Justina Page is a natural storyteller who speaks with a bold and refreshing honesty that touches the hearts of audiences. Her speeches unfold with a combination of humor, insightful observation and wisdom, as well as practical application. Justina is a woman whose faith was tested by fire. She now inspires audiences across the country with a powerful message of hope and triumph.
Her award winning book, The Circle of Fire, tells the story of how Justina's life was changed forever when fire swept through her home, March 7, 1999. The loss of her 22 month old twin son, Amos, the severe and lasting injuries of her other twin son, Benjamin, and her own devastating experience of third degree burns covering 55 percent of her body affected the entire family.
With the support of her husband, James, and their surviving children, as well as her dedicated church family, Justina was able to use the power of faith and love to turn tragedy into triumph. From the ashes of fire a new hope has emerged. She is the Founder and Executive Director of The Amos House of Faith, a non-profit organization, established to provide post-burn support to children and families affected by burn trauma.
Justina was a guest speaker at the last conference in Winnipeg two years ago. Her amazing personality and story was so popular we decided to bring her back to Halifax for this conference. Justina has assured us she will have a fresh new presentation that will be every bit enlightening as her last.
When you see Michael Gaultois enter a room you know that he has a story to tell; it is written all over him. At the young age of 15, Michael was tragically burned in a cabin fire which has forever changed the direction of his life. Although he has many challenges on his road to recovery, Michael’s powerful message of hope and determination will help others to realize that they too can find joy in the journey of life no matter what obstacles they may face.
At school, Michael experienced difficulty. He did not apply himself to his full potential, and being of a small stature, he was bullied which led him to becoming depressed and unmotivated. Later, his recovery from his injuries would result in an extensive absence from class and this, combined with becoming a teenaged father, resulted in him dropping out. Michael realized that his only chance for opportunity and success would be to attain a higher education. He returned to high school and after much hard work, he graduated at the top of his class. From there, he then went on to obtain a Bachelor’s of arts degree in Psychology at Memorial University of Newfoundland.
Today, Michael is a self-employed professional speaker and believes that there is no limit to what we can achieve when we believe in ourselves. Although Michael may look different than most he realizes that it is certainly not a limitation, but an opportunity to educate others. Life will always have its challenges, it is how we choose to deal with them is what really matters.
Dr. Michael Bezuhly is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Surgery and Microbiology and Immunology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. He completed his undergraduate degree at McGill University and his medical degree at the University of Toronto. He received his residency training in plastic surgery at Dalhousie. He also completed the Royal College Clinician-Investigator Program, obtaining graduate degrees in Anatomy and Neurobiology from Dalhousie University and Epidemiology from Harvard University. After completing residency training at Dalhousie University, Dr. Bezuhly received additional subspecialty training in pediatric plastic surgery at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada and in craniofacial surgery at the Hôpital Necker-Enfants Malades in Paris, France.
Dr. Bezuhly joined the IWK in January 2012 as an attending plastic surgeon. His principal clinical and research interests include craniofacial remodeling, cleft lip and palate repair, and burn outcomes. He is the Plastic Surgery Division Head, lead surgeon on the Cleft Palate Team, and the Team Lead of the multidisciplinary Craniofacial Clinic. He is a member of the American Cleft Palate Association, International Society for Craniofacial Surgery, Plastic Surgery Research Council, the Canadian and American Societies of Plastic Surgeons, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. As a clinician-scientist, he has over 60 peer-reviewed publications and holds several research grants. Outside of the OR and clinic, he also runs a full-time laboratory where he investigates new approaches for treating abnormal scarring.
Dan Plexman is from Thunder Bay, Ontario and is 44 years old. He has worked across Canada in various positions since the age of 16.In his early “30’s”, Dan started a high voltage electrical apprenticeship , close to his home town, when he was seriously injured at work.
September 30,2008 is the day that Dan’s’ life changed forever. While operating a man-lift in an electrical generating station, the live, 115kilovolt overhead power lines created an electrical arc with the steel “bucket” of the man-lift and a massive fire was the result. Dan received 3rd degree burns to 70% of his body before falling 17 feet to the ground, clinging to life with a 13% chance of survival.
The last 9 years Dan has been having surgeries, medical procedures and therapy but these were not his only focus in life. The physical trauma was extreme but coping with the anger, depression, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has been in the forefront of his entire healing process.
Dan believes that this accident was a gift that forced him to look at other issues from his past. “Life” can turn your heart to cold stone and compress your mind into hard rock leaving you unable to feel the warmth of love and respect the feelings of others. Living life with these cold emotions and a hard attitude are sometimes the only coping mechanisms that you learn to rely on. Dan is honoured to share his deepest emotions and sincerest thoughts in hopes that a few people can learn different strategies and develop thought process that can warm "The Coldest of Stones and Soften the Hardest of Rocks".
Nova Scotia born Deborah Blaney Ward is the author of “Silently Weeping”, an autobiography of her life after suffering burns to over 70% of her body at the tender age of 7. Deborah's Life story reflects her belief that there is always "hope" no matter what the situation.
Deborah devotes most of her time to burn support through local organizations. She is President of the Nova Scotia Burn Support Group, Secretary Treasurer for the Canadian Burn Survivor Community, President of the Avon Boat Club, Secretary for Tidewater Burn Support Group (an American Support Group) and a hospital volunteer. She is a peer support worker with burn survivors and regularly supports others on the Burn Victim Survivor Facebook page.
Deborah is an accomplished speaker and is available for presentations at schools, clubs, service organizations and more.
Information on other speakers will be posted soon. Please check back later ...