What were you like as a child - as a teen?
Can you share something of your journey to needing to use a wheelchair?
As much as I joke about having held up an octogenarian for their wheels, unfortunately my change in view came about as result of a car accident. There was a young lady who had a lot of unknown issues and I happened to be driving with her. Don't drink and drive kids.
What is your current job?
I am the President of EcoCentury Technologies Inc., which is a small clean tech company. We know industry will continue, so EcoCentury tries to provide alternatives to progress in a smarter way that have less impact on our environments. I also do small business development and event planning on the side, it seems many solutions for small businesses are often event-based so they go hand in hand.
Bathrooms and curbcuts. It astonishes me that many streets still lack curbcuts. However the city budget for replacement and repair is so small that apparently it will take 320 years to complete them all (that number from the City Streets and Electrical's office). Completely absurd. Bathrooms are just plain silly, half the time if they flipped the door so it opened outward rather than in the bathroom in question could be accessible. There are often very simple and inexpensive "fixes" to accomplish wheelchair accessibility, and if anyone would like me to consult on such, free of charge, I would be happy to do so. (I should mention I have a background in construction, dating as far back as my father putting me to work on the jobsite when I was naughty).
Elevate and Celebrate sounds like an amazing fundraiser. Talk about the journey that led you to create this event.
Frustration and opportunity were the two triggers to this particular event. My lovely friend, fashion designer Maryam Asgari, wished me to plan her a fashion show at Hycroft. The University Women's Club meanwhile had brought me onto their Access Committee where a group of dedicated nurses, Occupational Therapists, and Physical Therapists had been trying to rectify the problem of inaccessibility of Hycroft for years. They had been turned down for most grants except for a small one recently that gifted them $40K from the Minister of State for Seniors to upgrade existing ramps and such. I thought that while we were waiting to apply for more grants that may never come, we should move ahead and raise the funds in the best way. Through celebration. As I never do anything by half measures I thought I would give Maryam the biggest fashion show I could, and Hycroft the most amazing fundraiser.
Exciting. Stimulating. Joyous. More than a trifle hedonistic. We have back to back musical performances from Bad Bad Monkey (an amalgamation of Parlour Steps plus a few), Suzanne Kingston the world class opera singer, the fantastically energizing Carnival Band, and local singer/songwriter Blake Havard. We have three main fashion designers (Maryam Fashion, Maggie Fu, and Crow and Gate Clothing) who are styled using Xixo Apparel, Smitten Designs, Sayuri Designs, and the Optical Boutique. The show will be non-traditional, Betsy Johnson plus.
Where can we get tickets and, if unable to attend, how can we contribute to the goal of making Hycroft Manor accessible to everyone?
Tickets can be purchased via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/elevate-and-celebrate-tickets-10599065089. We would love if anyone who cannot attend for whatever reason could support us nonetheless, we have been already getting international support but have a long way to go! Under the Eventbrite link, when one clicks on Buy Tickets, you are given three choices. General Admission, VIP, and the third is Donations in Absentia which is where anyone can contribute as much as they like. Whether you would like to give $5 or $500, we adore your generosity! After the event, cheques can be mailed to the University Women's Club of Vancouver earmarked for Access. The address is 1489 McRae Ave. , Vancouver, BC V6H 1V1
I have three events in total planned. Assuming I meet my financial goals with each event, I will have the funds to build a lift from the main level to the ballroom where all the large events like Christmas at Hycroft, educational opportunities, and charity fundraisers are held.
The third event will be September 28th and we wind up with a Gatsby-styled afternoon dance party (which is entirely appropriate given the vintage of the house!)...the juxtaposition of the nine piece band Queer as Funk, costumes, bubbly, and macarons to the rafters!
You are probably one of the most joyous, friendly and positive people I know. In just a sentence or 2 can you give me your philosophy on living life to it's fullest?
The short answer is I'm quite pleased to not be dead. I have been far too close too many times, and many dear, dear friends and family have left me far too early. Life is relative.
FB event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/288231011329597/