PUBLIC Good: Dan Volunteers!

Dan Dunsky wears the coolest hats and unarguably the best Publican at accents (probably because he speaks every language known to man).

He also volunteers.

Dan! Tell us about your volunteer experience.

I volunteer as part of a patients group at the Toronto Western Hospital called the Psoriatic Arthritis Patients Committee. Psoriatic Arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which I have and I’ve had since I was about 12. The doctor that finally figured out what I had, when I was in my early 20’s is in this clinic at Toronto Western. I was so grateful for her helping me, and of course the treatment that followed from her diagnosis, that years ago I asked how I could help, and she told me they had put together a patient’s advisory committee and asked me to join. So I did, and I’ve been on it for several years now.

Once a year we host a symposium open to all members of the clinic and their families. It’s an opportunity to find out the latest research and understand treatment options on psoriatic arthritis and related diseases. Then we have break out sessions that deal with several of the most common issues that sufferers deal with. Part of my volunteer role has been to facilitate that half day session.

Do you help plan it as well or are you there the day of operations?

The committee plans it out over a couple of months finding guest speakers, inviting guests etc., and The Patient’s Committee – me included – are there to represent the voice of the patient. 

How many years have you been doing this?

I’ve been on the committee for 4-5 years and it’s the second year that I’ve facilitated the actual symposium.

What aspect of your volunteer time are you most grateful for?

First of all, I’m really happy that I can use certain skills that I’ve developed over my career, such as facilitation, to help. I’m fairly fortunate that my disease is not debilitating but I know that there are people that have psoriatic arthritis that have really reduced mobility which comes with all kinds of morbidities, physical and mental. If there’s a little bit that I can do to help them feel better, I’m 100% there.

Does any of the work you do on the committee tie into your work here at PUBLIC?

It does. As I’ve gotten more deeply involved with projects like Sit Kicker and UPnGO, I’ve certainly been more aware of the value of movement and physical activity as it applies to arthritis sufferers. The insights I’ve been able to gain on that work I’ve brought back to the committee and we’ve been able to incorporate into the symposium. For instance, at the last symposium, we worked in a fitness break. It was a 5 hour meeting and after the break out sessions we did some stretches and moved around which encouraged movement, and was certainly inspired by the work I’ve done on Sit Kicker and UPnGO. I think that’s a great example of where the work came to life outside of PUBLIC.

And will you be doing this next year?

For sure, if they ask me!

Transcribed by Amanda Javier.


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