On October 12, 2018, HepCBC sent two volunteers to man a hepatitis B and hepatitis C info booth at the Coast Mental Health Clubhouse (11th Avenue and Sophia Street in Vancouver).
Leon Anderson and Cheryl Reitz met with many friendly clients and staff members at the Clubhouse for about 90 minutes. Our table, next to the entrance to the lunchroom, allowed us to have great conversations with people (lining up there for the mid-day meal) about the latest developments in viral hepatitis research, particularly the most recent information about risk factors, testing, and treatment.
Many of the clients talked with us and took home our materials which were available in several languages; Chinese was the most popular non-English language today. Our liver model drew people’s attention, but the most commonly-asked question was how/where to get tested nearby. Lunch was hearty and plentiful! The (large!) main plate is free to all clients. However if they want dessert or juice, they must pay a little extra. Everyone at this employment-centred clubhouse had an assigned job to do, and everything seemed to go very smoothly.
Leon (above) is researching/writing a book covering his personal struggles with hepatitis C and other health issues, and deals with the “Sixties Scoop” government fostering and adoption policies which affected aboriginal communities during the 1960’s – and long beyond. These widespread practices fractured his family, cutting Leon and his siblings off from one another for decades.
Leon particularly enjoys meeting other Sixties Scoop and Residential School survivors, one of the occasional perks of his frequent volunteering with HepCBC at info booths throughout BC.