From the Desk of the CEO
As we come to the end of 2020 and I approach my one-year anniversary as President and CEO of the Canadian Liver Foundation, I am filled with so many emotions.
I think it’s safe to say most, if not all of us, will be glad to see the end of 2020 when the countdown reaches midnight this New Year’s Eve. It’s been a year filled with challenges and unexpected changes for every one of us. I know many of you have lived through losses, health challenges, and lows that never could have been predicted.
The challenge this year presented also gave us an opportunity to change for the better, and I want to spend a moment highlighting some of these as we look ahead to 2021.
I wrote earlier this year about something we need to do better, and that is making sure people from diverse communities, identities, and lived experiences can see themselves in the CLF. As conversations about diversity, racial justice and equity are getting louder around the world, we also need to loudly recognize that each of these factors significantly impact a person’s likelihood of both developing a liver disease and receiving the best treatment for one.
We still have a lot to do to get better here, and this remains a priority for the organization moving forward.
In the Summer, we launched our Education Fights Stigma campaign, reaching thousands of Canadians to highlight the impact of the stigma you take on when you live with a liver disease, and engaging them in meaningful actions to minimize this stigma for all Canadians.
Whether through actions focused on mental health advocacy, healthcare equity for people who use drugs, or support for newcomers, this campaign marked a turning point for our organization in our commitment to serving and representing the diverse experiences and stories of liver disease.
As we build out our plans for 2021, this lens is being brought to every aspect of our work.
We moved our national STROLL for Liver entirely online, creating a virtual event that you wholeheartedly embraced which then surpassed its goal of raising $100,000. Other events like our Living With Liver Disease support groups and LIVERight Health Forums also moved online, eliminating the limitations of borders and opening these events to people across Canada and around the world.
We also dug deep and made some hard decisions, looking at our budgets, our structure, and re-evaluating everything we did with one question in mind, “Is this the most effective way we can deliver on our commitment to serving and supporting Canadians affected by liver disease and those working to end it?” With that guiding question, I know we’ve paved a way forward that answers that question with a resounding yes.
We’re closing 2020 with our biggest effort ever to raise funds this holiday season in honour of everything we face together. You helped us with our most successful Giving Tuesday yet with over $31,000 raised on that day alone, and funds continue to come in until the end of the year as we share more stories from those in our community who are facing the hard realities of liver disease right now. You can still support this campaign right now as we close out the year.
The most incredible thing to witness has been the power of you: our community. You showed up for us in ways I cannot begin to thank you enough for. That alone has filled me with so much gratitude and appreciation and has energized all of us at the CLF to continue pushing forward, adapting to our new reality and reaching new heights as an organization.
I believe we all deserve some time this holiday to acknowledge the lows we’ve faced this year. In many cases, that means grieving and mourning loved ones, missed moments, and everything that could have been.
But I also believe we deserve to spend time acknowledging the silver linings. The reconnections we’ve made with loved ones, the new memories we’ve made, the resilience we’ve demonstrated and the ways we’ve shown up for ourselves and each other, and everything that has yet to be as we move ahead.
On behalf of everyone at the Canadian Liver Foundation, thank you for your continued support and staying with us as we grow and evolve. We are thrilled to start the new year with you and continue embracing change and everything it brings. Wishing you and your loved ones a safe, happy and healthy holiday season and new year.
Jennifer Nebesky, President & CEO
Canadian Liver Foundation