Angela’s Volunteer Journey: From Finding Answers to Being Part of the Solution
Angela’s life was pretty typical for a mom. Like a lot of women, this hard-working mom from Atikokan, Ontario, spent her time trying to balance work and family. But that routine life and hope of work-life balance quickly changed when her 14-year-old son Alex was diagnosed with Autoimmune Hepatitis (AIH), a serious liver disease where the body’s immune system attacks the liver.
For Angela, the diagnosis was more shocking than it was devastating, because Alex had been a healthy kid up until that point. “He had hardly ever been to the doctor,” she says. “He’d almost never been sick until then.”
Figuring out a way forward, a plan, became Angela’s focus for a while. “It became almost an obsession, actually,” she says. “I want to know everything I can about this disease, or even just find out anything I can that will make things easier for him, to help him a little bit. I research to find out anything I can, even a small thing, to help make Alex’s life good.”
Being Part of the Solution
Angela’s obsession doesn’t stop with finding answers for her son, however. Early in her research, she visited the Canadian Liver Foundation’s website to learn about AIH, where she quickly realized out that liver disease affects millions of people and that, unfortunately, many liver diseases don’t have a cure.“ And there is where a new idea surged.
It was evident to Angela that something needed to change, and that she would do all she could to change the uncertain future that her son, Alex, faced. “If I act now maybe one day there’s going to be a cure for [Alex] and other kids,” says Angela. The knowledge that her son and many other kids suffered from a serious disease with no cure (yet) became the force that drove her to volunteer for the CLF.
For her, going from being a concerned mom who was looking for help and support to becoming a volunteer who gave others help and support wasn’t even a choice. It was a natural act. She knew she needed to do something, and she had an idea in mind.
In 2019, Angela’s enthusiasm and determination lead her to join the STROLL for LIVER volunteer team and to open a new location for this national event. With a small planning committee, including some friends and family, Angela established the first annual STROLL for LIVER in Atikokan. Without any experience in event planning and with little time to get it all together, Angela and her team organized a successful event that welcomed more than 50 participants, who, with her guidance, secured more than $5,000 in support of liver research and education.
Angela is just one of many invaluable volunteers who do important work for the CLF. She and her team, like other teams across Canada, have already begun planning this year’s STROLL for LIVER—the second for Atikokan. And, this time, she’s got hopes of doubling their fundraising from last year.
“I’m not sure that we can get to $10,000,” she says, “but we are sure going to do our best. And I know that in the long run, our efforts will benefit Alex and all those other kids and their families who are suffering with liver disease.”
Feeling inspired by Angela’s story? Become a volunteer today! Visit liver.ca/volunteer