Performers! WAMS 2nd Annual Fundraiser – one click to buy online tickets now

Click here to buy your tickets now: and visit us regularly to learn more about the performers that you’ll be seeing on March 16th – this will be updated often.
Kira Schaffer is a Vancouver based dancer and choreographer, specializing in aerial dance, site specific work and dance with various props such as stilts and fire and elaborate costumes. Kira is the artistic director of Firebelly Performance Society, the company she founded in 2000. Kira has coordinated shows both as a solo artist and for her troupe in a variety of venues, including the Vancouver International Dance Festival, the Alberta Centennial celebrations, and the Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.

Kira coordinated a series of performances for the 2009 Cultural Olympiad, including a fire and aerial piece suspended from under the Granville Street Bridge, accompanied by live musician Cris
Derksen, as well as a series of performances for the athletes at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Athletes’ Village.
More recently Kira coordinated a trio aerial performance on the side of the building for the opening of the SFU Woodward’s campus and is currently working on a larger group community piece for the re-opening of the turntable plaza at the Roundhouse Arts and Recreation Centre in Yaletown.

Kira works regularly with other troupes such as Aeriosa Dance Society, Mortal Coil, Public Dreams and the Great Northern Way Aerial Club. Kira is excited by creating work in unconventional settings and is interested in exploring the expressive possibilities within physically limited situations. Kira shares her passion for movement by regularly teaching aerial dance classes at the Roundhouse

Another… performer update ~ WAMS 2nd Annual Fundraiser – one click to buy online tickets now

Click here to buy your tickets now: and visit us regularly to learn more about the performers that you’ll be seeing on March 16th – this will be updated often.

Joan-E is the creation of entertainer and philanthropist Robert Kaiser. Joan-E began performing on Vancouver stages in 1990 after relocating from Calgary to BC’s coast. Over the years, Joan-E has devoted much of her energy towards advocacy and philanthropy for those who live with HIV and AIDS and in the promotion of the LGBT community and serves as Special Events Coordinator at the Vancouver Friends For Life Society. She has served as the MC for various community events including Art for Life, Davie Days, The Queer Film Festival Gay Ski Week, The Leo Awards, Starry Night, Fit for a Queen and Queens’ Care.
Joan-E hosts “Bingo for Life” which has raised over a quarter of a million dollars for “Friends for Life”, a charity committed to assisting those who live with life-threatening illnesses. She hosted “Feather Boa Sundays”, which was the longest running drag show in Vancouver.
Joan-E’s film and television appearances include Connie and Carla, Fetching Cody, Davinci’s Inquest and The Collector, which earned her a Leo Award nomination. For her work in the LGBT and Greater Vancouver community, Joan-E has been awarded Citizen of the Year, Drag Queen of the Year (WE magazine), Hero Award (XTRA West), The Friend Indeed Award, A U.S. State Congressional Award and the Golden Jubilee Award of Merit from Queen Elizabeth II.

Performer update ~ WAMS 2nd Annual Fundraiser ~ one click to buy online tickets now

Click here to buy your tickets now: and visit us regularly to learn more about the performers that you’ll be seeing on March 16th – this will be updated often.
Amy Lucille Wilding is an Actor and Comedian. She is the Host of ‘The Amy Wilding Show!’ a new, live, variety style show. Amy can be seen on many stages around town. When she isn’t emceeing Fundraisers, she is improvising with her Queer Comedy Troupe, ‘Tops & Bottoms’ or in the ‘Rookie League’ on Granville Island. This is exciting! Amy made it to Round 2 of the Canada’s Got Talent Vancouver Auditions. Amy is the most recent winner of the annual ‘Laff Riot Girls Search for the Funniest New Female Stand Up in 2011!’ She is a high energy charmer that will keep you in stitches!

WAMS 2nd Annual Fundraiser – click the link below to buy your tickets online now

Click here to buy your tickets now: and visit us regularly to learn more about the performers that you’ll be seeing on March 16th – this will be updated often.
Introducing one of our fabulous emcees – Sarah Dawn Pledge
Sarah Dawn Pledge is a Jane of many trades. She is first and foremost a trained film & theatre actress, improviser, hostess, emcee, singer, dancer, model & general fun-maker.
She is also an accomplished lover, laugher & baker. You can see her perform weekly at Tops & Bottoms & also at The Amy Wilding Show; a budding variety style comedy show filled with talented locals.
She loves the Arts, Laughter, Gardening, and Friends & Fun.
She is thrilled to take part, among amazing friends, in this very worthy cause.

Introducing Danielle, one of our Recipients for our Second Annual Fundraiser!

Hello my name is Danielle, and I am 32 years old. In 2008 I officially received
the news that I did in fact have multiple sclerosis. This was news I had been trying to avoid for a couple of years already, and hearing the confirmation was devastating. Regardless of how far or how fast I ran, this mad monster of a disease had managed to catch up to me.

Prior to my diagnosis I had been in the process of building my future and career in Real Estate Sales while living in the Okanagan Valley. Despite the work that I put into my life, it turned out that my body had other plans for me. The harder I worked in my career, the harder the stress of my job worked against me and my body. Slowly I began noticing different deficits in myself and my abilities. Suspiciously I wrote the occurrences off as coincidences caused by other events in my life. In 2006, on the advice and insistence of my doctors I walked away from the life I had been working hard to build and so dearly loved despite the effects it was having on my overall well being. I was told that if I wanted to be able to walk in the future I needed to pay attention to my health, despite that attention bringing up difficult decisions at that current moment; it would help me out in the long run. Weighing my options at that time that is what I took the advice and literally ran with it; choosing to leave without looking back. I gave little to no reason for my departure to those in my life at the time because I knew that if I had to explain why I was doing what I was doing I would not of maintained the ability to hold onto my choice to leave everything behind.

Daily I battle with the constant reminders of my condition. The extreme fatigue, severe mobility issues, and pain; with my pain averaging 10.5 out of 10.Most often my body feels as though it is wrapped in a nylon body suit that is too tight for me; having these difficulties in my life is very frustrating. I have managed to deal with them, and mask them to the best of my ability. Both to myself and everyone around me. This monster really does teach you the game of self preservation! Having said all this by no means have I allowed any of this get in my way and stop me from creating new goals in my life and moving forward. Despite the barriers living with MS has put in my way I explored new ideas and passions and began pursuing further education. I have also had the wonderful support from friends, both new and old who helped strengthen me to better accept my condition and the reality of it.

I am now in my 3rd year of my Bachelor of Social Work Degree. I love this new path and am excited by the fact that at the end I will be able to positively affect the lives of individuals in our community. This path has also put me in touch with myself and allowed me to open up when thinking of living with MS. It has also opened me up to connecting with new networks of people within the MS community.

I’ve had the honor to find out about the WAMS Foundation just this past year when they offered their support and assistance to my girlfriend Michele. Michele, who was the 1st recipient of the WAMS Foundation, suffered a major relapse at that time which truly frightened me with the reality of this disease. Seeing her going from being fit for a wheel chair to dancing in heels at her wedding three months later after receiving treatment with the support of WAMS removed the doubts I had when I first heard about the CCSVI Treatment. It also made me start to consider seeking the treatment. If I could get any relief from some of my symptoms. I would consider the treatment a success.

After much internal debate about asking for help I finally contacted the WAMS Foundation earlier this year. I was humbled and relieved to hear that they were willing to assist me in my CCSVI journey. As I am currently a full-time student on student loans the ability to pursue this costly treatment on my own would be many years away. As we know when you are dealing and struggling with MS time is of the essence and everyday matters when working towards maintaining abilities and mobility.

I thank you all for taking the time to learn about me and any support you may be able to offer. I also thank the WAMS Foundation for reaching out to help me through this part of my journey.









Introducing Morgan, one of our Recipients for our Second Annual Fundraiser!

Hello I am Morgan, the next recipient for the upcoming WAMS Foundation Fundraiser. I am thirty years old, and am a wife, mother, daughter, niece, cousin and friend. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 9 years ago and have found that living with this disease significantly affects my way of life. It prevents me from doing the things that I love chasing after my toddler son, snowshoeing,  crafting, dancing and traveling.

Living with MS fluctuates, and the symptoms can go from barely there to being a complete nuisance and barrier in my life  One of the hardest symptoms for me is the extreme fatigue; I’m not just sleepy but exhausted barley able to think.. It feels like my body doesn’t listen to my directions. Having once been a dancer I had good co-ordination, which is no longer the case. I send out directions to my body and the messages are received slowly if at all. I also feel like I am almost always in some level of pain. On a scale of 1-10 I live in the 3 range most days though recently I’ve had lots of 8 or 9 days. I also experience restless legs; it’s this crazy almost tickle response that causes my legs to jolt and jump for no reason. I often drag one leg when I walk or use a cane for support and balance. Oh and numbness; I almost forgot numbness, it’s like going to the dentist but instead of freezing your mouth he randomly chooses a body part much like a really bad case of pins and needles. I also don’t feel as smart as I once was. It’s as though my mind doesn’t work the way it once did, often feeling that my memory is muddy and my words come out garbled. I say one thing but mean another and I often lose my train of thought mid-sentence.  There are other symptoms that come along with living with MS they have become mostly background noise that I have learned to tune out.

My MS hasn’t been all bad though. I’ve learnt a great deal about myself since being diagnosed with MS. It has brought me too many realizations that I’m not sure I would have reached otherwise. It’s pushed me to new levels of spiritual growth and has taught me compassion; both for myself and others. MS has taught me to take time to enjoy the little things in life; walking slowly provides lots of opportunities to smell the flowers. MS has taught me to deal with issues as they arise, as procrastination only causes more pain in the long run. I have learned to treat my body with kindness and respect; exercise, stretching, relaxation and proper nutrition have really improved my quality of life.

Finding WAMS has been a huge blessing not only because being a recipient has given me hope but I have also found a great deal of support from the people who run the foundation. Thank you so much for supporting WAMS and for supporting me- it means so much to me and my family.



2012 Annual Fundraiser

Join us on March 16th for the WAMS Foundation Variety Show Fundraiser

March 16th
from 7pm-12am
Doors at 7 show starts at 8

Buy Tickets Here
Roundhouse Community Center
181 Roundhouse Mews, VancouverVIP tables are $625 and seat 10 people

Single VIP tickets are $75
VIP tickets are limited so get ‘em quick
General Admission Tickets $40

Hosted By:
Sarah Dawn Pledge, Amy Wilding
and drag queen extraordinaire
Joan E

Silk Aerialist
Irish Dance Troupe
Burlesque Dancer

There will be a raffle, silent auction and 50/50

Download the brochure here: WAMS Fundraiser.2012.web

Buy Tickets Here

Goal Setting

I have been meaning to write my post for January for some time now, so please excuse the delay; as we’re already at the end of February! My focus for this blog post, as we are now well into the New Year, is resolutions and goal setting.  First, let’s rewind a bit so I can wish everyone a Happy 2012! I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday season. Now, onwards to my thoughts for the New Year!

I am not one to set New Year’s Resolutions, and if you are I commend you, especially if you end up following them! I do however like to set goals, and do my best to work towards them, without beating myself up if I don’t achieve them. When I was first out of the hospital last year my physiotherapist expressed how important it is to write down goals, and try to work away at them. I must admit that during that time my only goal, or more so hope, was to be able to walk and have my pain stop. I did not know how to achieve that at the time, and though I am used to setting goals, I was very overwhelmed by the new hurdle I had to overcome.

This was exacerbated by the fact that thinking coherently and goal setting was seemingly much harder than it had ever been before.  Brain fog often gets the best of us living with MS; and I can say that my memory, writing, and follow through skills were not at their best when I was in relapse mode. However, I didn’t want to give up, even though I was extremely frustrated.

Regardless of living with MS I know many friends that feel lost in life. Don’t we all from time to time? Friends would often try and commiserate with me during these times, trying to make me feel better about the struggles I was faced with, letting me know that they too had problems. While this was appreciated, I feel that – due to their subjective nature – cognitive challenges are so much more of a struggle than people realize.

With this in mind, I worked through various methods to give myself daily motivation and outline my weeks to help feel a sense of accomplishment (gotta love checking things off a list!). I even added a whiteboard to my bathroom to write notes and inspirational quotes. I figured that I frequented the washroom enough that it was a great place to have a reminder that life wasn’t all that bad.

The list of ‘things to do’ lived on the fridge, another place I visit often : ) You get hungry, need a snack and you can re-visit your weekly/daily/monthly list of things to do, food for fodder!

My friend even bought me a huge calendar where I put down doctor’s appointments and other things I had to get done in the month. The best part about that is she bought me a big stack of stickers to give myself gold stars and smiley faces galore! I am a very visual and creative thinker so this was great. Some people even make vision boards, which I think is super cool and would be fun to do!

What I am trying to illustrate to you is that sometimes it takes several methods to sort out your madness; and regardless of how you go about it, setting goals and writing things down really does help, especially when your cog fog rolls in so thick you can barely remember your phone number. Don’t give up trying, that is key. I took a break from things, as it does get hard, but my notes were always there for me to reflect on.

I found this great article on goal setting that I think you should check out:

It really helps you think about how to start setting goals and working towards them. The MS MonSter is always going to be part of my life, and I know I have to work hard to try and manage not only the medical side of the illness, but also the social and emotional side of things. So far all my chicken scratch notes and lists, as scattered as they may sound, seem to be helping : )

I hope that you check out that link and get some good ideas for setting some goals for 2012!

Happiness and Health to all in 2012,

–       Michele


PS: I would love to hear about your ways of goal setting, Please feel free to share : )

Rieki for MS

Reiki and Multiple Sclerosis

Reiki and Multiple Sclerosis

Reiki (pronounced ray-key), means “universal life-force energy” and is a simple, gentle and safe Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes spiritual, mental and physical well-being and healing. The Reiki Practitioner taps into an unlimited source of universal life force energy and shares this energy with you. You may have noticed that energy healing is becoming more and more popular these days, and with good reason. Energy work can have a profound positive impact on health and vitality.

Reiki for Multiple SclerosisOn a deeper level, regular treatments will help move stagnant energy. Stagnation begins in the body’s outer energy fields, then move inwards toward the physical body. Once the energetic stagnation becomes pronounced within the body, it will start to manifest in physical symptoms. It is generally accepted in the naturopathic community that stagnation causes disease. The practice of Reiki is the art and science of channeling energy to move stagnation and promote healing.

The existence of the universal life force energy has been documented by recent scientific experiments, and medical doctors are considering the role it may play in the functioning of the immune system and the healing process. Several studies have been conducted on the effect of Reiki on Multiple Scleroris. While these studies are relatively new, several have indicated promising results in terms of pain reduction, increased energy levels, less fatigue, improvement in well-being and a reduction in depression and stress response. A new clinical trial to further study the effects of Reiki on MS is currently being proposed by a group of Reiki practitioners working in conjunction with a neurologist from the University of British Columbia. While further studies need to be conducted in order to reach definitive conclusions, so far the results are encouraging.

Reiki is being introduced in an increasing number of hospitals throughout Canada and is acknowledged by many allopathic doctors as having value in complementing traditional disease treatment methods. In the US, Reiki is used as a standard part of care in many hospitals.

Since stress worsens MS, Reiki can be extremely beneficial because it is very calming, grounding and relaxing. Not only is it beneficial for MS patients to receive Reiki treatments, but if an MS patient learns Reiki and receives the attunements, they will then be able to channel this powerful healing energy themselves for self-treatment. Treating oneself can as effective as being treated by another practitioner. It is a tool that can be used anytime, anywhere and as often as it is needed.

Reiki is not a substitute for medical treatment, but it can be used as a powerful complement to traditional medicine. In fact, it may improve the effectiveness of all other treatments, and reduce negative side effects and complications from medications and surgeries. It works to shorten healing time, reduce or eliminate pain, reduce stress, promote relaxation and create optimism.

Kira Lynne, BA, RHN, is a Reiki Master/Teacher and Registered Holistic Nutritionist practicing in Vancouver, BC.

For further details on the studies mentioned in this article, please see the following:

Reiki and MS Study


Carmen Amundsen, the hard-working CEO and Founder of WAMS Foundation, graciously invited me to be the first Guest Blogger on the WAMS Blog. WAMS aims to not only aid and support those diagnosed with MS, but also the family members, spouses and friends of those with MS. For that reason, we’re adding voices from this group to the blog and it starts with me. Carmen is my dear cousin, which puts me in an ideal position to provide insight into what you can do when someone you love has MS.

Carmen is five years younger than me, but even with that age difference I have many happy memories of playing with her when we were young. Many hours staying up late playing video games and summer days swimming in her pool. We were briefly in the same school when I was in Grade 6 and she was in Grade 1, so my friends and I would give her and her friends piggy-backs around the schoolyard. Unfortunately, when I became a teenager, all of a sudden the five year age difference became a gulf. We still saw each other at family events, but it wasn’t the same as it was when we were younger. Then some unfortunate circumstance made us lose touch almost completely for about 15 years. We’d hear news of each other once and a while through family, but that was it.

Then three summers ago, my father told me Carmen had been diagnosed with MS. My heart dropped. How could the girl, still the rambunctious little 6 year old in mind, possibly have MS? It felt like the whole world had been shaken up and everything was wrong. By this time Carmen and I were both living in Vancouver and had seen each other occasionally, so I was close by and thankfully in a position to reach out, so that’s what I did.  Today, Carmen is a huge part of my life and I proudly sit on the Board of the WAMS Foundation. That five year age difference has again shrunk down to nothing.

What have I learned about loving someone with MS? And what can someone do to help a loved one with MS? I think the most important word is “support.” Give them support whenever they need it and even sometimes when they don’t think they do. Give them support even when it gets uncomfortable for you. Anyone who knows me well realizes I hate being up in front of groups or in any situation where I’m drawing attention to myself, but for Carmen, I stood up in front of 300 people at our recent fundraiser, and following that I walked proudly with her in the Pride Parade in front of 500,000. These were not things I thought I would ever willingly do, but if she can be strong in the face of MS, I can certainly get over my phobias and properly support her. Who knows what she’ll be getting me to do next! 🙂

Bottom line; support in any shape or size is the best thing you can give your loved one with MS. It may be as simple as a ride to the doctor or lending a supportive ear, or it could be something harder and scarier for you, but know that all your support is appreciated and needed. The world can become very small for someone with MS, and it’s up to us, their loved ones, not to let that ever happen.

Melanie Pump