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Volunteer Spotlight: Jan

January 8, 2024

Meet Jan, winner of the 2023 R. Michael Whelan Excellence Award.

What motivated you to volunteer with us?

To increase my own knowledge base specific to immunity challenges and current health trends and research. To connect with others with similar life challenges. To give back to a community that has offered education and support along my own journey of living my best possible life.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering for us?

The positive connection with others (locally and across Canada), increasing my knowledge base, and advancing opportunities for growth.

What is your greatest accomplishment as a volunteer and how did you go about achieving it?

My latest accomplishment was presenting my story to the Takeda employee gathering, here in Vancouver, in May. This opportunity came as a result of a connection/introduction made at the Ottawa conference. The presentation was out of my comfort zone, but pushing myself to share the impact of living with a PI to a large audience was important and significant. 

What have you learned about yourself from volunteering with ImmUnity Canada?

I know that connection and knowledge are key components to growth. Gaining greater understanding of the mysteries of PI has reduced my anxiety about living with the dis-EASE of a life-long health challenge. I feel significantly more grounded.  Volunteering – the importance of having an open engagement with community, sharing knowledge and generosity of spirit – all have been positively reinforced. 

How has volunteering for us had an impact on you?

Provided opportunities for education, increased my knowledge of PI, facilitated the formation of lasting friendships, extended my network, stretched my capacity to speak publicly about my own life challenges and successes specific to PI. Volunteering has provided an opportunity to join a supportive community, with mutual benefits.

If you could encourage someone else to volunteer for ImmUnity Canada, what would you say?

To please consider joining the volunteer “herd “and raising your voice.  We are stronger together, supporting each other, sharing our talents and knowledge of the lived experience of PI – both individually and as a group. 

What is one of your hidden talents that not many people know about?

Character: Unbroken optimism. Skills: I am a Therapeutic Touch practitioner.

What type of superpower has living with a PI given you and why?

I am learning to develop an awareness in order to give meaning to my daily life events. 

I want to find joy in every day. My goals include many things:  to intentionally and consciously be willing to be vulnerable in a deep, thoughtful and prepared way; to not compromise values and ethics; to be a greater advocate for self, and health. 

We’re sick and tired, but we’re not alone.

ImmUnity Canada is a national charity with five provincial chapters across the country.

We empower Canadians impacted by immunodeficiency disorders to live well through education, support, advocacy, community-building, and research.

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