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In the 12 years Cailin Banks has been a UHN employee, she has seen firsthand the effects that arthritis and autoimmune diseases have on patients, their families and the hospital staff that help them.
On Sunday, March 2, 2014, thousands of Canadians will take part in the 'Power of Movement', Canada's largest yoga fundraiser. Funds raised from the event go towards life changing research benefitting more than 4.6 million Canadians living with arthritis and autoimmune conditions.
Banks will be one of many Canadians dedicated to beating arthritis this year at the Sheraton downtown Toronto hotel. The fundraiser begins at 11 a.m. Dr. Bob Bell, President and CEO, University Health Network (UHN), is once again the Captain of Team UHN.
Banks moved by 'vibrant young women' fighting disease
Banks began her career as a Registered Nurse Practitioner in Orthopedics and Rheumatology. She was struck by the number of women her own age or younger admitted to the clinic for treatment.
"It gave me an incredible sense of empathy for this population," said Banks. "I have not been personally touched by these diseases, but seeing these young, vibrant women who remind me of myself made me really want to do something more to help."
Following her work as a staff nurse, Banks moved into an educator position with UHN's Patient-Centred Care initiative. She currently works in Infection Prevention and Control.
In 2011, returning from maternity leave, Banks was extremely moved by the circumstances pertaining to a young woman with an autoimmune disease. Within a month of admission, she passed away as a result of a hospital acquired infection.
"It was really shocking to see that happen so quickly", Banks remembered. "She was just so young."
Soon after the patient passed away, Banks received the email from Bell, announcing he was Captain of Team UHN for 'Power of Movement'.
Banks has 'power to move' 35 weeks into pregnancy
"Dr. Bell's email came at the most opportune time for me. I thought it would be a perfect way to give back and honour this patient. I signed up immediately," said Banks, who went on to raise more than $300 for her first 'Power of Movement', and has raised nearly $1,000 over the last three years.
This year, at 'Power of Movement', Banks will be 35 weeks pregnant.
"I will be working with my own limitations that day, but I know I don't have to wake up every day and face the pain and mobility issues that face so many people who are living with arthritis and autoimmune diseases," said Banks. "I am doing my part as an employee of UHN and also as a person who wants to help make the world a better place!"
"With over 4.6 million Canadians affected by this group of diseases, there is an overwhelming need to accelerate research to ensure the cure is found," said Dino Sophocleous, the Executive Director of the Arthritis Research Foundation. "By supporting the Power of Movement Yoga Challenge fundraising event, we will get closer to our goal. I look forward to seeing you on March 2."
For more information, please visit www.powerofmovement.ca or click here to go directly to the Team UHN page.