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Meet The Team: Canada

Anita Dianna Alexander:  City Representative for Vancouver

Anita Dianna Alexander, MCS International City Representative for Vancouver, Canada . The Chemical Connection:  I've heard that most MCS sufferers can pinpoint the activation of their disease within a significant chemical exposure. I cannot claim this. My Family has somewhat clearly shown a sensitivity inheritance from birth. Both I and my mother became aware of life interfering symptoms around the age of eight, (that would be as early as 1936).

I am at least a 5th generation sufferer with two half siblings having milder forms (the eldest, the least), and a 6th generation nephew exhibiting almost from birth. In spite of our great predisposition, chemicals certainly exacerbate if not trigger my system to imbalance itself and therefore react negatively.

As a baby, a head to toe rash from apple juice, between 4 and 6 a consistent night cough from an old feather pillow, age 8 and daily head cold symptoms from candy and cat dander. By 10, diagnosed with Scoliosis (double spinal curve) "unknown cause", now it is apparent, imbalanced growth chemicals. Aged 11, an external traditional solution was applied; an orthopedic brace from chin to hips worn 23 hours, 7 days a week until age 15. Also at 11 years of age, a move to a new apartment with bay windows ground level with a 19+ car park and near the laundry room vent. This keeps a fresh supply of pollution and chemicals circulating for 30 years. At 19 years of age a 7 month hairdressing chemical course obviously uncompleted. From age 25-28 exposure to acrylic polymer paints increased food and environmental sensitivities to the point of Universal Reactor (probably speeding up the pollution etc interference).

Background Information:  I was born in 1967 in Vancouver B.C. Canada. Studied figure skating , working on and performing experimental choreography. MCS prevented me physically completing all the requirements for full teaching certification (muscle weakness), although performance and choreographic work was achieved. So I turned to visual art. Exhibited paintings in two group shows and had a solo exhibition of 3 feet and 4 feet acrylic canvases in 1995. I was Directorial Secretary for the Helen Pitt Gallery in 1996, where (although writing since my teens) I was termed 'poet' after the gallery newsletter printed a poem.

As the ability to paint with acrylics receded, I started reading my poems at various public venues around Vancouver and organized as well as hosted poetry events. I developed, wrote and self published and art-zine called 'Apollosenses'. I have curate'd, written art exhibition catalogues and essays. I have worked as a campaign representative for an electoral reform petition for Proportional Representation instead of our 'First Past the Post' system.

I have self published a book of 38 poems, illustrated, entitled ' Intolerance' in 2003. Un July of the same year I met an Indian Meditation Master and it proved to be a pivotal experience for me. My second book, a chapbook (small poetry book) of 11 poems was published in 2005 entitled ' Mysticals. In May of the same year I was initiated into the Sant Mat meditation practice and began meditating at least 3 hours daily.

My poem No-Man's-Land from 'Intolerance' was also published in the Ecological Health Alliance Support News, Spring 2004 Is. #20B.C. Branch of the Allergy and Environment Health Assoc' of Canada. I am still writing and sketching when the muses come and an currently working (Feb. 2008) on my ability in order to integrate guitar and vocal work with some of my more lyric-like poems and to sing the praises of the Great 'One'.

The Wider Context:  Since I have lived with MCS and EHS my whole life, only about the first 7 years of my life were fairly normal health-wise, when my condition was milder. Lack of awareness on my family's part and continued 20th century urban living obviously changed that.

MCS halted my formal schooling at 15, preventing an traditional leap into the world. It had curtailed employment nearly completely and visits with relatives. I have never been on an airplane, driven a car, learned the computer or owned a cell phone. It has directed my hand at every self-made career turn, but it has also given me a first hand awareness of the environment and the inter-connectedness of all things that seems invaluable for this age.

It had been quite a journey, as I believe anyone with this condition can attest. There is also the problem of why it is that one seems to need to have this condition in order to understand and believe in it? Lack of awareness due to lack of support.

If our insights as MCS, CFS, ME, EHS, etc. 'survivors' are to be considered, then lets make it our special heritage to be the custodians of a legacy to help the rest of the world know what we know in our bones.

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