Ally Giesbrecht, Rebecca Kean

Peer Connect: Accessibility Meet up/ Games Night

Team members: Rebecca (Becky) Kean (Community Capacity Building Program, SFU), Ally Giesbrecht (Community Capacity Building Program, SFU; UBC)

How do we make community accessible to people living with Chronic Pain or Chronic Illness? People facing these challenges often feel pushed out of society by medication side effects, symptoms, and mobility devices which often present differently from societal norms. The stigma of judgement for presenting outside perceived societal norms has historically caused Chronic pain patients to remain isolated. From my own experience, medications have made me feel unpresentable, tired looking, managing uncomfortable side effects, cognitive difficulties, blurred vision or alternated speech, and challenges taking care of my personal hygiene. When I asked my Chronic Pain Support Group what their greatest need for connection was, the answer was a resounding “we need a meet up place in person, where we feel stigma free, and we could show up as we are”.

Working with my community and partner organizations, I will co-ordinate 3-4 one-hour peer connect events via zoom or discord, where we can establish connection and safety together. They will feature a peer format sharing circle with online Bingo and vision boards to establish safety and connections with each other. If these go well, the series will lead up to an in-person Game Night to solidify relationships and enable members of our community to go out and show up in person, for each other, as we are. This will be a closed group of approximately 10-15 participants with 2 facilitators that are Peers in the Chronic Pain community.

Community Partners: