Living with Treacher Collins Syndrome has presented me with many challenges. However, I have also received many opportunities and gifts that might not have come my way without my diagnosis.
That’s why I feel a responsibility to give back to the facial difference community in any way I can.
Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to work in medicine. That dream was forged through my interest in science along with the incredible support I received as a child at the Hospital for Sick Children.
I was able to realize that dream. After obtaining my Master degree in Epidemiology, I have come full circle to work at SickKids Hospital as a Clinical Research Coordinator, often getting the opportunity to support patients in navigating the challenges I faced as a child.
Along with the medical community, I have been part of the AboutFace community almost from the start.
Early on in my experience with AboutFace, I was given the opportunity to hone my speaking skills. When I was around 11, I introduced Paul Stanley from Kiss at an AboutFace event. A couple of years later, I spoke to a massive auditorium of university medical students about my experience of having a facial difference. It was pretty heady stuff for a young teen, and I’ve been hooked on public speaking ever since.
Whether I’m volunteering as a Counsellor at Camp Trailblazers, talking to children and families about a diagnosis, or serving on the Board of AboutFace, my belief is that education is the answer to dispelling assumptions about having a facial difference.
That’s why the Beyond My Face Campaign is so important. The campaign is building awareness on a whole new scale and opening the door to important conversations about acceptance.
It’s our turn in the facial difference community to have our voices heard. I’m optimistic about what the future holds.
I am an amateur photographer. I am a techie. I am a pianist. I am a speaker.