We BELIEVE, so we pause…
Kristy Kerr, BSc, MPH-HP
Executive Director, BCCDC Foundation
A few weeks ago, I walked into my office to see this above the door:
Now, if you love Ted Lasso, no explanation is probably needed. But, if you don’t watch the show, Ted’s spirit, love for his work and team, and ability to dream big, is genuine, heartwarming, and inspiring. His goofy nature just adds to his charm.
My team, knowing how much I love Ted (and soccer), knew this ‘Believe’ banner in our office would make me happy and feel supported, and bring us closer as a team. At the same time, it also reminds me of Ted’s earnest and kind-hearted wisdom about hope and believing, and this makes me think about what it means to really believe in something, and how belief itself needs to be nurtured and nourished.
I believe in our work, I believe in my team, I believe in our purpose, our value, and that we make a difference. I also believe in kindness, to others and to ourselves, and that authentic and genuine belief in something also means being vulnerable, open, and hopeful. And I believe in trying to model this every day. Like Ted (I’d even love his job, truth be told).
You might not know this, but I’ve been with the BCCDC Foundation for many years. We were a two-person rodeo, a ‘behind the scenes’ organization doing good work, but quietly in the background. In 2019 we decided to change that. Thankfully we did because we have been able to support BC with two public health emergencies since then, as well as a multitude of other projects and public health work. In fact, it’s our third anniversary of the launch of our newsletter coming up in June. Since then, we have been publishing our monthly newsletter—35 total to date!
What you also might not know is that we’re still a pretty small bunch—a wonderful team who now surrounds me every day with their passion, commitment, kindness, and ability to believe—we’re ‘small but mighty,’ we like to say. Each day, we’ve been doing our best in service of our purpose to make a positive impact on the health of our communities in BC. And we remain committed to this, 100%.
But, I’m tired. We’re tired. And without being too presumptuous, I can guess you’re pretty tired too. It’s been a long, difficult, and emotional couple of years. We want to be honest with you because we believe you’ll understand why I’m writing this, and when I tell you that we are going to take a purposeful and thoughtful pause.
What kind of pause, you might be wondering?
We truly believe in what we’re doing and we want to honour that. But that belief drives us to take on a lot, meaning we feel we need some time and space to regroup, reenergize, and refocus.
We need some time to nurture and nourish our hope and belief, and I’m personally trying to keep my commitment to model openness, kindness, and authenticity.
This pause means we have some really big things we’re working on, including continuing to support the public health response to COVID-19, that includes planning, recovery, and learning for future emerging threats. We’re also working with our partners on solutions to address the overdose crisis. And that’s not even all—we have a lot of things in progress!
This pause means that even though we strongly believe in consistently sharing evidence-based content, we aren’t going to send our regular, monthly newsletter for a little while, and we’re going to evaluate how and when we share information so it’s most meaningful to you.
But, this pause also means we’re not disappearing entirely. You’ll still hear from us by email here and there, we’ll make sure to stay available on social media, and we remain committed to sharing public health content, stories, and exciting news with you.
And you can still donate to support public health, whether you want to support a specific project or let us decide where your gift is most needed. If you don’t already, you can also follow us @bccdcfoundation on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram—lots of good content there not to be missed.
Know that this wasn’t an easy decision to make. We hold ourselves to high standards, and for a small team, we tackle some pretty big stuff, and we want to do it all, all the time. But we’re only human, and although the past few years have been fulfilling, rewarding, and given us a lot to be proud of and believe in, they have also been difficult, tiring, and emotional.
From the war in Ukraine, to the humanitarian crises in places like Sudan, Yemen, and Ethiopia, from the absolutely horrific racist attack recently in Buffalo and the mass shooting in Texas, to the multitude of murdered children uncovered at sites of residential schools. These tragedies don’t even include the daily toll of living in a pandemic, or thinking about the six people on average dying per day in BC right now due to the toxic drug poisoning crisis, or the witnessing of, and worrying about, climate change every day. These are all public health issues that weigh on us.
So this is us being honest, self-compassionate, and taking a little pause. A small moment to catch our breath, so that we can be better and stronger for you, our community. We are fully committed to continuing our public health work to fund, support, advocate, share, engage, lead.
We show up every day because we care about your health, the health of our communities in BC, and the health of everyone across the globe. Like Ted, we believe.
This pause may be a little unconventional, but it’s intentional and grounded in our belief system, and our values. And hey, maybe we’ll start a trend and inspire others to be open about a need to take the foot off the gas pedal, just a little? We do work in the health sector after all, and talk about mental wellness and wellbeing a lot. So here’s hoping this spreads and we all feel it’s okay to be vulnerable, honest, and continue to meet each other where we are at.
I’d like to thank my team for all their hard work and dedication. And to you, our supporter, we see you and appreciate you! And I hope you can take a pause, a break, some time to breathe too. Stay safe and healthy, and we’ll catch you on the flip side (we won’t be gone long, don’t fret!).
Keep believing. We will too.