All posts by storyuntold

Wali Shah: “I had every strike against me”



Very few voices can cut through a room like Wali Shah’s. The Mississauga-raised spoken word artist’s signature baritone has led him to appearing on MTV with Selena Gomez, presenting as a TEDx speaker, performing at the Air Canada Centre, and even freestyling with Kendrick Lamar. Born in Pakistan, Shah touches on social issues and his … Continue reading Wali Shah: “I had every strike against me”


Robin Mazumder: “I’m really curious about how living in a city impacts your mental health”



What if urban planners started viewing themselves as part of a community’s health care team? That’s what Robin Mazumder, a Vanier Scholar and doctoral candidate in cognitive neuroscience at the University of Waterloo, would like to see. Mazumder, a former occupational therapist, started researching the psychological impacts of urban design after working in the mental … Continue reading Robin Mazumder: “I’m really curious about how living in a city impacts your mental health”


Ben Fanelli: “It’s amazing what you can overcome [with] the right people around you”



If there’s a blueprint to recovery after a traumatic brain injury, Ben Fanelli is prototype. Eight years after suffering a fractured skull as a 16-year-old rookie in the Ontario Hockey League — an incident that left him hospitalized and at risk of needing brain surgery — the former Kitchener Ranger is happy, healthy, and showing … Continue reading Ben Fanelli: “It’s amazing what you can overcome [with] the right people around you”


Josh Cassidy: “There are always people that will doubt us”



Josh Cassidy stopped listening to others’ doubts years ago. Born with neuroblastoma in his spine and abdomen, and left partially-paralyzed from near-birth, Cassidy has become a three-time Canadian Paralympian and World Record-setting wheelchair athlete. Quite the accomplishment for a kid who faced coin-flip odds over whether he’d live to see his first birthday. “I think … Continue reading Josh Cassidy: “There are always people that will doubt us”


Amy Tunstall: “The biggest thing that holds us back in life is fear”



A few short years ago, Amy Tunstall was a self-described prisoner to her own bed. Today, she’s travelled over 17,000 kilometres across three continents by bicycle, raising awareness for mental health. “I was lucky, because I found a way to cope through the outdoors — but I always have my ups and downs,” says Tunstall. … Continue reading Amy Tunstall: “The biggest thing that holds us back in life is fear”


Christian Marques: “I wanted to feel alive instead of feeling comfortable”



Christian Marques had it all — a well-paying job as a software engineer, a nice apartment in the French Riviera — but deep down, something was missing. “I was feeling very disappointed with my position in society. I felt that I was working too much for someone else […] and I felt like I was … Continue reading Christian Marques: “I wanted to feel alive instead of feeling comfortable”


Patti Catalano Dillon: “If they’re going to beat me, they’re going to spit blood”



There are origin stories, and then there’s Patti Catalano Dillon’s origin story. A Hall of Famer and former World and American Record holder for distance running — with titles from everywhere from Montreal, to Honolulu, to Rio de Janeiro — Dillon became the first American woman to break the 2:30 mark in a marathon, and … Continue reading Patti Catalano Dillon: “If they’re going to beat me, they’re going to spit blood”


Adrian Owen: “Her brain lit up like a Christmas tree”



What if consciousness isn’t as cut-and-dry as we imagined? That’s the question Dr. Adrian Owen and his colleagues at Western University’s Brain and Mind Institute have been asking for the past several years. For Owen, a cognitive neuroscientist from Gravesend, England — and now the author of Into the Gray Zone, an exploration into his … Continue reading Adrian Owen: “Her brain lit up like a Christmas tree”


Mike Prosserman: “I want to live every moment to the fullest”



Mike Prosserman knows a thing or two about learning on his feet. After falling in love with the freestyling nature of breakdancing at a young age, Prosserman began travelling the world as one of Canada’s top breakers by the time he reached high school. Now the founder and executive director of UNITY Charity, Prosserman — … Continue reading Mike Prosserman: “I want to live every moment to the fullest”


Kay Okafor: “Everything happens for a reason”



Kay Okafor’s path to the CFL is about as unlikely as they come. Born and raised in Nigeria, the 6’4″, 275 lb lineman only came to learn about football after moving halfway across the world to attend university in Prince Edward Island, Canada. At the time, Okafor’s plans for his life lay far away from … Continue reading Kay Okafor: “Everything happens for a reason”