When Karen’s doctor told her she had advanced osteoporosis – she was in shock. Karen was only 55 years old, active and in excellent health…except for the back pain she had been experiencing after a fall seven months earlier.
It’s never a good time to get a life-changing diagnosis, but being in the middle of a global pandemic when Karen received the news made it even more difficult. She was devastated.
I’ll never forget the phone call that changed my life forever.
Karen thought that if she had the bones of an 85-year-old now, what would the next 25 years of her life look like? She thought of her daughters, who at the time were 18 and 21, and her hopes of having grandchildren. Would she be able to be the hands-on grandmother she had dreamed of being when the time came? The images that raced through Karen’s mind were frightening.
The day after Karen was diagnosed, she came across Osteoporosis Canada’s website, and signed up for some online support groups. She like thousands of other Canadians, was able to easily access information to help her adjust to this life-changing news, including support groups and online resources, and she learned about treatment options, nutrition, exercise and more.
Luckily, I discovered Osteoporosis Canada.
Since her diagnosis, Karen is always mindful about her daughters’ bone health. Her girls may be young adults, but they’re still in their “bone-building” years and Karen talks to them often about what she has learned from Osteoporosis Canada.
Karen has discovered how important it is for everyone to learn about their risk factors and take action to keep bones healthy. She focuses on exercise and building up her strength and is working on getting back to doing the things she loves, like hiking with her family. She is learning more about the best ways to get bone building nutrients like calcium and protein in her diet including taking a Vitamin D supplement daily.
Also important to Karen, was focusing on the emotional aspect of having this disease. She made it a priority to sign up for online support groups so she could connect with others.
The support I’ve received from Osteoporosis Canada, their support groups, and from other people with osteoporosis, has been a lifesaver. Having someone else share their experience with me just made me feel so much stronger – I immediately felt less alone and less isolated.
I didn’t have to figure this out all by myself.
In the time since her diagnosis, Karen has learned that there are still so many misconceptions about osteoporosis – it’s not a “normal” part of aging and it doesn’t just affect “older women”.
Today, she is managing her osteoporosis and like other Canadians, she has accessed Osteoporosis Canada support groups and resources, learned about treatment options, and most importantly Karen has regained a feeling of control over her health.
Osteoporosis Canada is staying connected to more people, in more communities across the country to ensure resources and support reach those that need it most. With over 2.3 million Canadians affected by osteoporosis, now more than ever, we need to make bone health a priority.
Today, when people are looking to find information, they go online and Osteoporosis Canada has created a robust, responsive centralized virtual hub to meet the needs and reach as many people as possible.
Osteoporosis Canada’s website is evidence-based with innovative programming, blogs, podcasts, resources, tools and more. Educational webinars, virtual programming, peer-to-peer community support, social media and communications directly to your inbox in addition to your mailbox and by phone expand the ways we connect, communicate and meet the needs of those living with this life-changing disease.
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Fractures from osteoporosis are more common than heart attack, stroke and breast cancer combined.
Osteoporosis Canada’s Program Fund, which accounts for revenue and expenses related to education, advocacy and awareness, administration, and fundraising, had a year-end deficit of $69,574. The Program fund balance at fiscal year-end has a balance of $704,560.
The Reserve Fund, established to provide some mitigation against unforeseen circumstances involving a revenue shortfall or unanticipated expenses, had a fiscal year end balance of $1,316,681.
The Research Fund which provides the financial resources for scientific research projects selected by the Scientific Advisory Council of Osteoporosis Canada, ended the fiscal year with a balance of $1,964,401.
The Bequest Fund which is comprised of funds donated toward specific projects ended the fiscal year with a balance of $2,474.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the volunteers, staff and management of Osteoporosis Canada for their continued invaluable contributions to the success of the organization especially during the challenges and the unknowns of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
This past fiscal year, Osteoporosis Canada partners, donors, volunteers and supporters have actively and enthusiastically engaged, participated and committed to supporting the organization’s mission and vision. While we continued to experience pandemic associated challenges, important advances were made as we worked together, to make Canadians unbreakable.
Our virtual programming and support delivered by trained staff and volunteers continues to be an important – often first step – after a diagnosis. For those that have been living with the disease for many years – these programs and support groups continue to grow as they educate individuals on reducing their risk of fracture and how they can live well while connecting, sharing and inspiring others with osteoporosis.
Our clinicians and researchers – volunteer members of the Scientific Advisory Council (SAC) tirelessly continue their work to finalize the upcoming release of the new Clinical Practice Guidelines while sharing their expertise through presentations, podcasts and more.
Educational webinars, the website, the Cook with OC program, Unbreakable – The OC Podcast and the OC Blog in addition to the 1-800 toll free line continue to provide different ways to get informed, share information and stay connected. Your feedback from surveys, emails, calls and more has been invaluable and help guide our team as we continuously develop new resources and work to improve our current tools and content.
None of our outreach, resources or tools would be possible without the generosity and continued investment by our corporate partners, grant and foundation funders and individual donors – like you. Your contributions allow us to continue supporting Canadians in their bone health and in managing osteoporosis and their risks of related fractures.
Other exciting news included the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) release of the 2020 report Osteoporosis and Related Fractures in Canada: Report from the Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System (CCDSS) 2020 and an infographic Osteoporosis and Related Fractures in Canada, 2021. Osteoporosis Canada has been working closely with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) over the past few years assisting in the collection of data in Canada’s Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System (CCDSS).
Based on this new data, Osteoporosis Canada has updated and aligned its facts and statistics on bone health and osteoporosis which you will see in this fiscal’s Impact Report and in future publications and digital resources.
In closing, we want to again thank you – our community of supporters, partners, volunteers, generous donors and staff for your tenacity, generosity, and overwhelming commitment to Osteoporosis Canada and in helping the over 2.3 million Canadians living with osteoporosis, as we work towards a Canada without osteoporotic fractures.
Together, we will make Canadians unbreakable.