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Updated: Oct 23, 2020

"Nobody knows the struggles I've endured. Most are kept secret. Most are fought alone. Alone in the depth of my darkness."

The Alberta OCD Foundation's theme this year is "Speak Up, Speak Out!" We are thrilled to showcase local Albertans who have done just that! Paul Otterbein and Corey Hirsch share their journey of living with OCD. They inspire, give hope and encourage others who suffer with OCD to Speak Up & Speak Out! They bring awareness to OCD, a chronic mental illness that (in the year 2020) still takes an average of 14-17 before a person is diagnosed. OCD tightens it's grips the longer it is left untreated. Early diagnosis and proper treatment will teach a person how to manage their OCD for a lifetime. How can you "Speak Up, Speak Out?" Here are some ideas: - Talk to a family member - Educate one person  - Volunteer  - Create OCD art, a poem or a video for the aocdf to share/promote - Present on OCD as a project at your school  - Share OCD information and resources with your teacher - Hand out OCD brochures - Interview a new Therapist (Especially on ERP, Exposure Response and Prevention Therapy) - Write your MLA PAUL OTTERBEIN

Meet Paul Otterbein, an International Hip Hop Choreographer who now resides in Edmonton, Alberta. His passion and talent led him to win many Dance Championships and Awards over his career. Admired and a role model for many made it difficult to speak up about his war with OCD.

Now a mental health advocate, Paul shares his OCD story and created this amazing choreographed OCD music video.

A heartfelt Thank-You, Paul.




Dr. Felicity Sapp of Calgary, Alberta is an OCD Specialist and advocate. She attends the annual International OCD Foundation Conferences, organized the OCD Challengers fundraiser in Calgary, is part of the Tourette OCD Alberta Network and supports the Alberta OCD Foundation. For #OCDweek, Dr.Sapp connected with and interviewed Corey Hirsch, a retired NHL Goaltender and a Mental Health Advocate. Corey Hirsh shares his experience living with OCD. Amazing interview! Watch the interview here. Well done!


Meet Jenny Peetoom, a Registered Psychologist from Calgary Alberta. Jenny has a passion for working with people who live with OCD and other compulsive disorders. Jenny reached out to partner with the Alberta OCD Foundation and together have brainstormed the idea to create a *new* additional chatroom for aocdf members called, "Ask A Therapist." Jenny will answer general questions about OCD, ERP, anxiety, and models of therapy. Post a question and she will make every effort to reply promptly and efficiently. She looks forward to creating a platform of learning together! Thank you Jenny for your dedication to making a difference to those who live with OCD. #OCDweek #volunteer #Passiontohelp (Please note that this is a general question chatroom only. Jenny cannot provide specific treatment advice or therapeutic interventions.)  Membership Sign-up TIPS FOR FINDING HELP FOR YOUR OCD:  THE CENTRE FOR COGNITIVE BEHAVIOR THERAPY (cfcbt)

Foundation's most substantial supporters. They have graciously funded our initiative since the beginning. They have promoted us, provided ongoing feedback, encouragement, ideas and support behind the scenes which led the aocdf to great success over the last few years. The cfcbt have always been receptive to providing advice when needed. The cfcbt and aocdf also have a history of hosting #OCDweek awareness events, #GETLOUD mental health awareness events, and the cfcbt staff have made appearances at the aocdf annual BBQs. It is tough to put into words how grateful we are to have the cfcbt in Edmonton and how powerful their encouragement has been. They always believed in us. A special thank you to Janet Caryk who has been more than just a therapist - you are a role model. This #OCDweek, the local Edmonton, Alberta cfcbt created a very informative video, "Tips for finding help for your OCD." Thank you Dr. Joti Brar-Josan and Janet Caryk for providing honest and helpful information for people who live with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. If newly diagnosed with OCD (or questioning treatment), we recommend watching this video prior to doing OCD treatment research.   

 TO OUR DONORS Due to the lack of resources (and cost) for treatment in Alberta, the Alberta OCD Foundation keep memberships and programs free. This is made possible by our donors over the last 3 years! We would like to extend our BIGGEST 'Thank-Yous' to the donors who made this possible: The Centre for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CFCBT) $1700 Danny Bachman $1,000  Anonymous $200  Anonymous $200  kim franklin $200  Deborah Bocian $180  Peter Hum $100  Shaun Buote $100  Barb Thomson $100  Melanie Simes $100  Diane Barilko $100  Anonymous $50  Natalie McCulloch $50  Anonymous $50  Rebecca Hum $50  Krystal Perree $50  Tracey Mann $50  Michele Losty $50  Jacky Renaud $50  Theresa Mesdag $40  Betty Lee $20  Megan Abramyk $10 The donations funded the monthly OCD Support Groups - snacks and supplies at the hall, quarterly family OCD Support groups, the website/chatroom/domain fees, park rental fees and meals for the 3 annual OCD BBQs, OCD awareness/education events with snacks and door prizes (Dr.Richter's presentation, Games night, etc), aocdf awareness shirts (ordering, printing, reselling), advertisement and swag (aocdf postcards, tablecloths, stickers, tattoos, foam sign), stamps/paper/binders/etc and special printing.  We would also like to thank our current volunteers who fund the monthly phone line, annual mailbox/address fee, virtual account, monthly computer program fee, government admin fees, printing and storage containers.  Make a Donation WE NEED YOUR HELP, TO GROW

March 2021 will mark our 3 year anniversary in operation as a non-profit organization. Since then, we registered with the AGLC and registered as a charitable organization which means we can raise over $25,000. However, we are not a registered charity with the CRA, so we are unable to offer tax receipts. Registering with the CRA and hosting fundraisers is a big process and we are lacking in manpower and volunteers to make this happen. If you have expertise in this area, are self driven and interested in volunteering for the aocdf, we would love the help! Please email if you are interested. Your help or any donation would be greatly appreciated. We want to see the aocdf flourish and to offer more services for our members! A MESSAGE FROM THE AOCDF PRESIDENT THANK YOU TO OUR MEMBERS

I find comfort and a sense of belonging in the Alberta OCD Foundation. I have had no place to go for so long and this community is now here to support and understand me. But it was me who held the shame and kept my OCD hidden for decades. I didn't realize it was a choice to keep it a secret. But I felt stuck and scared and had no words to describe it. When I did get help, I realized I was lucky to find and afford treatment. I was shocked at the lack of support and health care services for my illness.That is when I started to dream about building a safe OCD community, because it is just too lonely to be alone. It is the members who create the welcoming environment within the aocdf. We can connect at any time in the chatrooms and support each other through a panic attack or confide in an intrusive thought. Thank you to all the members for your contribution, big or small, and thank you for making the Foundation a dream come true. You are not alone, ever. Happy #OCDweek 2020 - and Speak up, Speak Out - it is not as scary as living with untreated OCD for decades! 

Much love, Jennifer Masek 

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