free amp templates


Everyone, Meet Brooke:

Brooke Van Ryssel is a Certified Group and Personal Trainer and Registered Holistic Nutritionist. She is also the owner/founder of My Body Fitness + Nutrition, Winnipeg’s first Body Inclusive fitness and nutrition company. Having worked in the health and fitness industry for several years Brooke knew that when starting My Body that things had to be different. She created My Body to bring body Inclusivity to the health and fitness world in her city, a place it has been either absent or just unwelcome for far too long. In October 2018 Brooke opened the commercial location of My Body a Body Positive/Inclusive group fitness gym and community space! This location features 30 minute group fitness classes 6 days a week, Body Inclusive Yoga 2 days a week, as well as a holistic nutritional consulting office accessible to all fitness levels and ALL BODIES! We are Body Positive, Fat Positive, diet culture free, advocates for mental health, feminist, anti-racism, anti-ableism, and allies of the LGBTQIA2S+ community. 

Unlike the traditional gym model, My Body’s focus is not on aesthetics but rather how you feel and what you are capable of, because there are so many other reasons to move and nourish your body that have nothing to do with it's appearance. 

My Body is an intentionally safe space for ALL humans to sweat, laugh, and learn together in a truly judgement free zone, all because they love their bodies. 

Brooke is committed to making real change in and outside of the industry with My Body, celebrating diversity through inclusion and actively working to help as many people as possible to accept and love their bodies.

My Body House Rules:

1) All Bodies Are Welcome 

2) Zero Tolerance Policy for Body Shaming or Bullying of any kind. 

3) Smash Beauty Standards 

4) Crush Diet Culture 

5) Lift Each Other Up

What empowered you to open this physical space? 

"I wanted to create a safe space. The most common feedback I get from those who come workout at My Body is “This is the first time I have ever felt comfortable/confident/safe/welcome/accepted, in a gym environment”.

That is why I created this space, for those who want to experience joyful supportive movement without a focus on aesthetics, without fatphobia, without diet culture! Where the workouts are accommodated to support and challenge each individual who walks in the door, understanding that modification is NOT weakness, it is accessibility. Where everyone is moving their bodies in a way that is appropriate for them, sweating, laughing and growing together in a strong community that supports them endlessly. Working out Because We Love Our Bodies, rather than using exercise as a form of punishment. 

Simply put, I thought that it was about damn time to subvert the norm of the group fitness gym/gym environment in general from the typical concept that focuses on what you look like as the highest priority and excludes SO many people based on them not fitting that picture/ideal. Creating a safe space for all human beings to experience joyful movement and inclusion!"

What conversations are you trying to change surrounding body image?

"In my industry there’s always conversations around basing someone’s health solely on what they look like. I am trying to change the conversation and provide education so that everyone can one day know that “Fit” is not a body type. You can not determine someone’s “health” based on what they look like, and also even classifying people’s worth based on what they look like or their perceived health is fatphobic and ableist. 

We are so much more than our bodies! You are not worthy because of your body but regardless of it...We are worthy simply because we exist. I tend to push Body Acceptance and Neutrality for this reason. If you’ve spent years hating the way your body looks bad one day someone just says “hey you should just love it. The beauty standards are garbage and we’re made to profit off insecurity. So just love your body as it's sentiment is wonderful but I don’t believe that you have to love the way your body looks in order it accept and respect it. I always tell people to start with acceptance and focusing on what you and your body can do rather than what it looks like. Our bodies are basically just the skin bags we walk around in..."

To follow along on Brooke's journey with My Body Fitness + Nutrition, click here: @mybodywpg 

Natasha Negovanlis

Everyone, Meet Natasha:

This feature was brought to us anonymously. Thank you to those who continue to bring inspiring, empowering and trailblazing humans to our community. We see you, and want to celebrate you!
You are my Heroes, 
Dana Clark 

"Natasha Negovanlis is a Canadian actress, who is most known for playing the titular character in the little web series that could, Carmilla. But besides being a talented actress, she’s also one of the most kind-hearted, humble, and empathetic human beings I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. She, alongside co-creator and co-star Annie Briggs, shared their YouTube series Clairevoyant with the world last year. It’s about best friends and roommates, Claire and Ruby, who finds themselves in a financial pickle when they’re late to pay their rent. And they decide to pose as online psychics to make some quick cash, then realize Claire actually has psychic abilities and things get weird. Think like a Canadian Broad City with a supernatural twist - an absurdist comedy with a lot of heart and positive representation.

Natasha continuously uses her platform and voice to raise awareness about mental health and starting conversations to help end the stigma around it. She’s a wonderful advocate of Bell Let’s Talk, and is very approachable talking about her own mental health and what works for her. She doesn’t shy away from speaking about what moves and matters to her, but also engaging to see how she can help herself and be more accessible for others as well. Her openness about her own mental health has helped many find their voice and speak up about their own, and find the courage to reach out and ask for help. And she isn’t afraid to speak up for the voices who have been marginalized, and is constantly trying to educate herself and learn from those around her. She’s also an incredible advocate and member of the LGBTQIA+ community, and is doing what she can to help create more  positive representation and content for the queer community. 

In 2017, she won ‘Fan’s Choice’ at the CSAs and used her speech to acknowledge positive representation in the media. “It has been an honour and a priviledge to provide more positive onscreen representation for the queer community. For MY community.” She frequently volunteers with, and supports, various LGBTQ+ and mental health organizations. She has worked with The Centre of Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto for years, teaching improv classes to people who struggle with depression and anxiety. She believes that laughter truly is the best medicine.

She also used to volunteer as a foster mom at Save Our Scruff, which where she found her furever friend. A scrappy little mutt named Charlie. And when she can, she creates care packages for the local homeless people and their dogs, if they have one. She is the kind of person who champions the people around her, and lifts others up. And is genuinely happy to see others succeed. Sometimes I feel like there’s no one who wants to see you win more than her. There’s also no one I feel who really just connects and can draw you in like Natasha. Which I think is her empathic nature and big heart. She just has this warmth about her that I find difficult to explain. And her humour is as big as her heart. She’s beautiful inside and out, and truly one of the good ones. She is an ally, advocate, and activist whose work on and off screen shows how much of a humanitarian and heroic human she is and why she is one you should keep your eye on.

Natasha is always lifting everyone else up, so I want to celebrate her and give her some recognition for all the good she does. I think she’s one of those people who never feels like they’re doing enough, so hopefully it will be a reminder that she’s already doing more than enough."

Follow along with Natasha's inspiring journey: @natvanlis

T. Thomason

Photo Credit: Britt Farhat

Everyone, Meet T. Thomason: 

T. Thomason

Photo Credit: Katherine Kwan

T. Thomason

Bell Centre with Marie-Mai. Photo Credit: Patrick Beaudry

T. Thomason

Photo Credit: @shelley.thompson.2017

T. Thomason

Photo Credit: @thelaunchctv, @bigmachinecanada, @bigmachinelabelgroup

"My name is T. Thomason. I'm a singer/songwriter originally from Nova Scotia, but I've been living between Halifax and Toronto since 2012. I've been singing since I could talk, making up songs forever, and writing them down since I could write. After a couple glasses of wine over dinner, you could likely get a story out of my parents about me being sent to my room as a 4 year old, and them sitting outside my door, trying not to laugh as they listened to me forlornly make up a song about being sad, cause I was bad, and now mom is mad. 

I grew up in an artistic family - my mom, Shelley Thompson, and my dad, Ed Thomason, are actors/writers/directors for film and theatre, as well as sometimes radio producers, theatre company artistic directors, and guest workshop teachers at high schools. This family has always been hustling. 

I was encouraged to love music from the start. At our house, Bob Dylan was God. I spent a lot of road trips in the backseat of the car listening to Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Carole King, and Garth Brooks and getting lost in their lyrics to pass the time. My parents would explain the songs to me: what they meant, who the characters were - we'd break them down at great length. Powerful songwriting was always about poetry and telling stories.  I also learned early on that songwriting could be powerful enough to spark change, or at least conversations, and give a voice to those who are often ignored. Over the years, I have come to learn of and love many better examples of this, but my first favourite Dylan song is where this seed was planted in my bb brain. 

Hurricane is the true story of Rubin Carter, a boxer who was wrongfully convicted of murder in the 60s and 70s by a racist police force, judge, and jury. Hurricane plays out like a movie and indeed, it's long enough (8:33) to be a short film. I'll never get enough of how masterfully the story of the song is constructed - jumping from one character to another through the verses, but never losing the listener, and always hammering home in the chorus: "Put in a prison cell, but one day he [Carter] coulda been the champion of the world".

Beyond listening to a lot of incredible singer/songwriters, I was also in the back seat of the car bopping to pop and rock icons like the Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, Avril Lavigne, Green Day, and movie soundtracks like Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, Freaky Friday, Josie and the Pussycats, and Shrek. I've always been a huge fan of hooky melodies, modern sounds, and the songwriting format of pop music. All this to say that songwriting and music have always revolved around 3 things for me: storytelling, emotional honesty, and fun. 

I put out three albums of original material between the ages of 14 - 19. My parents were a huge part of connecting me with the right musicians and industry people to help make this happen. Not only did they encourage my passion, but my mom helped with the business side to push things forward by applying for grants on my behalf for the first two records, overseeing my relationship with a management team for the third album, and driving me all over the maritimes for gigs. There was never any doubt in my mind that this is what I was going to do for the rest of my life. 

At 20, on the heels of my third and final release of that era, I had the sudden realization that I needed to take a break from music. Things were going great - I had a management team, a booking agent, I had recently played shows with music titans like Gord Downie, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Collective Soul. I was excited about the music I was making and I was excited about what was to come. 

So what happened?

In the summer of 2014, I had a particularly vivid dream. I was in what seemed to be a never ending hallway and a loud, booming voice was yelling at me and echoing everywhere. I woke up in a full body sweat and knew with terrifying certainty that my life had to change, though I tried for the next few months to forget the dream and the feeling in the middle of the night. In the period that followed, I read a lot about queerness, feminism, and transness. It wasn't particularly intentional or conscious, it just kind of happened. Same with starting to seek out more of a connection to the queer/trans communities local to me.

Through many conversations with friends old and new, I began to feel ready to get to know myself as the person I knew I was becoming. I was extremely fortunate to have incredibly supportive friends, family, and co-workers surrounding me. To this day, the most daunting person I had to come out to about my transition was myself. One of the biggest difficulties about acknowledging something had to shift was that I knew it would impact the career I, and many others, had been working to build for the last 6 years. I agonized over, first: Would people believe me? Then, would people be angry with me? How much money would I owe people who had invested in an artist who would no longer exist? Who would work with me, who would listen to my music, what would my music sound like, would transitioning somehow cancel my interest and drive in music... basically what would this whole career and life overhaul entail? 

In the end, I did change my name and pronouns, I did change my team, my sound changed the same way any growing artist's sound does, and I lost and gained support along the way, as many artists have in their careers. I put out an EP in 2016 called sweet baby, on my own. It was my first release as T. Thomason, without my former team, and in the middle of my vocal change which was happening as a result of beginning testosterone hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Sweet baby taught me so much. It brought me opportunities that helped me find the team I'm currently working with, it proved to me that people would still listen to my music as a new artist, it forced me to discover that it is possible to maintain a singing voice through testosterone HRT despite the prevalent narrative that says otherwise, and it solidified my friendship with my producer, Dave Henriques. As a result of all this learning, Dave and I continued working together to make the singles Bliss and Loser which were a huge parts of finding myself on season 2 of CTV's The Launch in late 2018. 

The Launch has felt as though my dreams of being "T. Thomason", whoever I hoped he'd be, have finally arrived. I was incredibly nervous to go on the show. There was a pretty big part of my anxious brain telling me that they were only interested in me as a token trans person to fill their diversity quota. Through the whole process of auditioning, negotiating my involvement, filming, even being launched with my single HOPE and the aftermath, I have had to learn to trust others and myself in order to hush up that voice. 

The Launch was (and continues to be) a surreal experience. The mentors on my episode (Scott Borchetta, Marie-Mai, Sarah McLachlan, and Alex Hope) pushed me to be my best as a vocalist, a writer, a performer, and a recording artist in the studio. They pulled things out of me that surprised and delighted me. It felt as though I was being given the opportunity to fill the shoes (Crocs?) I'd been dreaming of for a long, long time.

It wasn't only the mentors on camera who inspired me, but many folks behind the scenes of the show as well. Through The Launch, I have met people who I could have only dreamed of meeting this time last year. I am pleasantly surprised by how many of them I’ve ended up in conversations with about kindness, honesty, breaking down binary ways of thinking, and the complexity and uniqueness of each other's life experiences. 

I know. The entertainment industry isn't the first place that comes to mind when wondering where these (sometimes friggin intense!!) conversations are happening. But they are. Not often enough, but they are beginning.

I feel so blessed to have been paired with the song HOPE through The Launch. Hopefully ;) it will plant a tiny seed in some bb's brain that songs are powerful, they can start conversations that can lead to change, and anyone can sing those songs. The more, the merrier. "

To follow along on T.'s incredible, inspiring and trailblazing journey, click here: @swtbbt.

Chelsi Rodrigues

Everyone, Meet Chelsi:

"My name is Chelsi and I am a Personal Trainer, Nutritionist and Mental Health Coach. I work with mainly women and teach them to discover that their happiness, health and self love is already within them. I help my clients flourish and feel good from the inside out, while falling in love with their self care journey.

I felt called to this industry and work at a young age. I was a very lazy teenager and was overweight at age 14, 5'1 and 185lbs. I was not active and my diet consisted of breads, frozen foods, cookies and fast food. I already had very low self confidence and entering high-school took away the only part of me I thought I had. My friends from middle school, ignored and rejected me... I felt like I had no one and nothing.

I ended up becoming involved with not the best group of friends. I became a criminal, shop lifting on the daily, creating problems at school (the odd time I was there) and with my family. I got into drugs and was in and out of my house. Two years later, I was kicked out and had to go to a new school. This is when life really started changing.

I started hanging out with the same people but the difference was that I had a teacher who KNEW I was worthy of more. She pushed me one day in fitness and did not let me back down.

From this day on I promised myself to take better care of myself and made it my mission to inspire others the way she inspired me. I started exercising regularly, eating healthy and spending more time outdoors.

It took a few years of discovering spirituality and learning to believe in myself and lots of work on that myself before I was comfortable with adding mindset coaching into my business but I always knew it was the missing link in my journeys and most others journey." 

Stay connected with Chelsi and her inspiring journey here: @wholehealthchelsi


Everyone, Meet Arielle:

"My name is Arielle Coree and I am an intuitive mentor, speaker, writer and podcast creator. Why do I do what I do? I recognize that there is this falsehood that so many carry around and that is because for a long time so did I. This falsehood I am referencing is the assumption that those who lead others must have had an easy road. On the surface, they are perceived to be unshakably confident, successful and immune to the trials and hardships of the typical human existence. This is what holds a lot of people back from sharing their stories. This fear of seeming imperfect, weak and maybe even broken. This falsehood is at the core of my 'why', my 'mission'. You see, I can say with unwavering conviction that the moments I have felt as though I didn’t fit in, far outnumber the moments I did and this caused me to question whether or not there was something wrong with me for the majority of my life. Was I too sensitive, too unrealistic, or just too far removed from reality? Would I ever find my place in this lifetime? Would I ever find strength and power in my voice, or worst of all, did all of this add up to one thing, my brokenness? 

These are just some of the thoughts that have haunted me by day and frequently kept me awake throughout all hours of the night. You see, I have always had this passion for helping others, this dream of somehow leaving the world better than I found it. But, my journey has not been perfect, it has actually been rather messy. Woven between those high vibe easy to share moments of my life there have been seasons of domestic violence, depression, sexual assault, an eating disorder, anxiety, toxic relationships which led to an extreme lack of confidence, and loss of my voice and identity - and most recently being diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease and all the infections that coincide. Well, these very aspects of life that some would assume may leave me unqualified to lead or help others heal have actually become some of my strongest credentials. Through these life experiences I have learned a great deal about perseverance and strength.

I am far from perfect but, to be honest no one ever truly is perfect, right? I believe we have two choices in life, we can either allow our struggles to dim our light or we can choose to turn our pain into power and rise. When I came to that realization, I knew I had to share my story, and my voice because I knew I wasn't the only one to experience hardship and allow it to break me. I knew it was my calling to advocate for others and step into this role of a lighthouse in a world that is so easily swallowed up by the dark. So, I trusted my intuition and began creating. I started with social media platforms then moved to creating a business where I offered online courses, one-one- mentoring and high vibe clothing. Over the past two years, my platforms have evolved and prove themselves to be a true extension of my soul as they take on the energy of whatever I am healing through in the moment. I let my soul guide me, I fiercely trust in the Universe and try my best to not question any of the leaps I take - hence my newest venture, Soul Moments With Arielle Coree (a podcast sharing the raw, the real and authentic thoughts that stir my soul). I share because I trust that the words have been placed on my heart for a reason far larger than myself. They are not shared to bring attention to me but instead to bring healing to you. One of the most beautiful gifts we can give one another as human beings is the gift of being seen, heard and supported. So, that is why I do what I do."

Stay connected with Arielle and check out her many offerings here: @arielleandtheearth

HEROIC HUMANS IN ACTION: Lorne & Jackie Covant, Founders of the Misfit Project

Everyone, Meet Lorne & Jackie:

"Both my wife, Jackie, and I had experiences being bullied growing up. 

Mine started in the sixth grade when we moved to a new house. Which meant a new school. From day 1, the "cool" kids decided they didn't like me. They would taunt me every day. Make fun of me. Push me. Kick my heels walking down the halls. I was terrified to go to school every day. They were all I thought about. What's worse is that I was totally alone in it. I was ashamed. I had a popular brother who had no issues making friends. Which, to me, meant that there was something wrong with me. So I never told anyone. Not the teachers. Not my brother. Not my parents. Nobody ever heard a thing about it until recently. And still, it's hard to talk about. 

Skip ahead to a year ago. I'm not that kid anymore. I keep reading these awful stories of kids being bullied. And all I can think about is how alone I felt and how alone they must feel. After years and years of never talking to anyone about being bullied, I talked to my wife about it. 

Then the idea hits us. There are likely countless people out there like us, who have been bullied. Who have stories. Who have gone on to do amazing things, despite it. 

What if kids knew there were people out there who could empathize? Maybe that would help them understand they too are not defined by their bullies. That the best part of their life is around the corner. That talking about it is a good thing.

Together we fleshed out how big this organization could be. Then five months ago, we launched The Misfit Project.

We want to inspire kids and teens with stories of amazing Misfits just like them. So they can believe that they will come through what they're going through, just like our mentors did.

But the Misfit Project isn't just about awareness and community. It's about empowerment and confidence. When a kid has something positive to focus on - Something they're good at. Something they love - they have a tool to replace the confidence that's being stripped away by their bullies. So working with our community of Misfit Mentors, we provide one--of-a-kind experiences in their areas of expertise to bullied kids and teens who are passionate about those things. Whether it's fashion, music, art, coding, photography, sports. Whatever. To reward their individuality. The very thing they're made to feel bad for. And that's what it's all about. Making kids own their status as a misfit and wear it as a badge of honour."

Check out the Misfit Project here: @the_misfit_project

Nathalia Freitas

Everyone, meet Nathalia:

“My name is Nathalia Freitas. I’m from Brazil and I live in Los Angeles/CA. I was born with a condition called Congenital Melanocytic Nevus, or just Nevus. A large birthmark that covered 40% of the right side of my face, plus thousands of satellites all over my body. From nine months to 13 years old, I had nine surgeries to remove my facial Nevus. Being different was always a big deal specially in my childhood, I would be noticed very easily. At school kids were cruel and used to call me Fred Kruger, monster, ugly face and that was very hard for me. Until I was seven years old and realized four things: 

1. I was born like that, that was not a choice, that’s a condition.

2. I am healthy - I was not in an car accident, I was not in a fire. I AM FINE.

3. Image is not everything - it’s just the way I look, it’s just in the outside.

4. It does not define me, I can do whatever I want, just like YOU.

When I decided to embrace myself and love the way I look, everything became easier.  

Today, I share my story on social media and advocate body positivity. I give motivational speeches against bullying and how to improve self-esteem. I have a background in marketing, love to cook and dancing is my therapy.

What empowered me to help others?

When I met people with physical differences I noticed that they are not happy about themselves. Some of them are not comfortable having relationships and don't believe they can find love. I wish they could see themselves as beautiful as I see them. I felt like nothing I would say could change their state of mind. So I started telling my story on social media hoping that I could inspire anyone that feels insecure about themselves. Even being born with a giant facial birthmark and having scars from surgeries, I learned to love myself and I embrace the way I look. If I can do it anyone can."

Follow along on Nathalia's journey by following here: @lovingmydots


Everyone, Meet Tiq:

"Aydian asked me to start a podcast with him last summer and I thought it was a great idea. He and I are two trans guys from very different backgrounds with the shared experience of being trans but experiencing manhood and fatherhood differently. Being trans isn’t a monolithic experience and we wanted to be able to show that. Also we wanted to showcase different ideas around masculinity and manhood, discuss the things we’ve learned and had to unlearn, and talk about what makes us different from cismen or the same. It’s a really interesting conversation.


 I’ve been very open about my life and my transition because being a model of possibility is important. I want people to know that men like me exist in the world, that the human experience is complicated and gender is what you make it. I’m proud of my journey as a transgender person and what the experience of becoming a man has taught me. I also have been empowered by a lifetime in the queer community. It’s important that I always use my platforms to bring attention to issues affecting the community as well as looking at the ways we innovate, create, and influence culture."

To check out Tiq's podcast with Aydian Dowling, head over to his Instagram page and follow along! @themrmilan

Cathleen Meredith, Founder of FATGIRLSDANCE™

Everyone, Meet Cathleen:

"August 2016. We started as an online social experiment: everyday non-trained plus size women learning and posting one dance every week for a year.

I was interested in seeing the effect of the actual practice and lifestyle of a dancer on plus size women. Not for health reasons, as exercise, or as a means to lose weight. I wanted to know how the lifestyle of dance effects every day plus size women. Not just the physical strains it puts on our bodies. It’s more than that. I want to know how our minds, hearts, and spirits will shift when consistently faced with something we think we can’t do. Either because it’s too hard, too fast, too intense, or just not “for” us. And then, time and again, discovering that we were dead wrong.

In short, we can do anything when we don’t give up. Dance is a living breathing practice of that. To create that type of discipline in our lives and in our bodies is the greatest gift we can give.

It is the gift of limitlessness.

The movement went viral. Two years, hundreds of dance classes and workshops, speaking engagements, a nationwide commercial with Shonda Rhimes. FATGIRLSDANCE™ is a worldwide movement BENT on trashing body image stereotypes through the universal language of dance. We have squads all over the world, not to mention indvividual bad ass babes dancing all over the world and sending us their footage.

The why behind FATGIRLSDANCE™ is two-fold: first and foremost is the impact for participating women–that they begin to form connection with their bodies, communities amongst each other, and relief from negative, patriarchal, unattainable, and at times crippling body image trauma that pervades every aspect of our lives. And to have some fucking fun. Next is for those who are watching us. To show that we are fearless. We are visible. We are here. We do move and move well. And your ideas and opinions about what fat bodies can do is not only flawed. It is indoctrinated unexamined bullshit.

Together, we are changing the narrative of who fat people are, what they can do, and what are stories are. This is the future. This is fearlessness.


Stay connected with this inspiring movement by following along here: @fatgirlsdancemovement

Taylor Haines

Taylor is such a special human. Her story brings such inspiration and truly reminds us that anything is possible. After seeing her audition for So You Think You Can Dance in 2018, I knew we needed to hear more about her story.
You are my Heroes,
Dana Clark

Everyone, Meet Taylor: 

My name is Taylor Haines, I’m 20 years old, and I’m a below the knee amputee. When I was born, my mother was counting fingers and toes and noticed I only had 9 toes. I was diagnosed with fibular hemimelia hours later. F.H. is an orthopedic disorder with a prevalence around 1 in 100,000. In my case, I had the complete absence of my fibula in my left leg, a shorter femur, no cruciate ligaments in my knee, missing ankle bones, and the absence of the 5th lateral ray (translation: no pinkie toe). When I was 11 months old, my left foot was amputated at the ankle. My parents will say it was one of the hardest decisions they had to make, but I couldn’t be happier with the choice.


I grew up in an extremely active family (3 Olympic athletes, 3 professional baseball players, etc.) I was on skis at age 1, learned to ride a bike, took swim lessons, played soccer, and even completed several triathlons. I did not take no for an answer, and have been challenging and pushing boundaries since I was a little girl. I do not believe my prosthesis defines me.


People stare, children and adults, and more so if I take the prosthetic off. If curious, I’d rather they just ask about it! When I was in grade school, a lot of birthday parties were at swimming pools. My mom and I had a long talk about whether or not I would allow my leg to dictate how I lived life. I had to make a deliberate choice, was I going to sit on the sidelines and watch life, or was I going to be in the middle of it? I chose to be in the middle. I try to not let what other people think get to me. Frankly, I think everyone has to make such a choice, I just had to make it a little younger than most.


Dancing is a huge part of my life. I started dancing when I started walking, on my first ever prosthesis. I use dance as a way to express emotions with my body. Bringing a story to life via dance is mesmerizing to me. I also love the added challenge of the creative process itself, so I began choreographing at age 12. Years of dance lessons, captain of a dance company in high-school, salsa exhibitions, member of a hip-hop crew in college, dance has been the center of my life. In the summer of 2017, I was featured in an international television commercial for AXA UK. The experience was one of the most physically and mentally demanding things I have ever done, but I am so humbled and proud to have been a part of the project. Because of that commercial, I was contacted by So You Think You Can Dance on FOX network and auditioned for their 2018 season. While I made it through a few rounds, I didn’t make it past the premiere episode. Still, the audition process was a fun adventure. I hope to inspire others to always try what scares them and to be willing to put in the time and work for results. I think everyone has their “something” –be it a physical disability, a mental disability, emotional issues, or anything of the sort. Everyone has some kind of challenge; some are just more visible than others."

Check out more about Taylor and her amazing, and awe inspiring story here: @taylor_haines 

Connor Beaton,
Founder of Man Talks

Everyone, Meet Connor:

"My journey to work with men came from my own journey to grow myself. If people had met me years ago they would have seen a man who looked to have it all. The career, the partner, travel, cars, ext. The man the world saw, the outer man, looked great. But the man behind the mask, the inner man, was a whole different story. 

He was insecure, unsure of his future, scared to commit, purposeless, and worried that at any moment, people would find out he was a fake. I started learning psychology, working with a mentor and opening up to my close friends about the lies, cheats, and drinking that had been going on behind the scenes for years.

One day, after opening up to a friend about the real struggles of my life that no one knew about, he broke down and told me that he had tried to take his own life less than two months before. I was shocked. We knew everything about one another, except for the things which truly mattered most. It was in that moment that I knew my life work - to work with men, and the ones wanting to understand them. 

Since then I’ve been fortunate enough to speak about mental health on stages around the world, at places like the United Nations, and beside incredible people like Gary Vaynerchuk, Lewis Howes and more. "

Follow along on Connor's journey with Man Talks, and check out his podcast, men's groups and one on one coaching here: @mantalks


Everyone, Meet Sacha: 

"At 9 years old, a simple walk to the shop to buy sweets turned me from being a "normal" 9 year old active child, into a shell of a person trapped in a coma for three months, and hospitalized for two years.

The press named me "The Girl Who Became a Human Fireball". A simple mistake of being in the wrong place at the wrong time resulted in a petrol container explosion that changed my life forever. It took 60+ operations to rebuild my body and get it to where it is today.

As a female in my 20's in a society consumed by image, this now gives me a platform to share that imperfections are also beautiful. My scars tell my story of struggle and heartache, that has only helped me become the beautiful woman that I am today. My scars are my reminder of survival. Not everybody is lucky enough to have markings of where their character was built.

I was put on earth by god as a warrior. I've fought battles and have scars to prove I won. "Sacha" means helper and defender of mankind, and that I am. As a woman I am powerful. I am courageous. I am strong. I have overcome every obstacle in life and I am more than ready to fight my battles to come. Thank you god for putting me through the darkest paths in life to lead me to my purpose. To inspire and show the world not to be afraid, of scars, of change, or of anything at all!"


Everyone, Meet Anna:

Almost a decade ago, an anxiety attack had me on the floor, hyperventilating, crying, and feeling lost, confused and broken. 

This was my rock bottom. 

After I was able to breathe properly again and stop crying, which required my sister to rub my back and read to me to ease my mind and calm my body, I came to the ever present realization, that I had something happening inside my mind that was causing me turmoil and unrest. 

It was time for a change. 

It had to stop. 

I didn't want to feel like this anymore. 

Even though the process was not an overnight journey, and is actually a never ending one, I started on a path of self-exploration, self-awareness and self-empowerment. 

This journey has not just helped me manage my anxiety, but it was allowed me to become a more authentic, aligned and abundant version of myself. 

It started with books, videos, podcasts, articles, workshops and seminars for personal growth and development. I learnt how to meditate, I learnt about how the mind works, I participated in plant medicine ceremonies...I dove in more and more as the years went on. I was focused on my healing and my inner peace. 

 The Universe, as it usually does, had other plans. It kept guiding me towards a bigger purpose. It manifested in people crossing my path or synchronistic situations that led me in new directions. This kept happening in order for me to step into my truth and mission, which is to help empower as many people as I possibly can to overcome limiting beliefs, manage their anxiety and tap into their power so that they can live an abundant life.

We all deserve to live a life that feels good and fulfills us. So many of us get stuck in limiting thoughts about ourselves and our lives and we make things so much harder on ourselves then they need to be. We get stuck in fear, doubt and insecurity and it keeps us playing small and staying scared. We forget how powerful and worthy we are, and instead lower our standards and expectations merely to survive through this life. 

That is NOT what we came here for. 

We did not come to this planet to merely survive it. 

We came here to experience, to learn, to adventure, to contribute, to expand and to become a better and brighter version of ourselves. 

Through my content, blogs, Instagram posts workshops, meditations, online programs, retreats, private coaching and classes, I aspire to inspire as many people as possible to remember who they truly are and what they are capable and most importantly, worthy of. 

Life should be magical. We just have to get out of our own way, become more aware and conscious and work towards re-scripting the mental narrative to be on our sides and lead us towards our potential and purpose. 

That's why being a Self Empowerment + Mindset Coach is so important to me. When you gain back control of your mind, you gain back control of your life. End of story. That's how you tap back into your power, gain clarity and manifest abundance! It all starts in the mind. 

That is where my journey has taken me. So I thank my anxiety and especially my anxiety attack, for making things so uncomfortable I couldn't ignore it anymore, and made the changes I needed to make in order to get where I am today. I found my power in my pain, and boy-oh-boy, what an epic ride it has been.

Follow along on Anna's beautiful mission here:

IG @sitwithanna 


Ebony Janice, Founder of Black Girl Mixtape 

Everyone, Meet Ebony:

"I was the only cisgender black woman in high residency at my grad school; a seminary in liberal/progressive Berkeley, California with the words "dismantling white supremacy" in its mission statement. That was the most toxic white space I've ever been in in my entire life and I was daily triggered by the audacity of that lie. (1) You are not dismantling white supremacy with one black woman on the roll. Period. We will not be free until black womxn are free because liberation IS in the intersections, therefore black women's unique, historical condition in the margins makes it vital that her liberation is secured in order for there to be a real possibility of freedom for all. (2) The intentional and systematic silencing and invisibilizing of black women kept me isolated in every space and roll I held within that institution. My classmates could only see me when it was time for physical or intellectual labor - then I went back to being a nonfactor and there is no dismantling white supremacy when it is on the intellectual and physical backs of black womxn.

So I created Black Girl Mixtape because I have lived my entire life in a reality where there is no intellectual space that centers black womxn, specifically as the authority. The idea that there are conversations happening that exclude black women - even some conversations about black women - forced me to be the change that I want to see. Black Girl Mixtape is a Safe Think Space for Black Women and Black Femmes. It has become a multiplatform lecture series created to center and celebrate the intellectual authority of black women and to do the work of decolonizing authority in order to make it possible for black women to be established in credible rolls of power and influence; rolls that allow us to impact sustained systematic change. We are a lecture series tour, a podcast, an online educational institution with 6-10 week grad school level learning/courses on various subjects, and soon a multi-city dinner docuseries (launching January 2019 in Paris, France).

Before my grandmother transitioned out of this earthly form in 2015, she visited me in a vision during a meditation and told me, "Do what you say you are going to do and be who you say you are. If you say you are a teacher - teach. If you say you are a writer - write." That was so profound for me because my grandmother is the reason I am a teacher. She taught me how to make my first lesson plan when I was 6 years old acting as the student teacher in the "Baby Class" of my Sunday School at New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church. Calling me, from the spirit, as a spirit, into my higher calling as a teacher was the last lesson that my grandmother ever taught me before leaving this earth. Black Girl Mixtape is the manifestation of that plea from my grandmother to "Do what I say I am going to do and be who I say I am." I am a teacher, a preacher, and a black girl advocate. Black Girl Mixtape gives me the space and platform to operate in my highest self and to make room for other black women to have that safe intellectual freedom space as well."

Follow along on Ebony's powerful journey and initiatives by following her on Instagram: @blackgirlmixtape 


Everyone, Meet Antonio, AKA Mr Good Vibes:

"My mission as Mr Good Vibes is to inspire people to love the life they live. Only positivity. That energy works wonders. You begin to wake up without an alarm clock. Your passion wakes you up. I hope that through the way I live and carry myself, others will see it as an example to do the same. I love every aspect of my life right now. Being a division 1 student-athlete on top of running a social media marketing agency is insane, and many would wonder how I make time for everything. The answer is this: when you care about it, you make time for it. It just means that I have to sacrifice other things your typical college student cares about (partying, drinking, netflix, dating, fortnite, etc.). I wake up every morning and have a schedule for how I'm going to get closer to achieving my goals. Classes in the morning, practice in the afternoon, and business development at night. Not much time for leisure - but when you're as passionate about your life as I am right now, you don't experience fatigue or burnout. That's the feeling I hope to help everyone else feel in regards to their own lives.

My story is an interesting one. I wasn't always the popular athlete or entrepreneur that may be portrayed through my stage name, Mr Good Vibes. In fact, I was bullied. I grew up in white neighbourhoods as the only black kid and was left out of games, called different names, and was even asked why I'm a different colour than everybody else. I was quite scrawny back then, so I was cut from our local regional soccer team and told I was too small to play. And even when I did find another team, I was made fun of there for being shy and having a unibrow. So it's safe to say I never expected to be where I am today. I didn't know what to expect. Until my grandmother pulled me aside at the age of 14 and told me, "Antonio, if God brings you to it, he will bring you through it." Meaning, you have to just work hard on the natural-born talents given to you and trust that God is directing you on the right path. 

Over the next few years I worked on my game and earned scholarship offers. I maintained honour roll status in school, and I had my first taste of the business world when me and my younger cousin experimented by starting a landscaping business around my neighbourhood. I was making thousands of dollars during the summer as a 14/15 year old through running this business, so I knew I was somewhat talented in entrepreneurship. By senior year of high school I started the Good Vibes movement. I noticed there wasn't enough positive news being spread. Negativity was louder than positivity. I always heard people complaining about their lives and focusing on the wrong things. I wanted people to see the world how I saw it. The good side of things. Just to always be happy and grateful to be alive. That's why I started selling Good Vibes t-shirts around my school. They were an instant hit and I sold out of the 50 shirts I brought to school by the end of the first day. I grew the movement throughout the school and partnered with Habitat for Humanity through a connection via my principle. Within the first two weeks, more than 500 students (approx. half of the school) were reppin' a Good Vibes shirt. 

I then went on to partner with other high schools, running anti-bullying campaigns. I provided universities with thousands of shirts for their orientation weeks. And even had the opportunity to be brought in by Loblaws to talk about how positivity can create a better employee/customer experience, and multiple store locations would wear Good Vibes t-shirts every Friday. 

After spreading Good Vibes throughout Toronto, we had the opportunity to work with Tim Horton's and Cineplex on a youth marketing campaign. Now Good Vibes Enterprises is a full-service social media marketing agency that helps brands connect with Generation Z and Millennials.

In addition to running the business, I have still remained true to my brand name and still spread positivity as Mr Good Vibes. Speaking to the youth at high schools is a great passion of mine. The impact that I feel after motivating/inspiring thousands of students beats any other feeling. Nothing compares.

One thing that keeps me motivated is the fact that I know I will die one day. Knowing that I won't be here forever and that my time is limited, keeps a fire lit within me. I don't get tired because I know I was put on this earth to fulfill a mission as Mr Good Vibes: show everyone the power of positivity and how they can use it to win."

Stay updated with this incredible movement by following @itsmrgoodvibes

Renae Regehr,
the founder of Free To Be

Everyone, Meet Renae:

"In my teens I struggled with body image. All the activities and ways of thinking that I thought would make me confident and happy, actually resulted in me being more anxious, depressed, and floundering in life. I went to counselling and things got better, but they weren't great until I watched Jean Kilbourne's documentary "Killing Us Softly." There are few moments that have been completely life changing for me, but this was was one of them as my eyes were opened to how significantly media images and messages deeply influence us. Fast forward a few years and I was co-facilitating a girls body image group for grade 6 & 7 girls. As we progressed through the sessions I was surprisingly struck by how the same insecurities I had struggled with when I was 13 years old were the same struggles that these girls were struggling with. In fact, they had more challenges because of the pressures of social media which were barely around when I was in school. As I reported these observations to my MA research supervisor, I asked him if I could create a body image program for my thesis. He had told me that if I could find a problem in the research literature, then I would be given the green light. I said, "Challenge accepted" and did a deep dive into the research literature. I wanted to learn, what had been done, what was helpful, what was not helpful, what was missing in our body image conversations. From that deep dive I surfaced armed with many tools and ideas and thus began Free To Be!"

Stay updated with Renae's Free To Be Talks by following her on Instagram @freetobetalks

Chantal Lacoste,
the founder of
Tillie + True

Everyone, Meet Chantal:

Chantal Lacoste, the founder of Tillie + True, started her self-love and body image coaching company after battling with eating disorders and mental illness for over 9 years. Lacoste aims to change the way women see and believe about themselves, giving them the tools to thrive and to challenge diet culture.
Chantal is a woman of all trades, but first and foremost she’s a poutine-lover, an entrepreneur, and an advocate. After graduating from her Communications degree in 2018, she then completed the eating disorder recovery program from the Women’s Health Clinic, where her motivation behind Tillie and True began. She wanted the same safe environment, the support, and the tools she received from WHC to be available for everyone who is struggling too. Chantal, you truly are a Heroic Human...
You are my Heroes, 
Dana Clark

"For years, I dedicated too much energy, too much money, and too much time trying to achieve what I thought was important in life — being thin and beautiful. I didn’t realize how much harm this had done to me until I was sitting in a psychiatrist’s office, being told that I had Borderline Personality Disorder and Depression. On top of my diagnosis, I was contemplating suicide and using Bulimia and Orthorexia to control both my weight and my life. 

After seeking support in every way possible, it wasn't until I went into eating disorder recovery and back to university to study how to understand myself and the world around me better. I began working with a life coach and started fully unpacking all of the layers of trauma, shame, and guilt I was carrying around. With time, I re-learned to be compassionate to both myself (and to others) and to love and accept myself for who I really was. I found my voice and my power from within. I realized I am an unstoppable force and I am beyond worthy of a beautiful life. I learned to make peace with my body and my mind, and unlearned everything society had conditioned me to believe what was important. When I realized how powerful this education and healing was, I started dedicating my life to making sure no other person had to experience these life-defeating thoughts and feelings by themselves. I created a body positive community in Winnipeg and became a self-love and body image coach. By no means am I where I want to be with the impact I want to make in my community — but I’m so grateful for how far I've come. I keep going because I see the power in this work. I've witnessed how many people are experiencing freedom from food and fitness, (real) happiness, self-love, autonomy, and a new zest for life that you just can't ignore! This work truly is empowering!"

Speaking Up:

"I was inspired to speak up about women's bodies and female empowerment because I was so sick of struggling with these issues by myself. I was fed up with seeing the same body type the same representation of women and their bodies on social media. I wanted to create a community where people could feel safe and don't feel like they have to attain to a certain beauty ideal. I want a safe space where we can focus on being REAL - and talking about REAL empowerment! I want to focus on important issues - ones that make us more aware of ourselves and the world around us and help us make this world a better place. For far too long, we’ve spent too much of our time and energy on trying to be someone who we aren't and comparing ourselves to others. We aren’t meant to restrict ourselves - we’re meant to feel free and autonomous. 

Real beauty to me isn’t how well you can contour your face - true beauty to me is confidence and leading a life, you are proud of living. I hope I can help others attain that type of growth through coaching and support from Tillie + True! "

Chantal's Mission:

"Tillie + True is a coaching company with a mission to empower human struggling with self-love and body image issues. Our goal is to help people thrive in a society that is constantly telling us we are not good enough. Our goal is for every human to feel comfortable and confident in their skin. To embrace who they are deep down inside and to focus on the things that really matter to them - the things that light their soul on fire and help them make this world a better place."

To follow alongside this incredible journey, follow @tillieandtrue


Everyone, Meet Berlange:

I'm so excited to have Berlange as a part of the Heroic Humans community. Her story is absolutely moving and an inspiration for all those who want to make change in the world. Berlange, you are truly a Heroic Human...
You are all my Heroes, 
Dana Clark

"My name is Berlange Presilus. I am fashion-Role model, teacher, entrepreneur, warrior and advocate. I was born with a rare condition called Klippel Trenaunay. K.T.S is a rare congenital vascular disorder in which the limb may be affected by port-wine-stain (red-purple birthmark involving blood vessels), this disorder has three different characteristics; a red birthmark called port-wine stain, veins malformation and abnormal overgrowth of soft tissues and bones. 1 out of 100.000 people are affected by this condition. Growing up, something was noticeably different about me as an infant; my right leg was longer, bigger than my left leg, it was deformed, and I crawled and walked differently than a normal child.

By the age of twelve, I began to suffer the most with skin ulcers, migraines and blood clots. I have battled with depression along with a great measure of anxiety. I struggled with rejections, pain, self-insecurities and suicidal thoughts. I have fought with life and the feeling of not being good enough to do and be anything worthy. I wanted to belong… I have constantly battled with my emotions, doubts and questioned my abilities and aspirations. Most times I was just confused about my existence; aimless, helpless and bothered. I lived a worried life!

 I spent years seeing all kinds of doctor but I was not able to get any help. I was left to suffer and die in misery. The doctors had thrown their hands up in defeat because they never encountered such a mysterious condition in all their years of experience. Therefore, I was assured by one doctor that I would die by the age of 19 due to being chronically ill. I suffered in silence! 

I became angry and hated myself more because I felt like it was my fault. In an act of desperation, I became suicidal. Everytime I planned to end my life, something happened and I never followed through. I realized then, there is maybe a calling over my life, maybe I was not born to just suffer and die in misery. Just maybe.

Two surgeries and countless hospitalizations later, I had to make a decision; to either pity myself or embrace it all and be proud of every inch and affected area of my body. 

For years I lived vicariously through those that were brave enough to speak their truth, reveal their pain, air out their wounds and did it with such passion and pride. I too wanted to be that brave. Finally, I chose to stop living with fears of being judged and being talked down to. I became determined to own my truth boldly, live life with a grateful heart and full dedication to inspire the masses.

Growing up, I had no role model, no one to relate to. For that reason I grew up confused, lonely, hopeless and unfitting. Now that I recognize my strength and power, I am being everything I needed when I was growing up. Positive representation matters.


My mission is to show the world that despite of being born with one of the rarest syndromes, beauty is introspective perception and one's attitude towards themselves and others. Beauty is not about outward appearances, but rather, the make up of one's character. I aim to create a platform to reconcile one’s views and perceptions towards the stigma around beauty in our society."

Keep up to date with Berlange's story and all the initiatives she's a part of on her Instagram: @bellenge

Mahfuz Chowdhury

Everyone, meet Mahfuz:

"Just a shy introvert playing an introverted game.

While attending university, I was put on academic probation. All I had to show for my time there was a letter in the mail that said I owed $30,000 in student loans.

I remember sitting in the lecture hall, surrounded by 500 students, silently wishing that someone would lend me a helping hand. Between struggling in school, overcoming the end of a long-term relationship, and life not going my way, I sat there in internal pain.

When I enrolled into college, I decided to use this fresh start as an opportunity to reinvent myself and become a helping hand for other students. I started an initiative called Project Reinvention and focused on assisting students with their personal development goals.

This involved speaking at a series of events to share my story and then spend time speaking with them privately. I remember in my very first event, after I spoke: a girl came up to me, with tears running down her face, and said she wishes she met me 3 years ago because this was something she really needed to hear. I would forever remember that moment and knew, with every fiber in my body, that the world needed an initiative like Project Reinvention.

After speaking at dozens of events every year, I made the decision the write my first book called 'Project Reinvention: The Social Timeline Of A Millennial' to help readers, who may not had the opportunity to attend my events, gain value from my experience.

This year, I launched a podcast show called 'Ride With Me' to provide the same value through audio format. We just wrapped up Episode 100!

Nothing makes my day more than receiving letters and messages from people who share how much my story and ideas have helped them. It is humbling and reminds me of the young Mahfuz that wishes he had this type of help during the most challenging years.

Reinvention isn't about becoming someone else. Reinvention is about becoming the best you."

To stay connected with Mahfuz and tune into his podcast, check out his Instagram @mahfuzc

Eva Redpath

Everyone, Meet Eva: 

Eva Redpath is a Wellness Leader and Co–Active Coach, a Founding Trainer at Barry's Bootcamp Canada, the host of [RE]set series and retreats, and last but not least - Canada's first Nike Master Trainer. 

Eva, you are an inspiration to those around you. You're a leader and a trailblazer, and a living, breathing example that you can accomplish anything you put your mind to. You are truly a Heroic Human....

Dana Clark

"My career started in the dance industry — a field built upon “not good enoughs” and reshaping people to fit a mould. While everyone else was trying to decide whether or not I was right for a part, I decided to create my own role. As I began to realize my purpose in teaching fitness, I set aside my performing career to focus on making a real impact in others’ lives

It’s so easy to give up, which is why so many people do. It’s human nature to stop chasing, to stop believing in our ability, and to undervalue our worth.

I see myself as a potentialist. Although not an actual word in the dictionary, it’s a word that best describes who I am.

I see you for your potential and can provide you with perspective. I see how you may inhibit your own progress, and how to prevent this from happening.

Given the opportunity, I can show you the power of movement and that you are always stronger than you think.

Let’s take the next step together.

DM me and say hello @evaredpath"

Leah Denbok

Everyone, meet Leah Denbok:

Leah is an 18-year-old photographer who lives in Collingwood, ON. For the past three years Leah has been traveling, with her dad, to cities throughout the world photographing the homeless and recording their stories. Leah, you truly are a Heroic Human...
You are my Heroes, 
Dana Clark

"For the past five years I have been mentored by Joel Sartore, a National Geographic photographer and Fellow. I first learned of Joel when I took his College-level course ‘Fundamentals of Photography’. Three years ago, with Joel’s encouragement, I began photographing, and recording the stories of people experiencing homelessness in cities throughout the world, such as Toronto, Hamilton, New York, and Brisbane. This past November the fruits of my labour were published in a book entitled Nowhere to Call Home—Photographs and Stories of the Homeless, Volume One. Volume two came out on July 10th, and volume three in December. With my books I am hoping to accomplish two goals: first, I am trying to humanize the homeless; and, second, I am attempting to shine a spotlight on the problem of homelessness. 

Last November CBC’s ‘The National’ aired a mini-documentary (11 min.) about me. Since then, I have been interviewed by media, not just in Canada, but around the world, including: Chatelaine, BBC News, the Toronto Star, Global News, Vancouver Life, Toronto Life, CBC’s ‘The Goods’, Corriere della Sera (the largest daily in Italy), CTV’S ‘Your Morning’, The Agenda With Steve Paikin, and 7Days (a newspaper in the Netherlands). Last September I spoke to 40,000 people at the WE Day and WE Family events at the Air Canada Centre, sharing the stage with such celebrities as Prince Harry, Hedley, and the former Secretary General to the UN. In November I attended the ART CRAWL NY after being personally invited by David Giffin, the event’s organizer, and the Executive Director of the Coalition for the Homeless. In April I was flown, all expenses paid, to the Women of the World festival in Brisbane, Australia, where I exhibited my photography, spoke, and did book signings."

Many of the above mentioned media interviews can be viewed on Leah’s website at:

Rock Your Bliss

Everyone, meet Jacki & Mary Beth

"We created Rock Your Bliss over five years ago out of desire to have more authentic, vulnerable conversations with women. We met years ago while working together and due to our raging egos we didn't hit it off right away. At all. Once we realized what was in the way we truly did the work to get closer and have been best friends ever since. Jacki is a goal coach and Mary Beth is a yoga teacher. We are actually both certified in life coaching and yoga teacher training and saw a major need to bridge the work on and off the mat, inviting the mind and the body into bliss-crafting as a practice for living. We offer retreats, workshops, online programs and even have a podcast. The conversations and transformations we've seen through this work have forever changed us and we can now call hundreds upon hundreds of women family who are a part of our community. We believe rocking your bliss and helping others to do the same is our life's work."

To stay connected with all the amazing things these ladies are up to, and to get to know these two Heroic Humans, visit their website!


Everyone, Meet Emily

This feature was brought to us by our Mental Health Ambassador Moriah. Moriah wanted to celebrate this very special person in her life... Emily!

"Emily Allen is a mother, entrepreneur, creative, and one amazing chef if I do say so myself! She resides in Lancaster, PA with her daughter Ellis and her partner Brad. What most people don’t know about Emily is that she has walked a long, hard road to get where she is today. On March 20th, 2005 Emily gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named Alivia Rachel. The journey to Alivia was a hard one but finally Emily was blessed with the baby she had prayed so hard for.

For the first year of Livi’s life everything was normal, but nothing could prepare Emily for the news she would receive after Livi’s one year check up. She was told that her precious baby girl had Leukemia and for the next 16 months Emily stood by her daughter as she received endless treatment to beat cancer. They spent the majority of Livi’s 2nd year of life living in Hershey Medical Center but in Emily’s words, she would do it over and over again just to be Livi’s momma. On June 6, 2007 Livi lost her fight to cancer and was taken home to be with God. Thousands of people gathered to celebrate Livi’s life. Emily created a blog after Livi’s diagnosis and it was followed by thousands of people all over the world.

Everyone rallied together to support Emily and Livi as best as they could but we could only imagine the long road ahead. I attended Livi’s celebration of life and at that time I was only 14 years old, but I remember sitting there wondering how on earth Emily was still standing after having to say goodbye to the little girl she had prayed for and waited so long to have.

Emily could have allowed this tragedy to break her but instead she started raising money to help find a cure for other babies battling leukemia and after being told she could no longer have children she made the most selfless decision to adopt a little baby boy named Griffin a few years later. Emily was his mother from the day he was born and she loved him with every ounce of her being. It didn’t take the pain away from losing Livi, but she kept standing and loved him as if she never experienced loss.

Sadly, on the last day the birth mother could change her mind, Emily received a call saying the birth mother wanted the baby back. So here Emily was, once again having to say goodbye to the second child she loved. Again, Emily could have allowed this to break her. She kept helping to find a cure for cancer and she continued to raise awareness in the community by sharing her story, all while fighting to overcome the loss she endured.

Emily met her partner in 2013 and since she was told she couldn’t have children, it was never on her radar. She accepted the path God had put her on and she kept pursuing creative endeavors and leaving her mark in the world.

In August 2016 Emily found out that she was pregnant. After all these years of having to endure motherhood without her babies by her side she was blessed with Ellis Loretta on April 17th, 2017. Ellis has big blue eyes like her momma and her big sister Livi and she has the most beautiful red hair. She reminds me of her big sister Livi every time I see her big smile. She lights up the room wherever she goes and makes friends with everyone. Ellie is a lot like her momma, full of joy, strong and loving to everyone she meets.

Emily by far embodies the values of a Heroic Human. When faced with tragedy she chooses to rise. She chooses to use her pain for good and help others fight for a cure so that they won’t have to walk the road she’s endured. You will never hear Emily complain about the journey she’s had, but instead she will be quick to share the amazing memories she has of her two babies she lost, and continues to encourage everyone around her. Emily is on the board of Fete En Blanc which is a committee in Lancaster, PA that hosts yearly events to raise money for charities. This goes to show how amazing Emily is and how big of a heart she has.

Emily; you my friend are my hero and although you have endured more pain than most, I admire your strength and your will to never give up. It takes a strong soul to keep choosing love after all of this and yet here you are. Thank you for impacting this world and for using your pain for good. You are not just a Heroic Human, you are a warrior and I am beyond proud to honor you today and every day!"


Everyone, meet Jenilee: 

I'm so excited to have Jenilee as a part of the Heroic Humans community. She is such an inspiration and truly lives as her truest and most authentic self and I find that to be so incredibly courageous. Jenilee is brave, resilient, and a true healer. Absolute Heroic Human...
You are my Heroes,
Dana Clark 

"I always knew I wanted to help people, that desire drove me to the root of why I think anyone wants to help others:

a deep-seeded need to help yourself and and an unconscious longing for self-love.

My desire to help others was motivated by how “un-helped” I felt by others and by myself. I went through all the years of school I needed to get certificates that said I was capable of helping others. I got a Bachelors degree in Psychology, at a school I was ostracized at for coming out as a Lesbian. Then I got my Masters degree in Social Work (MSW) and I was out in the field helping every population I could access.

Still at the end of the day I cried at my desk, feeling like I was never going to make the difference I wanted to make or actually feel fulfilled in my life, or feel seen for what I was actually good at. I also found myself very distracted by constant fears of betrayal and abandonment in my personal life.

I lost my father- the only person in my family who I felt truly seen by, months after graduating with my masters degree and had finally left the abusive relationship I chose to be in for almost a decade around that same time. My relationships with the rest of my family members were on the rocks and in need of healing.

I met my now husband, Aydian Dowling and he was the first person who I felt understood me and valued me for who I was at a soul level. He was different than what I was used to but when you spend so many years of your life settling for crumbs and someone hands you a whole pie it seems too good to be true. I found it difficult to trust that my life could be different and that I was worthy of being truly loved.

I clearly saw how I could potentially ruin my beautiful relationship if I didn’t figure out how to heal and let go of my past. I went to therapy and did some powerful emotional work but I still felt there was so much more I was holding onto from the past that was effecting my present life and that scared me.

I had always been really spiritual even though I dropped out of the catholic church after being judged for exploring my sexual identity. I realized I was a spiritual being with or without organized religion and

became very solitary and private in my spiritual practices. I dove into the study of energy medicine, and energy healing and learned how to connect with my own spirit through pendulum dowsing. I had never felt so empowered. I took classes to learn how to release the energy from my past and clear the trauma held in my subconscious mind through a spiritual healing modality called Spiritual Response Therapy (SRT).

This healing modality changed everything for me. It was the thing that was missing in my practice of helping people through Psychotherapy. I realized we are more than just thoughts and emotions, we are souls. I realized we are all unique souls with so much potential for fulfillment but we can allow the experiences of our past to hold us back from reaching that potential. I found that traditional psychotherapy doesn’t treat the whole person and that even when we do the work to process our emotions we can get stuck when we don’t also release the energy of where those emotions came from in the first place.

I started my own energy healing practice called Readings by Jenilee where I use all of my acquired skills and experience to help others by reading the energy of their past, tracing it back to the root cause, helping them to process it, release the energy that is keeping them stuck in it - so that they can come to a new place of awareness of how to consciously move forward into new belief systems, and new patterns of thinking and living.

This work feels easeful to me because I went through it myself and have seen the transformation that has occurred within me. Becoming my true, authentic self was a process of realizing how much I didn’t love my true self and doing the healing work to begin to love myself and forgive myself is a gift I would love to give to everyone. It also gave me the courage to want to be a mother and bring a human being into this world to witness, support and empower in reaching their own full potential.

I now offer healing sessions world-wide over skype and facetime with individuals and couples and also offer free group healing sessions focused on learning to love yourself weekly on Instagram LIVE @readingsbyjenilee called #transformationtuesdays"

Taisia Scobeleva

Taisia's story is incredible. Her courage, resilience and bravery in sharing her story and making a stand to help others is absolute heroism. Thank you to Taisia for everything you stand for and for making a difference. You truly are a Heroic Human...
You are my Heroes, 
Dana Clark 

Everyone, meet Taisia:

"My name is Taisia and I'm 22 years old. I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder at 20, but I've been living with it since I was about 12 years old. Growing up, I never really had anyone that I felt like I could relate to, or anyone that I felt comfortable sharing my feelings with. I felt like isolation and hiding my feelings were my only choice. Along with living with an undiagnosed mental illness in my teen years, I was also taken away from my family at the beginning of high school and placed into foster care. I was bounced around from home to home, eventually became homeless, and became addicted to several substances by 16. At my most vulnerable point, I became a victim of human trafficking right here in Toronto. I had dropped out of high school, turned to self-harm as a coping mechanism, and tried to take my own life. I remember feeling so lonely and misunderstood. Looking back, I realize how much I needed an outlet. I needed someone to hear my story and take me seriously. Unfortunately, I didn't have that. But I decided that I wanted to make it a possibility for others. I also decided that I wanted to share my story in hopes of helping people who may be going through something similar. I went from being a high school dropout to graduating college and going to university. I also work as a speaker for two organizations - YouthSpeak Performance Charity, and Aura Freedom International. I've spoken to organizations such as the Ministry of Child & Youth Services, the Department of Justice, United Way Toronto/York Region, and others. I'm the founder of The Borderline Project, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to providing innovative & stigma-free services to those with BPD. I started Above the Silence to let people know they aren't alone. Being able to relate to others and realizing that you're a part of something bigger can be enough to save someone's life. We all have a need to feel appreciated and understood, and the platform that I created is just one more way of encouraging that.

I found my purpose in not only sharing my story, but empowering others to share theirs. I think it's really powerful to see people find strength in being vulnerable. As a speaker, I know how hard it can be to get up on stage and share secrets with an audience full of strangers. But I also know how cathartic & healing it can be. I'm so happy to see Above the Silence turning into this supportive community of people who are incredibly strong & resilient. I can't wait to see where it goes from here!"

To stay updated on Taisia's incredible journey, follow her here: @abovethesilence

Sarah Maclachlan
& Kindness Warrior Clothing Co. 

Everyone, meet Sarah

This feature it near and dear to my heart. Sarah is a Heroic Human through and through and truly is an inspiration to those around her. She is a bright light, a beautiful source of energy, and one hell of a mentor and friend. Sarah, you are making such a difference in the world!
You are my Heroes,
Dana Clark

My name is Sarah Maclachlan, and I founded Kindness Warrior Clothing Co. because I was called to be a Warrior of Kindness, in every sense of the word.

The words Kindness Warrior came to me during many napping car rides with my twin daughters (sometimes the only way those suckers would sleep at the same time!). For my momma sanity, I would grab a tea, hit the road and ponder life.

I couldn't get those words out of my head.

I dreamed, I downloaded and most importantly I BELIEVED in these words and what they represented. It was who I have been all my life and more importantly who I wanted to be for my children and my wish for them to be in this world.

Suddenly, I dreamt of the flowy grey tanktop with gold lettering and went about making just one tank for myself cause I wanted to harness this powerful mantra each day when I put it on.

I cried when I saw the first logo that my dear friend Aislin designed and once again when I saw the first sample. I knew right then, this dream was bigger than me and the power of the wearable mantra was meant to be shared with those who want to be the good, see the good, DO MORE GOOD in the world.


So, what exactly is a Kindness Warrior, you ask?

She (or he) is a force of good in the world. We believe in the good. We see the good. We are the change we want to see in the world. I believe in the strong, powerful and resilient Warriors that are serving the world with compassion, integrity, love and grace.

And my intention was to create a high vibe clothing line for them to wear each day as a reminder of their strength, courage and ability to change the world. Together, we’ve created a positive and uplifting online community.

I know good exists because of the work of many beautiful Kindness Warriors around the world.

Through charity, in crisis and chaos, in community, sisterhood and in every day acts of kindness, compassion and empathy, we rise to the occasion and spread kindness like its our J.O.B.

My warriors give me hope for the future and for a brighter and peaceful world for our next generation.

And I want to spend the rest of my days, nourishing, celebrating, recharging and empowering our beautiful community of renegades. Since I started Kindness Warrior 1.5 years ago, it's a been a beautiful journey of building an online sisterhood, creating content that nourishes the soul and designing clothing that inspires women to serve with kindness, stand in their power and live each day as a Kindness Warrior."

Stay connected with all things Kindness Warrior related on her website and on Instagram at @kindnesswarrior

Hulya Durmaz

Everyone, meet Hulya: 

"I was born with a rare condition called Dysmelia, which meant that my legs were twisted and shorter than normal and my feet were missing toes. My left arm was also longer than my right and my hands were deformed. For much of my childhood in Hagen, Germany, I was in and out of the hospital while surgeons performed more than 20 operations on my legs and, eventually, metal frames were inserted to help hold the bones together. When they finally told me at age six that I'd be able to walk, I felt the sensation of the path beneath my feet for the first time. I felt like the world was my oyster. 

It look a lot of determination to learn to walk, but for the rest of my childhood I was able to live normally. I needed metal leg braces to help me get around, but there was nothing I couldn't do. In 2001, when I was 18, my world came to crashing down during a routine check-up on the metal frames inside my legs. "I'm so sorry", the doctor said. "You have blood poisoning. We're going to have to amputate both legs as soon as possible, otherwise you could die." I couldn't believe what I was hearing as he explained the area around some of the metal screws holding my bones together had become infected. I'd had a bit of pain in my legs, but it hadn't seemed like 

anything unusual and I had no other symptoms. I was only 18, and felt as if my future was being ripped away from me. I began crying, jumped up from my eat and ran out of the hospital, determined that I wasn't going to go through with the procedure. But I was caught by a group of nurses and my dad, who managed to talk me into it. Doctors explained that without the amputation, I was putting myself in an extremely dangerous situation. I agreed to the operation. I was admitted to the hospital and surgeons amputated both legs 20cm above the knee. It was my only option to survive. After a week, I was allowed to leave the bed in a wheelchair, and I knew it was time to face myself. Staring in the mirror at my new body and bandaged legs, I was surprised to find that I felt a sense of acceptance. "So this is what a legless woman looks like..." I laughed. 

From that point on, I coped by trying not to think about the future, but focus on healing."

Follow more of Hulya's story by following her here: @huelya_dennis

The Authentic Woman

Everyone, Meet Ashton:

"At the age of 13, I received a Victoria’s Secret magazine in the mail. I sat in my bright orange, funky bedroom, and flipped through the pages. Tall, tan, skinny, perfect. In that moment, beauty became a standard I had to live up to rather than an inherent trait I carried as a woman. It became an unattainable ideal that I had to fight, strive, and strain for constantly. After years of extreme body-insecurity, self-doubt, and striving, I finally decided to pick myself up, plant my feet in the ground, and rise. I embarked on the journey towards radical self-love, authenticity, and unapologetic, free living. I let go of the standards and finally chose to rest in my undeniable worth, value, and beauty.


As women, we often feel this pressure to fight for our worth, to prove our beauty, and to strive for our value. In all of the work I do, I spread the message that women are not only good enough as they are, but they are absolutely extraordinaryas they are. When we can get past the state of striving and comparing and start showing up unapologetically and authentically as ourselves, we create space to live in fulfillment and create tremendous positive change in the world.


The heartbeat of my work is this: As women, our inhale and exhale breathes fresh, beautiful life into hopeless places. Our dreams carry answers to the world’s complex problems. Our tender kindness eradicates hatred and makes room for love. Our minds hold great mysteries waiting to be uncovered. We are beauty at our core - in the brave acts of faith we display, the kindness in our eyes and the hope in our soul.


When women realize their true worth, beauty, value, and power, they are able to show up in a new, deeper, more profound way. But before we can reach that place, we have to know that who we are is not only enough, but extraordinary.

This is why I created The Authentic Woman - a platform that empowers women to live their freest fullest life. We help women fall in love with their body, pursue their wildest dreams, and change the world through their unique talents. We encourage women to shut out the noise and look within- the place where the answers have been all along. Our platform isn’t about telling women what they need to fix, but about awakening what is already within. Beauty, power, and worth are hardwired into our body. They flow through our veins. They are in our DNA. We simply have to acknowledge that and awaken to the tremendous beauty within.


So, if you take nothing else away from all of this, know that your worth is already proven evident. It is inherently yours. It is your birthright. There is nothing more you have to do, be, or achieve in order to be good enough. You already are."




Instagram: @theauthenticwomanseries

Personal Instagram: @ashton_m_long

Regan Smith &
The BakeRee 

Photo Credit: Candace Berry Photography

Everyone, Meet Regan: 

This feature reminds us that Heroism comes in all forms, big and small, and sure does make an impact coming from a seriously inspirational young lady named Regan. Regan, you're well on your way to making a difference in the lives of many. Keep up all of your amazing work! You truly are a Heroic Human...
You are my Heroes, 
Dana Clark 

"Regan Scott created The BakeRee out of a simple love of baking. This young lady is Durham Health certified and completed her Safe Food Handling certification all by age 12. Now, she’s in demand all over Durham Region and as far as downtown Toronto!

Regan, known to her baby sister (and staff taste tester) as “Ree”, tested out recipes for special diets for hours on end. Only the best gluten free, vegan, and even raw creations made The BakeRee cut. Regan has produced some of the tastiest cookies for special diets – her dairy free chocolate chip cookies are simply too good to be dairy free. Although she specializes in cookies, Regan says her banana loaves are also a huge hit not only at the farmer’s markets but also around Christmastime when her fresh baked goods are in high demand. In December, Regan prepared nearly 50 gift sets, made to order, for children gifting to their teachers. Another 50 gift sets went out for corporate client gifts. At only $20 a set, these gift sets come with a half dozen fresh cookies of choice, in a BakeRee customized mug, and cello wrapped with a gift tag ready to go. Word about this young entrepreneur’s tasty treats has spread as far as downtown Toronto – Regan has prepared platters for some blue chip companies’ corporate events, although she only smiles and blushes a little when I ask which companies. I ask her how she prepares such big orders and delivers them, and she looks to Dad, who only smiles.


Usually, Regan saves her earnings from The BakeRee sales for her education and donates a portion of proceeds to a charity close to her heart. This summer, Regan is donating proceeds from her sales at the UFM (Uxbridge Farmers Market) on Sunday, September 23 to the Toronto SickKids Hospital (SickKids Foundation). Regan remembers her experiences visiting SickKids as an outpatient. When Regan was born, a blood clot in her arm led her to be in care at SickKids for the first weeks of her life. When returning for check ups, she remembers being scared and nervous in the big hospital’s waiting rooms. Regan hopes to donate funds, with the support of her community, to provide fun activities and programmes for children in outpatient waiting rooms. She knows that play will make children’s experiences less scary and more fun while waiting to see their health team doctors.


Regan’s plans for The BakeRee include the fundraiser on September 23d at the UFM, where you can fill out a ballot to win a gift set. Regan explains that with competitive dance, swimming, school, and babysitting (yes, she’s also a certified babysitter) she has to balance her time very carefully. Regan will focus on fulfilling gift set and party platter orders for holidays rather than attending markets. With nearly 100 gift sets on order last year, I suggest getting in touch with The BakeRee today to get your orders in.


You can check out Regan and The BakeRee at on Instagram @TheBakeRee_ on Facebook @TheBakeReeCA or you can email her to place your order: Be sure to stop by the UFM on September 23 to support her in donating to SickKids Foundation - and buy some of this famous banana loaf you’ve already heard so much about!"

Ashley-Ann Pereira

Everyone, Meet Ashley-Ann


“What are you going to do in this world?” Said by a grandson of Nelson Mandela


The moment I heard these words, I knew that there was a bigger meaning to who I was, and what I am meant to do then I ever could have imagined. 


As a young girl, I was shy, introverted and had a deep passion to help others and leave a positive impact. Like many young teenagers and young adults, I struggled with self-confidence, my body image and my identity. One of my saving graces came in the form of mentors and books in they self-help industry. 



Hi! My name is Ashley-Ann and the best words to describe myself are: Entrepreneur. Writer. Philanthropist. Life Coach or Mentor. But I simply like to go by, storyteller.


At the age of 21, I realized that I was the creator of my future and ultimately, my life. This was the start of dedicating my life to giving back, making an impact and provide healing for others. But in order to be a source of healing for others, I had to heal myself. 




Writing is what healed me, it allowed me to express myself on paper rather than keep my thoughts, feelings and emotions locked inside. Today, I write to help heal anyone who is ready to be healed. I help women who feel stuck to discover solutions within my story so that they can heal and own their life. And that is why, “The Key to Happiness: A Journey to Embracing My Story” was written and turned into an online experience. 


“You have one life, live it intensely, and search profoundly for happiness.” Padre Fernando


So I ask you, “what makes you happy?”

Is it having a big house, lots of money, lots of friends, a fancy car, traveling, partying every weekend, the latest smartphone?

Well, what if you didn’t have all of these things? What would be your source of happiness?




My soul purpose if for you to realize that you are that source. 

You have that capability to be in a state of happiness at all times. 

Yes, there will be moments of sadness, frustration or anger. 

But ultimately, you are the source to your own happiness.

I remember when someone asked me who I love, I would never say me.

I remember when someone asked me if I was happy, deep down I knew I wasn’t.

I remember when someone complimented me, I would fight against that compliment. 


You see we spend so much of our life resisting our true self, and self-sabotaging our own happiness. That ends here. With the pain I’ve experienced I have created principles to happiness that you can apply to your own life and it’s all found in The Key to Happiness Online Experience.


With love,



Connect and stay updated with Ashley-Ann here: @ashleyannpereira

Landon McNee

Landon's story is one of perseverance, strength and bravery. His vulnerability and openness with his journey has only given inspiration and empowerment to those around him. Thank you for sharing, Landon, and for making a difference by telling your story. You truly are a Heroic Human...
You are my Heroes, 
Dana Clark 

“I was the so-called tomboy that pushed the gender roles of what a girl “should” do until it was no longer acceptable. At the age of thirteen, puberty hit, and I was stripped of whatever little comfort I had within my body. As my physical body changed, I was reminded of the XX chromosomes I was born with. My chest began to grow, and my menstrual cycle left me with not only streaks on my underwear but traumatic memories never leaving my existence. Society condemned my behavior; my body betrayed my mind and the mirror became a spot of absence. To go through an experience feeling out of place and hopeless led me to the point of never staying quiet.

Sharing my story began in 2015, I took a leap of faith and decided to upload a YouTube video with the title, “I AM TRANSGENDER”. I had been out to my close family and friends nearly two years prior and it was time to socially transition. It started as a way for me to get the word out about my name and pronoun change before the new school year arrived, but it soon progressed into a video blog of my physical and emotional transition along the way. Since then, it’s never ended. 

At the same time of my transition, I was faced with immense trauma that left me lost and shattered. My father passed away suddenly, my mother became emotionally absent, we lost our family home to foreclosure and I was battling an eating disorder. I refused to let my life struggles tear me down because for the first time in my life I had confidence within myself. My self-love led me to put in the work to lose nearly 100 pounds. The only thing that seemed to get me through it was staying present in psychotherapy. 

Today, at the age of eighteen, I’ve recognized that being authentic is what makes me have purpose in this world. Using the years of education and life experience I have, I’m working to become certified as a motivational speaker and life coach for those in the LGBTQ+ community. If me being myself empowers another to embrace their own identity than my vulnerability was all worth it. My mission is to show others that we’re all unique and our individual stories are what make us so incredibly human, so let’s use them to empower each other."

Stay updated with everything Landon is up to here: @landonmcnee 

Amreen Kadwa &
The Hijabi Ballers

Photo Credit @girlfirendsproject_

Hijabi Ballers: Celebrating Muslim Women in Sports

"I believe that wearing hijab while playing sports has given me adversity, confidence and strength on and off the field. For many women, wearing modest clothing along with a headscarf while taking part in sports is a physical and social challenge to overcome and we should celebrate those that have mastered it and encourage those who are struggling!

My inspiration to create this initiative comes from my own experiences as an athlete and an interest in creating opportunities for Muslim women, especially those from minority groups, to grow and realize their social and physical potential. Muslim women, like women of any other faith or race, have extraordinary abilities and talents. However, their abilities and accomplishments often get overlooked due to the piece of clothing covering their hair. I was often told that rugby was not to be played by women who wear hijab, that women who looked like me were better off in school or at home. Others saw barriers for me which were not there. However, I knew that my faith would not be weakened by playing sports. Growing up in Toronto has given me a chance to discover my passion and strengths in relation to rugby and an opportunity to pursue it, while wearing the hijab. Being Canadian should mean that we recognize our differences, celebrate it, and optimize on it to move forward and grow as individuals and as a society. 

Approximately 84% of the 1.3 million Canadian Muslims say that that being Muslim is very important to their identity (2011 National Household Survey). Preserving this identity should not mean that women and girls are deprived of opportunities to be part of their communities, particularly by taking part in sports and athletics. Involvement in sports and recreational activities is key to integration and social and economic participation, especially among newcomers. Let's acknowledge the fact that more than half of the Muslim women in Canada wear hijab or niqab in public (Survey of Muslims in Canada, 2016). It would be too many opportunities wasted, too much talent not recognized if these women were discouraged from pursuing sports and athletics. 

Hijabi Ballers holds events and programs aimed at celebrating and increasing the participation of Muslim women in sports. We have received numerous grants and awards allowing us to serve hundreds of Muslim females pursuing sports and athletic development opportunities in Toronto."

Stay updated with Hijabi Ballers on their website and on Instagram at @hijabiballers.

Blu Matter Project

by Linda Malone, Founder

In August of last year my little brother Michael committed suicide. We learned that he was suffering from Depression and Bipolar Disorder. He was undiagnosed. He was 24 years old. I spent the night at the hospital with him while he lay in a coma with my brothers and my parents by his side. He was pronounced dead at 8:10 AM on a sunny Monday morning. That night changed everything for each one of us. The choice he made on that hot summer evening to end his life has forever shifted the trajectory of my life and the lives of those who surrounded him.

That’s the part that seems obvious – that your life would change as a result of experiencing something as profoundly traumatic and devastatingly sad as suicide. What is less obvious and worth sharing is the story of how I have chosen to understand the choice he made because I cannot change what happened by being angry or sad. Instead, I have chosen to see the beauty, chance and possibility in his death. I am going to promote a powerful life for him because of those life altering things he taught me in the days, weeks and months following his death.

Michael struggled throughout the night on life support. My father and younger brother shifted through stages of traumatic shock and grief while my mother was in panicked transit en route from Montreal to Toronto. I spent much of that night sitting with him, talking to him, trying to help him feel loved in case any part of him was aware of what was happening. In fact, the doctors responsible for him that night encouraged me to do that, despite the fact that his motor skills were obviously inhibited by the damage to his brain. I felt, along with the doctors that there was a chance he might still hear and feel me. He stabilized over the course of the night but finally after over 6 hours of improved condition, at the moment when my mother arrived at the hospital, completing the attendance of all family members, he went into a massive cardiac arrest. A series of resuscitations took place, and 2 hours later he died.

I spent the last two hours lying beside him, struggling to find a balance between staying calm for him and managing devastating waves of grief. I imagined that if it was me lying there I would want to feel loved in the simplest most powerful sense and so I chose to focus on finding that place in the early hours of the morning, during the final hours of his life.

This is in fact the beginning of the story of Michael’s life in many ways. Since I have begun sharing his story a number of people have been affected by it. For example, a work colleague who I have known for years had never told anyone that his younger brother, the same age as Michael, also suffered from Depression and Bipolar Disorder. When I told him the story of my brother, he asked me: “what should I do, how can I stop my brother from doing the same thing?”

I am often questioned about what I could have done or should have done in order to stop him from making the same choice that night. I actually never struggled with the guilt of being unable to stop him, what I struggle with most is that I did not know that he was in pain. I felt by not recognizing the signs, I had no idea what he was struggling with. If could choose to go back in time it would be so that I could tell him two things: that I was so sorry he suffered alone and that I would try to separate his personality and the choices from the mental illness he suffered from.

I wish that I had been more compassionate, more present and more supportive and not as judgmental, critical, busy, and impatient to be able to see that he needed help.

This could remain a sad story. However, early on in this experience I chose to see that in fact we were, all of us directly and indirectly involved, given a beautiful gift – the gift of perspective. When I told my friend my story, he left the following weekend to visit his little brother – and he told him everything that I wished I had the chance to tell Michael. From that point on he credits Michael’s story with why they have a different and a healthy relationship. My friend now treats his brother with a greater level of compassion and empathy and his brother feels supported and understood in a deeper way.

This is why I have to tell his story. So that it impacts those who hear it and inspires all of us to make the direct choice to be more compassionate and present with those who need us. This is the gift he gave me and I am choosing to respect the choice he made and to create a better world in the process.


We firmly believe in the research that suggests a correlation between an increased sense of well-being and a regular yoga practice. Our goal is to help those living with a mental illness discover this shift for themselves by offering regular yoga classes through our partnering studio at no cost.

We exist because we believe yoga may allow some to find a sense of peace inside the struggle of mental illness. We will help as many people as we can discover the power of yoga by connecting them with some of the most amazing studios Toronto has to offer.

Intellectually supported by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and empowered by generous donations and long term financial partners, Blu Matter Project is an innovative not-for-profit organization that provides qualified applicants with the opportunity to discover the benefits yoga without the financial burden.


Blu Matter Project is currently expanding. This 2018 we have created a partnership with Lululemon "The Local" on Ossignton. 50% of the profits from each purchase at The Local go towards the support of Blu Matter and building a bigger team. Currently Blu Matter is only running out of the "Iam Yoga" studio, while next year we will be expanding our program to 5 other studios in the Toronto GTA. This means more free yoga, and mental health by yoga access will be readily available for participants who have been previously waitlisted. It also means easier access, as the studios chosen will be spread out across the GTA for ease of transit. 


Blu Matter Project is a not-for-profit organization that operates as the liaison between Ambassador Studios and those living with Anxiety, Depression and/or Bipolar Disorder. We provide our recipients with the opportunity to practice at a partnering yoga studio free of charge for a year.  

Our vision is to generate a stigma-free conversation about the lived realities of mental illness, creating a non-judgmental, global support network. We are committed to providing tangible solutions by way of monthly workshops to those living with mental illnesses. We hopwe to create a global conversation about the real-life experiences of mental health for all parties involved.    

To learn more about Blu Matter Project and to get involved, visit their website

Sabrina Gajadhar

Sabrina founded A Brown Girl Company to celebrate diversity and to bring advocacy and awareness to mental health. She holds pace for people to share their stories and journeys, and features people to share vulnerabilities, successes and challenges. Sabrina, you truly are a Heroic Human...
You are my Heroes, 
Dana Clark 

"I was inspired to start this company because I realized that life is too short to not be represented and to not have a voice. In june 2017, I was diagnosed with depression right after I tried to take my own life. As you can imagine, it was a terrible time. I felt like my life was over. I slept all day everyday because my one and only wish was to not be here anymore. Fast forward to August 2018 - a year and two months after my diagnosis - I'm running my own brown girl empowerment line, which has gotten incredible feedback from around the world. I made it my mission to show people that they too can turn something as bad as depression into something good. It’s okay to not be okay and I want everyone to know that when they come across my page. 

In the past, I've looked up "brown girl empowerment" and had no luck. Therefore, I decided to make my own. I want brown girls to know they aren't alone. Society never really talks about brown women, and I wanted to let them know that their voice will be heard. I want them to see my products and say "hey, that looks like me!". I will do everything I can to give brown women a voice because we deserve it. We need to stick together, and stay strong. Everything gets better. We are strong, powerful, talented and beautiful just like all the other women out there, and that is simply what this line is intended to represent. Something beautiful can come out of even the ugliest of situations and I need people to know that it really does get better no matter what situation they are in."

To follow along on Sabrina's journey, follow @abrowngirlcompany 

Analyn Brook

Everyone, Meet Analyn

Jackie Dives

Katie Bowen Photography

Katie Bowen Photography

I want to take a second to acknowledge how amazing Analyn is. She is the epitome of womanhood, strength, vulnerability and courage. In sharing her personal story with cancer, motherhood, amputation and postpartum - Analyn has inspired others to share their journeys and to open up about the difficulties, and the joys of diversity and humanity. Analyn, you truly are a Heroic Human...
You are my Heroes, 
Dana Clark 

"Creating this space and figuring out what it even was and what I wanted from it has taken a lot of time and has evolved. It honestly continues to evolve as I learn more about myself. 

This actually started as a business page for my doula business. I have had a passion for teaching, pregnancy and birth for a long time and turned that into a job I love. As my business was new, I was working hard to grow it. I spent countless hours working on my original website ( which I still have) and IG. When I sat down to work on my IG I decided I would do daily post with each day dedicated to a specific topic. IE Monday would be birth, Tuesday postpartum, Wednesday breastfeeding, etc. On the day I do a postpartum post I wanted to show raw, natural postpartum bodies. I spent time pinteresting and googling "postpartum bodies" and what I kept finding was articles on how to "bounce back" and diet plans, work out plans etc. I was so frustrated that nothing at my finger tips showed the beauty in the natural postpartum body. When I looked deeper and finally found the images, images of saggy bellies and stretch marks, something hit me. There was an absence in women with scars and disabilities being represented. Where were the beautiful pictures showing that women with amputations, and in wheelchairs, and with scars were also mothers? I realized if I wanted to see this I would have to make it myself. I got down to my underwear and showed myself - scars, amputation and all. I wanted to show that women with disabilities are beautiful and desired and mothers. That picture took off, and I really wasn't expecting it to have the impact it did. It was then that I realized I needed to inject more of myself and my stories into my business page. A few months later when I was diagnosed with cancer again - this time, it was breast cancer. As a breastfeeding mom I knew I wanted to document what I was going through. I changed the name of my business page and moved to telling my story. Being diagnosed with cancer as a mother absolutely shattered me. Being diagnosed a few weeks before my 18 year remission day, it knocked the air out of me. I wanted to tell that story. I wanted to connect with others like me that understood without saying a word. 

At first I was documenting things as they came up. It wasn't until after I stood in the street topless and I was driving home that I thought about what it is I really wanted to wanted to say. I've learned a lot on what it really means to have cancer more than once, what it really means to live with an amputation, and what life after cancer really looks like. 

My mission with my blog and social media is to bring an understanding to people, cancer and disabilities. That we are beautiful and we are valuable and that we aren't defined by what's seen on the outside. Mostly though, I do this for my children. I want them to connect with others, to ask questions, to value similarities and differences and most of all to have the confidence to live the lives they want and to be exactly who they are."

Follow Analyn's powerful story on Instagram @cancer_and_the_doula and follow her blog! 

Sophie Sandberg
X Catcalls of NYC

Sophie is addressing an issue that people experience day-to-day all over the world. Her rewarding work gives people the space to share their stories and bring awareness to varying experiences of harassment. Sophie, you truly are a Heroic Human...
You are my Heroes, 
Dana Clark

"I was inspired to share my story with you because Catcalls of NYC is about building community and engaging new people. The Instagram account is made possible by followers who submit their stories of harassment in the New York City area. I then share their stories by writing them on the sidewalk in chalk in the spot where they originally happened and posting them on Instagram. My goal is to raise awareness about catcalling-- an issue that is often belittled, ignored or considered “just words.” By sharing these stories I provide people with a community of support and make them feel less alone. By writing the comments in chalk on the sidewalk I force the public to pay attention to these words that are being said to women on a daily basis.

For me, this account has always been personal. I grew up in New York City and catcalling was (unfortunately) a part of my transition to adulthood. When it started happening, I didn’t understand what was going on. At age 15, I felt uncomfortable when men would talk to me. Comments like “hello beautiful” and “sexy” made me extremely self conscious walking down the street. Sometimes I would avert my eyes, look down at my phone or even cross the street if I saw a man walking towards me.

What originally made me feel uncomfortable soon made me very angry. Why was this behavior allowed in public? Why was my experience as a young girl in NYC so drastically different from those of my male friends? Why did I have to think about what I could wear so as not to provoke unwanted attention? Even as I recognized how problematic this behavior was, I never felt comfortable responding 

to men who catcalled me. Their words silenced me. I started Catcalls of NYC as my way of speaking back. Rather than saying something in the moment, which I was too afraid to do, I could do something after the fact. I could use my story for good and offer others a platform to share their stories too. Furthermore, by raising awareness I could challenge the culture that normalizes street harassment and eventually change it.

I highlight intersectionality on my account because feminism is nothing without intersectionality. For me, this means recognizing the different aspects of peoples' identities and how they contribute to their experiences of harassment. In this way, the account is an educational platform for people to learn about the different types of street harassment diverse people in NYC face.

Overall, this work is extremely rewarding. People often thank me for giving them a space to share their stories. Sometimes I’m the first person they’ve told and it’s a relief for them to not carry the burden alone. People who haven’t experienced harassment have also thanked me for shedding light on this topic. One man told me that because of my account he’s become more aware of how his own behavior may make someone uncomfortable. He feels that he’s becoming a better ally. It’s gratifying to help other victims of street harassment by giving them a voice. I'm thrilled that by reaching new people with this message I can change minds and embolden people to tackle this pervasive behaviour."

Follow Sophie's initiative on Instagram: @catcallsofnyc


Teens Take Charge is a student-led coalition committed to raising students’ voices for educational equity  in New York City. The coalition is part of The Bell, an organization that uses media, testimony, and events to shift more power in education policy to the students affected by it. This student-led movement is taking the future of schools and education into their own hands. To the entire Teens Take Charge team;

 you truly are Heroic Humans...

You are my Heroes,
Dana Clark

Student Leaders Speak Out Against Segregation in NYC schools

"Teens Take Charge was born around April 2017 with the first student performances, 

To Whom It May Concern,

 in the Bronx Public Library. Whitney Stephenson and Nelson Luna are the co-founders of the coalition but along with other peers, they came up with the name: Teens Take Charge. Whitney and Nelson have both graduated this past week from Democracy Prep Charter School. Both will attend college this fall with Whitney attending Mount Holyoke College and Nelson attending Columbia University.

After April 2017, Teens Take Charge had its second event on November 2017 at the Schomburg Center. By early 2018, the coalition opened its platform not only for students to share their stories, but to have the opportunity to become involved with policy. The third event on March 2018, We Regret To Inform You, featured not only performances but Teens Take Charge's proposals to the Department of Education. On May 17th, the anniversary of Brown vs Board of Education, Teens Take Charge invited policymakers and politicians to visit high schools from all over the city. Today, the work of TTC involves working with policymakers and having students at the table when it comes to public schools."

Whitney Stephenson
A co-founder of TTC

" I felt like a number and a passing rate within a system I never realized I had the power to change. A system where my individuality wasn’t something nourished. However, Teens Take Charge allowed me to see that change is not impossible if we act on it. It is an organization where change can be made when teens take control of their education. From public testimonies of letters and spoken word poetry, Teens Take Charge has allowed a platform for different forms of youth voice. It has been an outlet that allowed me and many youths to realize that our voice matters, and it’s packed with a powerful force of change."
Learn more about Teens Take Charge at and, and follow them on Instagram @teenstakechargenyc

Everyone, Meet Emma:

I had the privilege of working with Emma at one of my staff meetings put on by Lululemon. Emma led us through a meditation, and a painting session which we were then inspired to create art that encompasses our goals. I can speak for my whole team in saying that this was the highlight of our day! Emma was so open and vulnerable about her journey with Mental Health and provided a sense of comfort and inspiration throughout our entire session with her. Emma, you truly are a Heroic Human...
You are my Heroes, 
Dana Clark 

"How beautiful it is to find peace within yourself. To understand there is no good or bad, right or wrong. To love yourself, Flaws and all. To wake up happy and confident ready to face the day. To welcome mistakes, so you can learn and grow. To become a better version of yourself, every day. To truly understand who you are, connect to thyself and embrace your weirdness. To be guided by controlled emotional states and to not let any outside influcence effect who you are. Just be you and love every moment. " - a quote from my book "It's Going to Be a Really Good Day" 

and thats exactly how I wanted to live, healing myself from the inside through re-directing, re-discovering and re-connecting to my energy. I was diagnosed with bipolar 

and instead of choosing it to be a weakness, I used it as a the strength for my foundation to which I built my drug-free, self-supportive life with my creativity guiding me! 

I've always believed if you have the power to see change within yourself and the courage to act on it then not sharing it would be a waste. Thats why I decided to connect others with my art. I want to awaken EVERYONE to the most definite possibility to another side within and around them. The simplicity of my art is to capture others to find their own way to CHOOSE for their own lives, to be courageous, vulnerable and brave with yourself. 

I think, believe, and know it is time to evolve as humans on many levels and through painting, writing and my own self learning path I hope that it will spark others to do the same!

Difference is where we seperate and as an individual who explores creativity, difference is where the connection starts. Be yourself for you, because YOU ARE YOU 👊🏻 

Lot's of love,


Oh and always remember its going to be a good day! 

Follow Emma's journey on Instagram @_emmapink

Nicole Marques

Everyone, Meet Nicole

Nicole's battle with Crohn's Disease is one hell of a fight. She is a determined wife, mother and a voice for those fighting with this disease. She is an inspiration, and a body of strength for anyone suffering worldwide, and especially in her community. Nicole, you are not alone. You are truly a Heroic Human...
You are my Heroes,
Dana Clark 

"I am a Crohnie. I have Crohn’s Disease. I have been battling this illness since 2004 and I continue to battle until a cure is found. I, unfortunately, don’t battle for me, though I’m working on the whole self love piece. I, instead, battle for my family. I do not want to give up the fight because of my husband and my children. I want to be around for them. I want to be the best mom and wife I can be – physically, mentally, and emotionally. I've always had it in me to write, to express my feelings, my emotions in regards to living with this HORRIBLE, incurable disease. Everyone who lives with Crohn's Disease experiences it differently. Different symptoms, different triggers, different medications, different saving graces. I wanted to share my experience, my journey with you.



Through my blog and social media accounts, I have met some incredible fighters. Particularly a non-profit group called Our Wings to Fight. In 2017 I was approached by the chair of this committee to speak at their annual gala, where they raise money for Crohn’s and Colitis Research at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. 

I have since joined their committee and I continue my volunteer work and my push to find a cure, spread awareness and support everyone impacted by this illness."

To take part in Nicole's journey, follow her on Instagram @marriedtocrohns 


Sarah Joyce

Everyone, Meet Sarah:

I want to acknowledge Sarah for the ways that she shows up for the world. This woman has undergone incredibly difficult circumstances, and continues to shine light and positivity in every situation presented to her. Her determination, vulnerability and strength through her journey has been changing the lives of the people around her, and she is an absolute inspiration. Sarah, you truly are a Heroic Human...
You are my Heroes, 
Dana Clark

In August 2016, at age 30, I had reached the peak of my career. I landed my dream job travelling around Australia for work in aged care. I was happy. I was independent. My life was turned upside in a matter of hours. I was staring death in the face and the fight was only just beginning. 

When tragedy struck I thought I only had a bad bout of the flu and when I rapidly worsened I was taken to emergency at the hospital.

When Dr’s realised this could be Meningococcal Disease, I was placed in an induced coma and was on life support for 8 days when they got the confirmation that is was in fact meningococcal septicaemia, the W strain, the most deadly and usually kills within hours. During this time my family was told I wasn’t expected to survive and were told to say good bye to me multiple times. After 8 days I surprised everyone by waking up.  I soon realised just how much strength I needed and had no choice but to fight. 

Using everything I had, I continued to fight whilst having several fingers and toes amputated, the loss of four major organs and requiring a kidney transplant. I have had 20 operations in 18 months, and have had to go back on life support 4 times. I literally had to rebuild my body, and I continue to do so. I am dependent on dialysis three times a week in order to survive until I receive a kidney transplant. 


Yes, I used to think I had done something wrong. Am I being punished for something? What did I do to deserve this? As the hits continue to keep coming, I now know this horrid thing called Meningococcal didn’t kill me for a reason - although it continues to try even 18 months on! The reason being? To help stop this from happening to other people. To potentially save lives. To use my strength and willpower to fight and show others what this disease can do to you. 

You don’t know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.  I have been blessed with amazing family and friends who have been by my side every step of the way. During the tears, tantrums and milestones. If you don’t have a support network it can be a very lonely and empty experience which makes you question the littlest of things. Am I good enough? Why should I go on? What’s the point?  My life has completely changed. I feel my life is now richer in ways as I appreciate living a whole lot more. I want people to know that if you find your inner strength you can fight. You can turn negatives into positives. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Talk to others, be bold. Be brave.

I am now a proud public speaker to share my story and help to motivate others in challenges they may be facing in which we have no control over. In addition to this I am a director of a not for profit organisation called The Violet Foundation in which we support those affected by Meningococcal Disease and raise awareness of the disease."

Eva Redpath

Everyone meet Eva:

Eva Redpath is a Wellness Leader and Co–Active Coach, a Founding Trainer at Barry's Bootcamp Canada, the host of [RE]set series and retreats, and last but not least - Canada's first Nike Master Trainer. 

Eva, you are an inspiration to those around you. You're a leader and a trailblazer, and a living, breathing example that you can accomplish anything you put your mind to. You are truly a Heroic Human....

Dana Clark

"My career started in the dance industry — a field built upon “not good enoughs” and reshaping people to fit a mould. While everyone else was trying to decide whether or not I was right for a part, I decided to create my own role. As I began to realize my purpose in teaching fitness, I set aside my performing career to focus on making a real impact in others’ lives

It’s so easy to give up, which is why so many people do. It’s human nature to stop chasing, to stop believing in our ability, and to undervalue our worth.

I see myself as a potentialist. Although not an actual word in the dictionary, it’s a word that best describes who I am.

I see you for your potential and can provide you with perspective. I see how you may inhibit your own progress, and how to prevent this from happening.

Given the opportunity, I can show you the power of movement and that you are always stronger than you think.

Let’s take the next step together.

DM me and say hello @evaredpath"

You can also check out Eva's [RE]set series and retreats at @reset.series

Leah Denbok

Everyone, meet Leah Denbok:

Leah is an 18-year-old photographer who lives in Collingwood, ON. For the past three years Leah has been traveling, with her dad, to cities throughout the world photographing the homeless and recording their stories. Leah, you truly are a Heroic Human...
You are my Heroes, 
Dana Clark

"For the past five years I have been mentored by Joel Sartore, a National Geographic photographer and Fellow. I first learned of Joel when I took his College-level course ‘Fundamentals of Photography’. Three years ago, with Joel’s encouragement, I began photographing, and recording the stories of people experiencing homelessness in cities throughout the world, such as Toronto, Hamilton, New York, and Brisbane. This past November the fruits of my labour were published in a book entitled Nowhere to Call Home—Photographs and Stories of the Homeless, Volume One. Volume two came out on July 10th, and volume three in December. With my books I am hoping to accomplish two goals: first, I am trying to humanize the homeless; and, second, I am attempting to shine a spotlight on the problem of homelessness. 

Last November CBC’s ‘The National’ aired a mini-documentary (11 min.) about me. Since then, I have been interviewed by media, not just in Canada, but around the world, including: Chatelaine, BBC News, the Toronto Star, Global News, Vancouver Life, Toronto Life, CBC’s ‘The Goods’, Corriere della Sera (the largest daily in Italy), CTV’S ‘Your Morning’, The Agenda With Steve Paikin, and 7Days (a newspaper in the Netherlands). Last September I spoke to 40,000 people at the WE Day and WE Family events at the Air Canada Centre, sharing the stage with such celebrities as Prince Harry, Hedley, and the former Secretary General to the UN. In November I attended the ART CRAWL NY after being personally invited by David Giffin, the event’s organizer, and the Executive Director of the Coalition for the Homeless. In April I was flown, all expenses paid, to the Women of the World festival in Brisbane, Australia, where I exhibited my photography, spoke, and did book signings."


Heroic Humans is a social impact movement that provides a gathering space for inspiration, celebration and empowerment. We aim to foster connections among heroic people and groups, helping to establish a broader reach and more profound influence on their individual communities. We care about authentic connections and the power behind all people and passions. Let’s join forces and recognize those who make a difference.



Heroism comes in all forms. Whether it’s someone who lights you up, inspires you or others, or pours your favorite cup of coffee; everyone has their own story to tell and a life to change.

With your help, we can uncover raw emotion and vulnerability, overcome adverse conditions, and applaud human empowerment in all its forms.

Submit your Heroic Human and share their impact with us. We’d love to get to know them!