The following speech was delivered by Shelby at her HnW in Nanaimo, BC. The picture is of Shelby's team - The Party Poopers!
I would like to start by saying THANK YOU. From the bottom of my heart thank you for being here today to help spread awareness and raise the well needed funds to help bring us one step closer to the end of IBD. For those who don’t know me, my name is Shelby Milholm and I am your Nanaimo Chapter vice-president as well as your Youth Advisory Council Representative for BC and the Yukon. I have been involved with the CCFC for a few years now and I have to admit that working with this foundation and all of the amazing people who are a part of it (and who show up to demonstrate their support at events like this one today) has been very empowering, encouraging and truly rewarding.
The group I am mainly involved with, the YAC, is a selection of 9 youth from each region of our country (with my self being the representative for our region.) The majority of individuals diagnosed with IBD are under the age of 30 and more and more children and youth being diagnosed so it is important that we voice the needs of our youth. The YAC is our voice! The purpose of our group is to come up with ideas, suggestions , tools, and tips to help youth become more engaged in our mission to find the cures. Our main purpose is to help show youth that we play a very important role in spreading the awareness about our diseases.
One of the most exciting things we have been working on this year is a new book that we have recently published called “Tales from the Throne”. The book is a compilation of short stories from youth who have been in your shoes. There are stories of triumph and inspiration as well as many very useful tips to help you show your disease who is boss! There are stories of personal experiences, a parents perspective and many tips and stories from past and present members of the YAC to help with things from every day life, to traveling the world with IBD. There is even a story from yours truly.
I have brought a few copies of the book along with me today so people can take a look at it and I have a few copies with me to sell for $15 each with the proceeds going directly to research. So please come talk to me at some time during our day here if you are interested.
Reading the stories in our book and standing here today seeing all of you, out here, to fight in our mission to find a cure for this disease, my disease, is truly inspiring! We are all here today to accept that we or someone that we know has inflammatory bowel disease, but we have proven that we will not accept that nothing can be done about it. Today we are taking the metaphorical steps to bring an end to the pain. We are raising our voices and raising awareness. Each year I am blown away by the support that we are shown at the heel n wheel a thon. Seeing each of you here gives me hope. Hope for a brighter future. One where we will no longer need to walk to find a cure, because we have found it! And for that I thank each and every one of you here today.
In the words of Charles Dickens, we “walk and be happy; walk and be healthy. The best way to lengthen out our days is to walk steadily and with a purpose."
Today WE HAVE A PURPOSE!