The following people blog for us regularly. If you are interested in becoming a blogger, contact gillianATsci-can.ca. You can provide a one-time submission or talk to us about being a regular contributor.
Bill is presently the Executive Director of Spinal Cord Injury Canada. Bill has extensive professional and community leadership experience in the areas of healthcare and disability. Bill’s career in the non-profit and public sectors employs collaborative and principled leadership that inspires all involved to achieve extraordinary results.
Most recently, Bill has devoted his leadership and expertise to the Government of Canada through the Canadian Access and Inclusion Project; the Federal Accessibility Legislation Alliance; the Working Group on Alternate Format Materials; the advisory group to the Canadian Human Rights Commission on compliance with the CRPD/Optional Protocol, and to the Parliamentary Precinct Accessibility Advisory Panel. Bill also led the committee that developed recommendations for the Government of Canada’s Accessibility Communications policy. He is a member of the Accessibility Standards Canada Board of Directors. He is also a member of the Disability Advisory Group to Canada’s Minister Responsible for Disability Inclusion.
In his past work, Bill was the National Patient Services Director at the Canadian Cancer Society for 13 years. In this role, he created a strategic plan to coordinate cancer control efforts throughout Canada. He was the first Executive Director of Wellspring, a psycho-social support centre in Toronto for people living with cancer. He participated on an international panel to evaluate the first five years of Europe Against Cancer. He was the CEO of Spinal Cord Injury Ontario for 23 years, increasing its budget from $2 million to over $10 million during his tenure. Bill is also a founding member of the Canadian Disability Policy Alliance, the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation, Candlelighters Canada and the Dorothy Ley Hospice.
Bill has a Bachelor of Science (University of Minnesota) and is a graduate of the Executive Leadership Course on the Management of Non-Profit Organizations (Harvard University). He received a Meritorious Service Medal from the Government of Canada in 2016.
Bill fell off a horse when he was 11, and he has a paralyzed arm as a result.
Lisa Bendall has been writing for many of Canada's top magazines and their websites for the past 20 years, often focusing on health topics. Her work has been recognized by the National Magazine Awards Foundation and the Professional Writers Association of Canada, among others. Lisa was managing editor of Abilities magazine for over a decade and is the author of two guidebooks for people with disabilities (Key Porter Books, 2006 and 2008).
For 25 years, Lisa was married to disability leader Ian Parker, until his passing in 2021. Together they navigated many of the challenges of aging with a spinal cord injury, while also sharing life’s joys, including raising a wonderful daughter together. Lisa lives in Toronto.
Jennifer Coughlin is a disabled artist living in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. As someone who has lived with quadriplegia for 25 years, Jennifer uses her experience to advocate for the disabled community on issues such as accessibly and income equality.
Kayley Lawrenz is a 25-year-old undergraduate psychology student at the University of Saskatchewan. Kayley identifies as a cisgender woman with she/her pronouns. She is a public speaker, research assistant, blogger for Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Canada and aspires to become a clinical psychologist. She also volunteers for an organization dedicated to helping those who have experienced trauma and sexual assault, and as a peer mentor for people with new SCIs. A few of her accomplishments include awards for her public speaking, being asked to lead her own research study, and earning high enough grades to apply for honours in university. Kayley has been living with a C6 cervical SCI since the age of 16 and has a wide range of knowledge and experience regarding life with a disability. She has a passion for sharing her education and amplifying her voice, and others, to increase awareness and education on social issues for the betterment and equity of those most marginalized in society. Outside of work, she loves to do puzzles, play games, train with her adorable dog and go on adventures with family and friends. Education, psychology, public speaking, and equity are her main passions in life.
Kevin has surmounted incredible life challenges to reach the Olympic podium and now brings his powerful message of hope and resilience to audiences through his speaking, writing, and coaching.
A freestyle motocross accident left Kevin an incomplete paraplegic, and he was told by doctors he would likely never walk again. His father, Gerry, was also paralyzed just four years prior in a hunting accident and had no chance of recovery.
Kevin was fortunate. With a little bit of luck and an extreme amount of determination, he willed himself to move one toe, then another, and another until - eventually - he not only walked again but was able to become one of Canada’s best Paralympic athletes earning a Bronze medal at the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi, Russia.
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Dave is a barrister and solicitor in Thunder Bay, Ont. He sustained an SCI when he was 18, in first-year university. He was in a rugby scrum and broke his neck. Ever since his injury, he has lived with quadriplegia. Full with the purpose to live a rich, meaningful life, Dave has accomplished more than most people. He has crossed Canada by the power of his wheelchair — coast to coast. He's jumped out of an airplane at over 25,000 feet. He trekked to the North Pole and planted an accessible parking sign. He has written a book, performed in plays and on TV. He received his Master's degree from the London School of Economics. He has been a Human Rights Commissioner. And he is an Order of Ontario and Order of Canada recipient.
Kendra Todd is a Ph.D. student at the University of British Columbia. Her research focuses on understanding the interrelationships between neuropathic pain, exercise, and well-being among people living with a spinal cord injury. Kendra has been fortunate to be able to present her work at many conferences around the world. To ensure that her work is informed by people with lived SCI experience, Kendra has engaged with people living with SCI-neuropathic pain throughout all of her studies. She firmly believes in the mantra ‘nothing about us, without us.’
Over the years, Kendra has been involved with the Canadian Access and Inclusion Project and the Federal Accessibility Legislation Alliance. Here, she worked with many disability organizations from across Canada to provide recommendations for the Accessible Canada Act. Kendra is also heavily involved in the sport of wheelchair rugby. She is the Okanagan Rattlers Wheelchair Rugby Association president and the head coach of Team BC’s development wheelchair rugby team.
Kendra received her Bachelor of Science (Human Kinetics) from the University of Guelph and her Masters of Science from the University of British Columbia. If you can’t find Kendra working at her computer, in the lab, or at a wheelchair rugby court, you will likely find her seeking out new adaptive mountain bike trails or running with her dog, Panther.