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Ottawa Forum is Life Changing for Kelowna Woman

Former CONNECT resident Ellie got a glimpse of her political potential during a trip to Ottawa in November.

"Ottawa was unbelievable," beams Ellie. "I was so glad to be a part of creating legislation that will affect people who suffered a brain injury like me but can't verbalize their needs."

Former CONNECT resident Ellie got a glimpse of her political potential during a trip to Ottawa in November.

"Ottawa was unbelievable," beams Ellie. "I was so glad to be a part of creating legislation that will affect people who suffered a brain injury like me but can't verbalize their needs."

Ellie attended the Government of Canada Accessibility Legislation National Youth Forum. She was nominated to attend the forum by the BCBIA (British Columbia Brain Injury Association) and CONNECT. She was selected to participate as a facilitator and was paired with the president of Brain Injury Canada and the parent of a boy with a brain injury.

The forum was an opportunity for youth with disabilities and those with considerable work or academic experience in the field to engage in a policy discussion around proposed accessibility legislation, to connect with peers and to celebrate youth leadership in building a more accessible Canada.

Ellie was in a motor vehicle accident in 2011. She was seven months pregnant at the time, was almost killed, lost her baby and sustained a brain injury.

She spent just over 18 months at CONNECT Communities in Lake Country before transitioning home. Her brain injury rehabilitation over that time was astounding. Doctors told her she would likely never walk, yet she walked through the doors of CONNECT when she moved out.

Ellie said a highlight of the trip was when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made an appearance and spoke at the summit.

"I was among active and engaged young people from across the country fired up about removing barriers for people with disabilities."

Ellie is currently taking a Law 12 course at Okanagan college chipping away course by course at her high school diploma. She has her sights set on a career in politics so she can use her life experience to advocate and make the lives of those with disabilities better.

"When I first learned I was nominated to attend the forum I thought, this sounds like the next step for my blossoming-brain-injury-activist career."

Congratulations Ellie!