involves designing brand logos and product packages.  Working out, reading, golfing and watching movies are some of his hobbies.  Corstorphine loves to laugh and comedy is his favourite genre of movie.

In 2006, Corstorphine was hit by car while training for a Sporting Life 10 kilometre run with his high school gym class.  He was knocked unconscious from the impact and was then put on life support and put ino a drug-induced coma once an ambulance delivered him to St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.  He says that doctors at St. Michael’s said he had a one per cent chance to live.

After two and a half weeks in a coma, Corstorphine was finally pulled out of it and found himself in the intensive care unit of the hospital.  Two months later he was transferred to Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, where he stayed for six months.

Corstorphine had to re-learn how to walk, talk and eat properly.  At rehab, he partook in physiotherapy, speech language pathology and began attempting simple math, English and art practices.  He had to learn how to read and write again and, interestingly, he found himself more interested in art where he had preferred history and science beforehand.  In this way, Corstorphine said he had experienced a sort of revival and had become a new person.

He said he remembers his mom being there for him and spending a lot of time with him while he was in rehab.

“My mom dropped everything and went to the hospital,” said Corstorphine.  He said that his dad and sisters had a more difficult time accepting what had happened to him, but that his mom was and is really aware.

He said that a lot of friends came to visit him while he was in rehab, but that not all of them still visit with him.  It seems some people have moved on with their careers, but Corstorphine says a couple of friends stuck around and still accompany him to events around the city.

Although he has a great family supporting him and has been able to live a goal-oriented life, Corstorphine still copes with many challenges due his acquired brain injury.  For example, to stay successful at school he has to pace himself.

Corstorphine has made it through his program by taking four classes per semester instead of the usual six-course curriculum, making up the remaining classes in summer semesters.  Another way he paces himself at school is by strategizing his coffee intake and taking after-school naps.

“I drink coffee in the morning, and one in the afternoon,” he said.

At school, Corstorphine uses a smartpen to record classes and has help taking notes.  He utilizes several memory aid devices and also has a rehab support worker (RSW) who helps him to get off to a good start at the beginning of each semester.  He said that he has been writing a lot of things down lately to help him remember what is going on at school.

Corstorphine said that although his short-term memory has been affected, his long-term memory still remains intact.  He recalled his role on his soccer team before his accident.

“I was a ‘stopper’ (midfield/defensive player),” he said, mentioning that his head was his biggest asset as he used to stop the ball from entering his team’s defensive zone.  He said he still enjoys playing soccer with friends whenever he has the opportunity.

Corstorphine also mentioned he had taught younger students English as a Second Language, or ESL, to fulfill his mandatory high school volunteer hours before his accident.  He said he taught the students how to read and speak English at an elementary school downtown and that this volunteer position had been very rewarding for him.

Corstorphine seemed to have a very unique and positive outlook on life and didn’t want to focus on the way his daily life has been altered.  Instead, he pointed to his successes and the way he will use the skills he has learned.

“I’m always moving forward,” he said, “that’s my motto.”

Melissa Myers is a BIST Communications Commitee member and is working toward her Bachelor of Journalism at Ryerson University in Toronto. 

BIST 5K run report

With the cold weather settling in on the city of Toronto, we’re taking one last look back on the pleasanter days of September, when the Brain Injury Society of Toronto hosted its second annual 5K Run Walk and Roll. Of course, the weather wasn’t exactly perfect that day, either, but that didn’t keep the runners and volunteers away. BIST communications committee volunteer Richard Haskell was there to capture the mood.

Runners set off at the start of BIST's 5K Run, Walk and Roll. Photo by Ian Bowles.
Runners set off at the start of BIST’s 5K Run, Walk and Roll. Photo by Ian Bowles.

By Richard Haskell

The forecast called for “intermittent showers,” and that’s exactly what was happening during the early morning hours of Saturday, Sept 22. Nevertheless, by 9:55 a.m. the sun began peeking through the clouds just in time to mark the official start of BIST’s 5k Run Walk and Roll, the organization’s second annual run in Sunnybrook Park.

What had motivated more than 300 participants — including adults, children, and a couple of canines — to come out and run, walk or roll for BIST? The reasons were as varied as the participants themselves.

Lisa Cybulskie, who clocked in at 18:38 and placed first in the women’s category, is a keen amateur runner who happened to be taking part in a marathon on the same course later this fall.

Top men’s winner was John Healy, who referred to himself as a “runner, lawyer, husband and dad” who completed the course in 19:17. This was his first year running the 5K race, and because he has friends with acquired brain injuries (ABIs), he felt an obligation to participate. Second–place men’s winner Adam Morello is a marathon runner, soon to be participating in a major competition.

Medals for run particpants.

Some participants were ABI survivors themselves, including fifth-place finisher Jeff Bryce. The 36-year-old lawyer suffered a traumatic brain injury in 1992 when a pickup truck rolled over while he was working on a project in Guyana.

Kudos also go to the gentleman who was pushed by a friend in a wheelchair for the entire 5K.

This year’s event was even more successful than the inaugural one held last year, with 350 registered to take part, and more than $45,000 raised for brain injury-programs.

Volunteers directed by Cora Moncada began arriving around 8am to help set up, and their ongoing efforts throughout the day proved valuable. They moved tables, stuffed bags, worked at the registration and food tents, watched over children, and generally kept the whole event running smoothly from start to finish.

This year’s special guest was Kathleen Wynne, MPP for Don Valley West. In a brief speech, Ms. Wynne spoke of the need for increasing knowledge surrounding ABIs.

“Because so much information concerning brain injuries is still misunderstood, there’s a tremendous need for greater awareness,” Wynne said.

A deejay spinning dance tunes kept the atmosphere lively throughout the morning and assisted with the warm-up activities provided by a fitness instructor just prior to the race.

After the race had concluded, participants, volunteers, and onlookers enjoyed some enticing food and drink in the way of fresh fruit, sandwiches, doughnuts and bagels in addition to bottled water and coffee.

Julie Ly, a BIST member and formerly with BIST’s membership committee, won the iPad draw for those who helped to raise more than $250. (She raised more than $1000.)

A big thanks to all the sponsors, the planning committee, volunteers, staff, and of course, the runners, walkers, and rollers.