Hi! I'm Natasha and I am 18 years old. I am in Biomedical Sciences Program - French Immersion Stream at the University of Ottawa. I was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis at the age of 13. At the time, I joined a support group called Cassie and Friends where I soon became one of two teen arthritis auto-inflammatory group leaders. After tons of discussion with other youth and 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. I believe that I have grown in so many ways since my diagnosis.
I have developed a lot of resilience and also learned to advocate for not only myself but others. Additionally, 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 1 of the 6 fully-funded students to become 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 medical 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!