Please help make the Sunday, October 3, 2021 … ‘a million things I need to say’ 1K/5K Walk /Run / Roll for Stuttering Awareness and Fundraiser in support of The Newfoundland and Labrador Stuttering Association a success by promoting it.
Many of you are unaware of the history behind the development of … ‘a million things I need to say’ 1K / 5K Walk and Run for Stuttering Awareness. This year I thought that I would provide you with, ‘just a glimpse’ of its history, along with historical pictures and brochures.
So enjoy this read down memory lane!
It started with an email to Dr. Robert (Bob) Kroll, my Speech-Language Pathologists (SLP) in Toronto and the Executive Director of The Speech and Stuttering Institute (SSI) in November of 2011. This email was to share my idea about establishing a Walk and Run for Stuttering Awareness and Fundraiser in support of the SSI as a way of giving back and paying it forward to the SSI for the clinical treatment I received that helped me manage my severe stuttering over the years. Dr. Kroll’s email response about my idea was favorable. He also informed me that he had been wanting to establish such an event, but due to limited SSI staffing resources, he was unable to commit to developing such an event. However, as I reflect, to be truthful, this all started with my initial meeting with Dr. Kroll in the mid 1980’s when I met with Dr. Kroll for an initial assessment for clinical treatment for my severe stuttering.
As a result of my initial email to Dr. Kroll in 2011, and with the support of Dr. Kroll, The SSI staff and the support of an amazing group of volunteers, the first … ‘a million things I need to say’ 1K/ 5K Walk and Run for Stuttering Awareness and Fundraiser in Support of the SSI was held on September 23, 2012. This event continued for the next eight years and progressively gained support and funding for the SSI.
Now to fast forward to 2017, upon my retirement in 2017 and returning to my Newfoundland roots, settling in Mount Pearl, I started to explore supports available for people who stutter. I soon became aware that stuttering was not something that received a whole lot of attention, and that their was little understanding about stuttering in our province. I decided during this period, to help raise awareness, education, understanding and acceptance of stuttering in our province that I would establish … ‘a million things I need to say’ 1K / 5K Walk and Run for Stuttering Awareness in NL. To assist me with my quest, I was fortunate to connect and partner with The Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (NLASLPA). With NLASLPA’s support, the first … ‘a million things I need to say’ 1K / 5K Walk and Run for Stuttering Awareness was held on September 30, 2018.
A few days before this event, I was invited by NLASLPA to share my story as a person who stutters at their November 28, 2018 Conference. The afternoon after this Conference, I was contacted by a SLP who was present while I shared my story, to inquire if I would consider a meeting to discuss gaps in services and supports for people who stutter (PWS) in our province. Following our initial meeting, we decided to host a community meeting, inviting community members to have an informal discussion about current programs and treatment options for people who stutter, and identification of service gaps, and barriers and additional supports needed for PWS in our province. On Monday November 26, 2018, seven community people showed up and after a few hours of productive discussion, the Newfoundland and Labrador Stuttering Association (NLSA), an organization whose vision it is to bring awareness, education and services to people who stutter in the province was established. Six other passionate
individuals joined us later to support our work.
Since establishing the NLSA in 2018, we have come so far in meeting and working with our target population. We have established a monthly Support Group for people who stutter, their families and friends. The NLSA introduced the Fluency Plus Program, a specialized treatment program developed by The Speech and Stuttering Institute for people who stutter to our province (2021).
With the support of Dr. Paul De Decker, Associate Professor of Linguistics at Memorial University, and as the Primary Investigator, The NLSA Solidarity Collaborative Project was established (2020). The NLSA’s Solidarity Collaborative Project is an advocacy and research group currently
collecting province-wide data to demonstrate to our government that deficits exist in education, health, and mental health programs for people who stutter. More details about this ground breaking research and data gathering project can be found here. Dr. De Decker, his team and volunteers also developed a short documentary film called “Getting The Words Out” (summer of 2020) and a SOME STUTTER, LUH! Newfoundland and Labrador’s first weekly Podcast about Stuttering has been established (2021).
Sadly, Dr. Robert (Bob) Kroll passed on March 17, 2021. Dr. Kroll was a mentor and friend of The NLSA. Dr. Kroll’s leadership, guidance and support in helping establish The NLSA and his warmth as a person touched us all. He is missed terribly.
As my speech therapist, Dr. Kroll had a significant influence on my life. His spirit and legacy lives on knowing that a cross-sector group of awesome and dedicated volunteers, consisting of PWS, members of provincial government, public-school teachers, early childhood educators, SLPs, academics, university students, mental health professionals, disability advocates, and The NLSA, have come together around a common goal to address the current needs of people who stutter in our province, is continuing the good work that he started by inspiring The NLSA to help advocate and support people who stutter, our families and allies in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Much work has been accomplished to date; yet, there is still more work to be done! We still have a long journey ahead for Advocacy and Support in order to establish and have access to specialized, intensive and affordable treatment and services.
Please help make the October 3, 2021 … ‘a million things I need to say’ 1K/5K Walk / Run / Roll for Stuttering Awareness and Fundraiser in support of The Newfoundland and Labrador Stuttering Association A HUGE SUCCESS.
For those of you that did not have the opportunity to meet Dr. Robert (BOB) Kroll, The Speech and Stuttering Institute posted a Tribute to Bob on their website.
Rest in peace Our Great Friend and Thank You, so vey much!
Giving back by paying it forward has no expiry date!