#LivingARTHfully: The Cast – Part 2

On Part 1 of #LivingARTHfully, you read about the plot for a blogging event that was held in Toronto, Ontario. Now meet the cast - the bloggers, the presenters and the supporting members.

The Bloggers

There were six of us in total - from Newfoundland, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Surrey (me) and Vancouver. Please meet:

Brian Newhook - Newfoundland Seakayaking

Brian gives you a front row seat in his kayak as he paddles you up close to icebergs and inlets, whales and wildlife. If you've not been fortunate enough to experience the rugged beauty that is Newfoundland, Brian's blog may be the tipping point, pushing you to add Newfoundland to your Life List. His travels afar are documented, as is his his family life. Brian lives with psoriatic arthritis.

Lene Andersen - The Seated View

Feast on Lene's blog where you'll find a smorgasbord of topics. Sample posts from politics to passion/s, books - her own and those written by other authors, advocacy and volunteerism and a whole lot more, expertly spiced with her own special brand of humour. I'm amazed at the beauty she captures on her 4-wheeled journeys around the City of Toronto. Lene has had rheumatoid arthritis since the age of 4. She also has fibromyalgia and migraines.

Lindsay Wright - Run Lindsay Run

And, boy, did she ever! Lindsay has participated in the Joints in Motion marathon. She's still running, but now it's after her daughter, Briony. Lindsay lives with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia - read about her 30 Things About an Invisible Illness here. She gently sprinkles her blog with inspiration and humour.

Dustin Thatcher - Journey with AS

Dustin doesn't let his dual diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis and rheumatoid arthritis stop him from boarding planes, trains and automobiles. In fact, just after this event, he went to Paris. Bien sûr! He encourages you to sleep and eat well, so you'll have the energy to seek out your sources of support. He also participated in the #60MinuteGameChanger.

Julia Chayko - The Old Lady in My Bones

On Changing Normal, Julia offers a vivid description of the effects of RA, which arrived one October morning in 2012. However, it wasn't until January 2013, that her life took an ironic turn. Julia proves the show does go on in Under the Spotlight. If one is good, two is better - Julia also blogs on Corkboards and Coffee Houses.


If I were allowed only two words to sum up the qualities of this group, those words would be hope and tenaciousness. Bravo! May you take many, many, many curtain calls!

The Presenters

KarenJanssen, Inc.

Our moderator for the day. As far as moderators go, she was top o' the class. She did a remarkable job of keeping us mostly on schedule, even though the clock was challenged by the bubbling of animated discussions.

Leigh Mitchell - Women in Biz Network

As well as introducing Sonja, Leigh provided a bloggers reference sheet that is sure to help unfreeze that icy writer's block. She generated a discussion on how much to share via social media. My curiosity about Nimble and embedding, although I confess that I haven't yet done any exploratory work in that regard.

Sonja - Hormone Soup

Sonja spoke about the genesis of Hormone Soup and how she integrates it into a variety of media outlets and created a successful site.

Dr. Andy Thompson - Rheum Info

Unfortunately, Dr. Thompson was at the far end of the room, and my hearing aids didn't pick up all of his wisdom. He talked about the importance of developing a time management system. One he recommended: Personal Kanban. He would know, as he is one busy man!

Dr. Sanjay Dixit

Dr. Sanjay is a rheumatologist who is also an assistant clinical professor at McMaster University in the Division of Rheumatology - Department of Medicine. He provided an overview about treatment options for RA, PA and AS. He stressed that one's symptoms should not be underplayed. The treatment goal is to get someone back to how they were before diagnosis.

Kelly - Janssen, Inc.

Kelly talked about a video series that Janssen produced, which documented the lives of three women who have RA. We had a far-too-quick glance at an amazing bit of technology - an LCD screen in a brochure, which looks like something that could belong on the set of Star Trek!

Mary Grace - Nurse - Bio Advance (Janssen, Inc.)

Her talk was brief, but her message was powerful - establish and use your support team, which could include using a patient support program.

Carol - The Art Gallery of Ontario

Carol took us on a brief tour of the Art Gallery, where we were introduced to two artists who had successfully mastered their craft, in spite of their disabilities. Then, it was playtime!

The Supporting Cast

They may be behind the scenes, but they are front of heart. Like any production, and like life with a chronic illness, it takes a team approach to ensure the show goes on, which it smoothly did!

Anya Kravets - GCI Group

Anya has a taste for the mysterious, as her first email to me was written in an evocative way - a great skill in her role as a senior consultant. She is as delightful in person as she was in print. Friendly, supportive and flexible - I'm sure all that yoga she does helps!

Amanda Federchuk  - GCI Group

When she is not hard at work at GCI (and earning a Hard Hat Award), she spends her time decorating and dreaming of stand up routines. You have to love her spirit of adventure!

Kate - Janssen, Inc.

When you meet new people, it's always fun to find common ground, or in our case, common water! 😉 A little bit of home along the shores of Lake Superior. Thanks for reminiscing with me, Kate!

Sukhait Sharma - Janssen, Inc.

I didn't have much of a chance to speak with Sukhait, but when I did I learned that he eats, breathes and lives for skiing.


Disclosure: travel and lodging for #LivingARTHfully were arranged by GCI Group and expenses were covered by Janssen, Inc.

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