Hi! I'm Natasha and I am a first-year student in the Biomedical Sciences Program in the French Immersion Stream at the University of Ottawa. I was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis at the age of 13. As a teenager, I felt alone and was unable to find the instant resources to connect with other people with similar lived experiences. After joining a support group 2 years into my journey and tons of discussion with other youth as well as the similarities of topics that were never shed light on, The Take a Pain Check Podcast was founded in March 2021 to ensure that young patients feel supported in every step of the way.
Throughout my journey, I have developed a lot of resilience and also learned to advocate for not only myself but others. I have learned that research, innovation, support and connection is vital.
During the pandemic, I decided to dedicate my summer to get involved with research so I could truly learn about my own invisible disability and help others. I am involved in multiple research studies and projects to help researchers across Canada with their work. Currently, I am in the COVID-END team with the McMaster University Health Forum and a Co-investigator for Youth engagement at CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research. I am also a trained patient researcher through the PaCER Training Program through the University of Calgary Continuing Education. With being a patient and obtaining research experience, my aim is to create a platform for youth living with arthritis and other rheumatic diseases, to raise awareness about support groups, and make a meaningful impact on the community. I aspire to go into the healthcare field. I started this podcast to make sure that no one else with an autoimmune condition has to go through this tough journey alone. I am super excited to continue on this journey with my amazing team and medical advisory board!