London & Thames Valley Chapter
For information about a support group near you, or to create a group in your community, please contact:
London & Thames Valley Chapter
Chair: Joanne Legros-Kelly
P.O. Box 32017
London, ON N5V 5K4
Phone/Fax: (519) 457-0624
Support group meetings
Upcoming support group information for the London & Thames Valley Chapter will be posted as soon as it is available. Please check back soon.
Celebrating 10 Years at the London Chapter!
In February 2013, the Osteoporosis Canada London Thames Valley Chapter celebrated their 10th Anniversary. For this significant milestone we decided to highlight the Chapter in this month’s newsletter. We are very proud to share their story with you. Join us as we follow the Chapter on its journey from the very beginnings through to present day, in the words of its members, both current and past.
~ Our sincere thanks to Helen Mason, Office Coordinator, and Joanne Legros-Kelly, Chapter Chair, for their contributions.
How it began…
In November 1998, the OC National Office held a presentation on Osteoporosis at the London Convention Center with a physician from Burlington. Lynn Balzer, future Chapter treasurer, secretary and chair, was one of those who attended. A few months later her cousin, who worked in Fundraising at National, called her and they spoke at length about that evening.
“I was surprised to learn a few things about Osteoporosis and I mentioned that women should be informed about these things and she asked me to ‘step up to the plate’. Ads were placed in local newspapers and on Channel 10 TV station about the formation of a local chapter of the Osteoporosis Society of Canada.”
- Lynn Balzer, former Chair, London Thames Valley Chapter
As many of those reading know, much time and effort goes into the formation of a Chapter. Initially a steering committee was created consisting of 7-8 dedicated volunteers, including Lynn.
At a steering committee in November 2002, five people gathered to determine the name of the Chapter from a choice of three suggestions. London & Thames Valley Chapter was agreed. They felt London should be in the name as outside the region, people would not know where Thames Valley is. A chapter application and budget plan was submitted in November 2002.
In Feb 2003 chapter status was granted.
- Joyce McInernery, Chairperson
- Lynn Balzer, Vice Chair, Treasurer
- Linda Bakker, Secretary
- Tina Perlman and Arlene Rossini, co-chairs Education & Patient Support
- Tammy Jones, Volunteer Development
- Linda Simpson, Fundraising
- Lynn Balzer, Communication
The Next Ten Years…
Sadly, it was impossible to include an entire decade’s worth of activities in this article, although we tried! As an alternative we have highlighted a few of the London Chapter’s most memorable achievements from 2003 to present, including many Chapter ‘firsts’.
May 4, 2003 – Immediately plans were underway for the Chapter’s 1st Bone China Tea. Looking back on old photos there appeared to be many attending, lots of silent auction items, live entertainment and even firemen…but not to put out any fire!
2004 – Lynn Balzer takes on the role of Chapter Chair
March 2004 – The “new chapter” announcement cards were mailed out to 2000 stakeholders in Elgin, Middlesex and Oxford Counties. The card was designed byArlene Rossini’s daughter, Jennifer.
April 2004 – An Ice Cream Social was held to celebrate the first year of the chapter.
Summer of 2004 – The first chapter newsletter was published titled “Bones News”.
January 2004 – Weekly Health Knowledge Training started with 10-12 people attending conducted by Arlene Rossini and Tina Perlman, the two chairpersons of the education committee.
June 5, 2005 - First Annual Hand in Hand Generation Walk/Run.
September 2005 – Teresa Cristiano-Flanagan takes on the role of Chapter Chair
2005 – The Backbone Award was presented to Ann Fitchett who has been a volunteer since 2003. Ann was a volunteer at the beginning of the Steering Committee days.
Back Bone award presented to Ann Fitchett (sitting down) by chairperson Teresa Cristiano-Flanagan
November 2006 – The office officially moved into the Grosvenor Lodge and shared the office space with Osteoporosis Strategy. Grosvenor Lodge is a city owned, self sustained historic estate. It is a home and centre for non-profit heritage environmental groups. It was built in 1853.
Education Forum: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Exercise
April 2010 – Joanne Legros-Kelly takes on the role of Chapter Chairperson.
“I belong to a group of women that meet once a month for dinner meetings and was approached by someone I only knew from a distance. She told me at that time that one day she would like to join our group as she felt she was on the risk list. Her name is Joanne Legros-Kelly and I never forgot that discussion. I had seen her in action at this club and felt her strong leadership skills would be an asset to our chapter. The timing was perfect, our current chair of many years Teresa Cristiano-Flanagan was stepping down. Though Joanne was interested in starting with the chapter in a smaller role and working her way up to chairperson that was not to be. After several discussions and gentle persuasion she did agree to take on the role of chairperson in. Her skills have been greatly appreciated as she continues to lead us on to bigger and better events.”
-Helen Mason, Office Coordinator
“Bling for Bones” event held at the Grosvenor Lodge.
Fun Fact: You will notice that the volunteers are wearing purple flowers. Many years ago a volunteer made these and napkins out of lovely purple material. They are used at all of events to make others aware that we are the Osteoporosis volunteers.
Feb 14, 2012 – hosted Break out the Cards event at a local church.
The executive participating in the fun:left to right Ann Nantes, Ann Fitchett, Danielle Myers, Arlene Rossini, couple of guests in the background.
Every year the chapter is invited to many health fairs, asked to speak to local groups, including senior residences and church groups. They have a dedicated team of speakers and are currently training several new volunteers who will be looking after communities in the surrounding area. They are so pleased to have them on board.
Over the years a number of people have come and gone but still several are still close by to help, Ann Fitchett who helps faithfully at health fairs, Susan Dean who is involved in the volunteer development of the chapter and Arlene Rossini who still does speaking presentations and is helping to train the new speakers. Arlene remembers a time when she was speaking at a retirement residence and one of the guests had fallen asleep, all of a sudden she woke up and started to clap thinking the presentation was over with. Arlene just smiled and continued with her presentation.
After 10 years, the London Thames Valley Chapter is as busy as ever, with even bigger plans for the coming year. They have evolved the bone china tea and fashion show, to a fashion event. On June 9, 2013, they will hold their third annual “what not to wear” event. They are also venturing into their first couples fundraiser with a Beer and Bones and Silent Auction on September 27, 2013. In addition, they are committed to an annual educational forum and have embraced virtual forums.
In September 2012 the Chapter worked hard to plan their first professional forum. Due to poor pre-registration, possibly due to a short marketing period, the event was cancelled.Undeterred, they remain committed to hosting a professional forum and are now planning one for March 2014. With a dynamic Executive Board made up of talented committed individuals from the professional, business and non-profit sectors, they are sure to succeed. Recently they recruited a new Treasurer to the team as their present Treasurer completes her term at the end of March. They are presently seeking to fill the position of Community Outreach Coordinator, as well as more members at large, to ensure succession planning.
And, last but not least, the Chapter will celebrate their 10th anniversary with a bang during November Osteoporosis month. With plans to invite the mayors of the major cities in their catchment (Elgin, London, Middlesex and Oxford counties), political representatives, the SAC members who live nearby, Osteoporosis Strategy Staff, Staff from National, Osteoporosis clinic staff and clients, OC members, other Chapter reps, past and present supporters, donors, sponsors, and all interested public, it promises to be a celebration to remember!
On behalf of the London Thames Valley Chapter: “I hope many of you can join us!”