Articles

Who we are

In the days immediately following  Sasha’s death, a small group of her closest friends banded together on the home front to prepare a memorial to their "Bestie" while Sasha’s parents Lynn and Mike made final arrangements for her return to Canada and her funeral in her ancestral home of Trois-Rivieres, Quebec.

Her "Besties" were key in assembling pictures and mementos of Sasha for display at the funeral parlour and the creation of a Toronto memorial for her friends in Ontario.  Two of these friends, Felixe and Paige, both from the swimming community set the path in motion for a suitable long term remembrance of their friend.

With help from other close friends and Sasha's sister Kayla, they started a fundraising and awareness campaign by creating and selling orange/green/yellow and hot pink wrist bands.  The bands inscribed with Sasha’s dates of birth and death and the phrase "Alis Volat Propriis" bore tags describing their initial mission:

"Today, these bracelets are worn as an expression of our remembrance of Sasha Menu Courey, and defiance of the inner struggle felt by the sufferers of Borderline Personality Disorder.  These colours were selected to honour Sasha’s persona and love for everything vivacious.  Please wear these bracelets as we are connected in the fight to raise awareness of the desperate need for research, education and support.  The donations received will be passed on to the Sasha Menu Courey fund through Mount Sinai Hospital.
AlisVolat Propriis
(She flies with her own wings)"

As the summer of 2011 came to an end, Paige and Felixe joined with Sasha’s parents Mike and Lynn, their own parents: Jerome, Annie, John and Barb to form "Making waves on BPD and suicide prevention".  Along the way we have been joined by Sasha’s sister Kayla, her cousin Nicole, swim parent Christine and have been supported by a small group of talented and determined individuals who have assisted us along the way.

May 11, 2012 marked our official launch of school talks Borderline... what? - a message of hope.

Our efforts continue...

Click here to see pictures from Anniversary celebration.

Acknowledgements

It has been an amazing year for the Sashbear.org making waves for BPD group. In Sasha’s name, together, we are making a difference...

Thank you!

To the Sashbear group:
For those whose relentless support, encouragement and commitment helped us, from the very beginning to move forward and take action to make a difference for those living with BPD traits and their loved ones. No matter how busy was their schedule they made a commitment to meet as a group with us on a monthly basis to organize and launch Sashbear.org and to implement its initiatives:
Felixe Cote
Jerome Cote
Annie Lebel
Barbara Schultz
John Schutlz
Paige Schultz

To those who joined the sashbear.org group shortly after, without hesitation, to help us out in any way possible with the various Sashbear group projects throughout the year:
Christine Kostecki
Annique Marko
Victoria McLean
Nicole Panning
 
To all those who gave the Sashbear group extra help for the various projects and events:
School talk Borderline…what?
Allyson Brown
Caitlin Connor
Christiane Godin
Kaleigh Heard
Joe Hladik
Jacqueline Kiere
Judy and Fred Loeffler
Lisa Nathanson
Carole Neira
Ralph Sette

Blue Nose Marathon
Kirsten Neuendorff
and all the Dalhousie University runners

Sasha's Legacy Celebration
Justin Belanger
George Benakis
Allison Coombs
Colin Coombs
Dawn Coombs
Steve Coombs
Julie Hayden
Celeste Marko
Chantal Panning

Sasha's Legacy Celebration sponsors
Dundas st. W: Joe's Pastizzi Plus and Ma Maison
Humbertown Plaza: Cobs Bread, Loblaws and Pasta Gourmet
Lloyd Manor: Metro
Thorncrest Plaza: Foodland and Java Joe's

Mizzou events
Meghan Brockington
Allyson Brown
Caitlin Connor
Joe Hladik
Colin Livasy
Lisa Nathanson
Ashley Paterson
Courtney Rhodenbaugh
Brigette Selbert
Mary Sheahen
Rolandis Woodland
 
To all the organizations that supported us throughout the year:
Behavioral Tech: Linda Dimeff and Tony Dubose
BPD Videos: Kevin Dawkins
CAMH: Lindsey Davies, Andrew Ekblad and Shelley McMain
Etobicoke Swim Club:  Linda Aach, Steve Goodwin, Kevin Thorburn
McLean 3East: Blaise Aguirre, Ariel Glick, Lin Ann Chin, Michael Hollander, Janna Hobbs
Mount Sinai Hospital: Dr Mary Preisman
NEABPD: Perry Hoffman
Project Borderline: Ariel Adams and  Brandon Marshall
TARA: Valerie Porr   
 

To all those who contributed to Sasha’s fund directly through Mount Sinai Hospital Foundation or via the Blue Nose marathon

To reporters who helped us bring attention to the story:
Columbia Tribune: Dave Briggs
Inside Toronto: Tamara Shephard
Midwest FoxNews: Andrew Astleford
The Maneater: Jimmy Hibsch
The Missourian: Felicia Greiff
Toronto Star: Allison Cross, Liam Casey

To the schools that opened their doors to hear Borderline What…? a message of hope; for the warm reception from both staff and students:
Senator O’Connor
Monsignor Percy Johnson
White Oaks Secondary

To all our family and friends, school and swimming friends, and neighbours
that have been helping us immensely on a personal level, to all of you that gave us kind words and support throughout the year, your amazing support has made everything possible.

To Sasha's heart recipient, whose appreciation for life is so inspiring

From the bottom of our heart, thank you all for giving us hope!

Your support is truly making waves on BPD for a better world!
Kayla, Lynn and Mike

Thank you!

Board of Directors

Lynn Courey

Lynn Courey - President

Lynn, C.S.W., graduated from McGill University in marketing and entrepreneurship. In 2017, Lynn was National Recipient of “CAMH difference makers – 150 Leading Canadians for Mental Health”. She is trained as Family Connections leader representing NEABPD in Canada. Along with her husband Mike, her daughter Kayla and the help of many friends and relatives, Lynn is a founding member of The Sashbear Foundation created in memory of her daughter Sasha. Lynn brings a notable family perspective from lived experience.

 
Gabrielle Langlois

Gabrielle Langlois - Vice President

Gabrielle Langlois is proud to be a long-term supporter of The Sashbear Foundation, having helped launch the first official Family Connections program in the community in Toronto, Canada, offered free at Davenport Perth Neighbourhood & Community Health Centre. She has worked and volunteered in health education and community building initiatives to promote better social, economic and cultural life in Toronto.

 
Annie Desjardins

Annie Desjardins - Treasurer

Annie Desjardins is an accountant. She graduated from HEC, Montreal with a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration in accounting. She is co-founder of CAP JEM, a non-profit organization of social economy that offers low-cost lodging for young women and mothers to be. She is a Family Connections leader and facilitates FC groups in the province of Quebec.

Jennifer Carpenter

Jennifer Carpenter - Secretary

Jennifer brings her many years of corporate administration experience to Sashbear, including strategic planning, corporate Board management, facilities management and event planning. Jennifer has held a variety of positions in the business sector and in 2015 retired from Yamaha Canada Music where she held the position of Manager, Corporate Services.

 

Here is a timeline of the history behind Sashbear.org since Sasha's passing.

Scroll timeline and click on events for details.  Scroll pictures in slider above and hover over image to pause.

Board of Directors

Lynn Courey

Lynn Courey - President and Board Chair

Lynn Courey, C.S.W., graduated from McGill University in marketing and entrepreneur ship. In 2014, Lynn has been honoured with the award for Outstanding Graduate in Human Services from Career Colleges of Ontario. Trained as National Education Alliance Borderline Personality Disorder (NEABPD) Family Connections leaders and coordinator for the area, Lynn co-facilitates skills training sessions for family members with a loved one living with emotion dysregulation. Along with her husband Mike and her daughter Kayla and the help of many friends and family, Lynn is a founding member of The Sashbear Foundation in memory of her daughter Sasha. Lynn brings a notable family perspective from lived experience.

 
Rosanna Ruppert

Rosanna Ruppert - Vice President and Director, Family Connections

Rosanna was first introduced to Family Connections several years ago as a participant. The effectiveness of the group and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy was quickly evident to her. She became a parent co- facilitator and has been facilitating groups year round since then at CAMH. She helped start a new FC group at Davenport-Perth Community Centre. This year she became a member in Sashbear and is pleased to be nominated for a position on the Sashbear Board of Directors. She is no stranger to deep involvement in the community. She is a Community Guider, treasurer and unit guider and has been with the Girl Guide organization for 13 years. She has received many awards from Girl Guides of Canada. In 2011 she was also recognized as Club Volunteer of the Year by Gymnastics Ontario.

 
Johanne Papillon

Johanne Papillon - Treasurer

Johanne Papillon is an actuary who works with a large Canadian insurance company. Johanne was first introduced to The Sashbear foundation in January 2016, when she attended the Family Connections program. In Johanne's own words, "The program was transformational for our family, and I decided from that point on to get involved and use my skills to help this wonderful organization.".

 
Jennifer Carpenter

Jennifer Carpenter - Secretary

Jennifer brings her many years of corporate administration experience to Sashbear, beginning in early 2016 when she applied as a volunteer for day to day administrative requirements. She has also assisted with organizing the Family Connections program at Davenport-Perth Community Centre and the annual Borderline Walk. Jennifer has held a variety of positions in the business sector and in 2015 retired from Yamaha Canada Music where she held the position of Manager, Corporate Services. She looks forward to working with the team in the role of Secretary as a member of the board.

 
 
Victoria MacLean

Victoria MacLean - Director, Network and Outreach

Victoria is a full-time student who is studying Business Administration at George Brown College. Before George Brown she attended Arrowsmith school, which is an institute that aids individuals to train their brains to learn differently. In the past she has worked in different positions ranging from receptionist, to secretary, to administrative assistant, to camp counsellor, to music school manager, to corporate trainer for a direct marketing company. She has also received awards and certificates for her hard work. She loves keeping busy and doing all sorts of different things for fun, and above all is quite passionate about helping others. Victoria and Sasha were friends from the age of 3, then attending the same high school years later, and still keeping the friendship when Sasha went away to university. Victoria has been extremely involved with the Foundation and wants to continue to spread awareness and be a part of many positive changes to come.

 
Carolyn MacLean

Carolyn MacLean - Director, Legal Advisor

Carolyn A. MacLean graduated from Queen’s Law School in Kingston, Ontario in 1992 and has practiced as a sole practitioner in Toronto since 1994. She graduated with her Masters in Law from Osgoode Hall in 2004. She worked as a consultant with the Ontario government on child protection mediation issues. For several years she coached the Small Claims Court mediation program, which engages third and fourth year Osgoode Hall Law School students trying to mediate the resolution of Small Claims Court matters. Ms. MacLean has been teaching in the paralegal program at Humber College since 2007. She has taught an array of courses, such as the first year courses of Tort and Contract, Charter and Introduction to Legal Writing, as well as the third year Elder Law course and the fourth year course on Practice Management.

Heather Rider

Heather Rider - Director, DBT in Schools

Heather graduated from Western University with a Master’s in Business Administration. After spending a number of years in corporate finance at international banks, she has devoted the past 15 years to helping charitable youth organizations such as Camp Oochigeas, Families for Children and Girl Guides of Canada. Heather’s strong belief in the effectiveness of the DBT skill set for youth and their families is the source of her commitment to Sashbear’s mission and she hopes to have a positive impact on youth mental health by focusing on early intervention and prevention through implementing these effective skills in schools.

Karen Black

Karen Black - Director, Communications & Marketing

Karen Black graduated from the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, after receiving BA degrees in Journalism and History from Ryerson and U of T respectively. For the past 15 years she was responsible for the overall strategic development and management of the City of Toronto’s Museums and Heritage Services department and has been honoured with various management and marketing awards. Karen has held a variety of communications-related positions in the non-profit sector and has also worked has a journalist. Most recently she received the 10-year Ontario Volunteer Service award for her work on the Parent Council at her daughters’ school. She was first introduced to Sashbear Foundation when she and her husband took the Family Connections program several years ago as participants. She believes strongly in the effectiveness of the Sashbear programs and is looking forward to contributing to the organization.

Sheryl Trachter

Sheryl Trachter - Director, Clinical

Sheryl Trachter, B.Ed, MSW, RSW, formerly a teacher for twenty years with the York Region Board of Education, volunteers with The Sashbear Foundation as both a DBT Youth Skills Group and a Family Connections co-facilitator. Ms. Trachter is a social worker in private practice in North York, specializing in Dialectical Behavioural Therapy for children, youth, adults and families who struggle with Borderline Personality Disorder and Emotional Dysregulation. She is also trained in brief solution focused and narrative therapy, and psychodynamic therapy and is currently training in Infant psychotherapy.

Leanne Nicolle

Leanne Nicolle - Director, Strategic Planning

Leanne Nicolle, idea generator, girl advocate and globally minded social innovator left her private sector marketing executive career to dedicate her life to helping girls around the world and social impact initiatives.

Leanne has a passion for human development and has worked for UNICEF, Plan Canada and as the founder of “girl !mpact”. In 2010, she joined the team at Plan Canada as the Director of Corporate Development and Youth Engagement to work primarily on the domestic and global platform for girls’ issues and rights through the "Because I am a Girl" initiative. Most recently, Leanne continued her journey in the social space as the Executive Director of the Canadian Olympic Foundation. After Rio in 2016, Leanne decided to expand her reach and re-established her consultancy, Ubuntu Marketing, a collective putting organizations in touch with humanity. This gives Leanne the opportunity to apply her social impact philosophy to various organizations and industries including sport, charities, education institutions and private sector companies.

 

Advisor to the Board

Lynn Courey

Mike Menu - Advisor to the Board

Mike Menu, BMath, an independent Software Consultant, is co-founder and advisor to The Sashbear Foundation board of directors, in memory of his daughter Sasha. Trained as a National Education Alliance Borderline Personality Disorder (NEABPD) Family Connections leader, Mike was the first Sashbear member to co-facilitate skills training sessions for families with a loved one living with emotion dysregulation. He led the development of the original school presentation on emotion dysregulation and, is passionate about communicating the value of disseminating life coping skills universally, above and beyond Borderline Personality Disorder.

  • We are all doing the best we can and we can all do better...
  • Let's remove stigma from mental illness and Borderline Personality Disorder...
  • We are all in this together, you are not alone...
  • Validation before problem solving...
  • Emotion Regulation Disorder is the new name for Borderline Personality Disorder...
  • Let's teach DBT skills in schools...
  • Let's intervene, let's intervene early...
  • Show me compassion and empathy first, don't just tell me how to change
  • Let go of judgments and believe in me so that I can believe in myself
  • Accept me so that I can better accept myself
  • We are all doing the best we can and we can all do better next time
  • Take care of yourself then you can attend to others
  • Be mindful - Observe, describe, participate effectively
  • Observe your own emotions rise and that of others, pause then engage effectively
  • Strive to be wise, not just rational or emotional
  • Change what you can, accept what you cannot
  • Validation is not agreement
  • Validate, Validate Validate
  • Be supportive, let go of judgements
  • We can't control having strong emotions but we can change how we respond to them
  • Hope is everything and is always there even when I cannot see it
  • BPD is more common than Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder combined 6%
  • The suicide rate of BPD victims is 400 times that of general population
  • BPD is the third leading killer of young women between the ages of 15-24
  • 1 of 5 seek help, 4 of 5 benefit from treatment
  • 4,000 young people die by suicide per year in Canada
  • I am not the disorder. I am a person
  • Stop the Stigma - by Speaking Up
  • Living with BPD is like not having an emotional skin
  • Genetic vulnerabilities and invalidating environment could lead to BPD
  • Breathe
  • Mindfulness is not what you think
  • Mindfulness is being present moment to moment
  • Mindfulness is just observing, paying attention to non-judgement
  • Patience, trust, non-striving and acceptance
  • Mindfulness does not come by itself..it takes practice
  • Let your breath be your anchor to observe thoughts as they arise
  • Observe thoughts as they come and go like waves on the ocean
  • Pay attention to what you are actually paying attention to
  • What we frequently think we become
  • Turning my auto-pilot off
  • Only that day dawns to which we are awake - Thoreau Walden
  • It is a radical act of love to just just down and be quiet for a time by YOURSELF
  • You are HERE!
  • Make each moment count!
  • I am a valuable part of all that EXISTS
  • I am Love. ALL is Love
  • The practice of mindfulness is not to follow your heart but to train your heart
  • It's OK, let it be
  • Smile at thoughts, they are empty. The only power thoughts have is the power you give them
  • The benefit will come to your life with consistent mindfulness practice everyday
  • Whatever you do to make it mindful!
  • Kindness is pure wisdom
  • Mindfulness is free or craving, want or hate
  • Be gentle to yourself as well as others
  • When you feel connected to someone that connection gives you purpose
  • Practice kindness whenever possible. It's always possible - Dalai Lama