SHANNON CLEARY

Shannon Cleary is a freelance writer based in Calgary, AB.

On Trial — Everything you need to know about participating in research

Two years ago, Joanne McGrath’s father sent her an article on dementia. The piece profiled University of Calgary researcher Dr. Marc Poulin and his study, “Brain in Motion I.” Its objective was to assess the effects of exercise on brain health, including cerebrovascular and cognitive functions with the help of research participants. At the time, McGrath’s mother was living with dementia, and her father was his wife’s primary caregiver. McGrath clicked on a link at the bottom of the article, curious about participating in the study. For one, McGrath met the criteria: she was between the ages of 50 and 80, and, due to the diagnosis of a first-degree relative, she was at increased risk of developing dementia. Two, the study meant engaging in a more physically active lifestyle. Who wouldn’t benefit from becoming more physically active? And three, well, it was for a greater good. “My mom has dementia, research is the key, so let’s sign up,” she thought.

Improving Patient Experience

Michael Civitella, executive director of operations and facility development for the new Calgary Cancer Centre, looks back on his distinguished career in health-care administration Michael Civitella began his path toward patient care at a hospital in his hometown of Montreal. In the summers between undergraduate semesters at McGill University, a young Civitella moved from one seemingly unrelated post at that hospital to another — a stint as an orderly, a job in the x-ray department, physiotherapy, the kitchen, maintenance and many others.

Encouraging Intimacy

Sexual changes related to cancer treatment are common. In fact, research shows that sexual health challenges are one of the most distressing and longest-lasting side effects of cancer treatment. Nevertheless, Kelsey Kenway, an occupational therapist at the Central Alberta Cancer Centre (CACC) in Red Deer, says she often hears the following words from people who have undergone cancer treatment and are struggling with sexual health: “I should just be thankful to be alive.”

The Power of Performance

In performing arts, the boundary between the stage and the audience is known as “the fourth wall.” Breaking this boundary is typically considered a no-no. There are exceptions, of course — Annie Hall, Fight Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off — but conventionally, the audience and the performers exist in two separate realities; only one of which, the audience, knows that the other is there. Despite this boundary, it’s the performer’s job to engage the audience by telling a story, teaching a lesson, making us laugh, making us cry. That’s the power of good theatre and film: it influences our thoughts, our emotions and, perhaps, our actions.

How to Plan a Birthday Party After a Separation

Marriage comes with all sorts of milestones: Anniversaries, vacations, kids. Similarly, separating from your spouse brings its own set of milestones: Finding your own place, filing for divorce, and for some, figuring out all the ‘firsts’ that now come with co-parenting. One of the most important co-parenting firsts is successfully navigating your child’s birthday party with an ex. How do you keep it all together for the sake of keeping it all about the kids?

The Dos and Don'ts of Fundraising With Your Kids

You’ve paid the program fees and written those post-dated cheques. But now comes those pesky papers home: it’s time to fundraise! Whether your school needs a new playground or your daughter’s hockey team needs new goalie equipment, parents are under a lot of pressure to contribute their time, energy, and money to fundraising. Here are some helpful things to consider when making those fundraising asks.
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