In November of 2013, I was uncertain if I had what it took to grow Neurological Wellness Association into a functional model that could deliver health benefits in a meaningful way to an unlimited amount of people. I was recovering from the passing of our co-founder Izrael Brown. We had six professional members and 36 personal members. We had no system for database management, 2 fundraisers and a half functioning human at the helm. It did not look good.
Personally giving up seemed easy. Our souls had been ripped out by heavy-handed legislation over our NeuroWell trail less than a year earlier. Our project on nutritional therapy was bundled up in a ball of red tape that could only belong to the world’s largest bureaucratic kitten. There was no money and the debt collectors seemed like good friends who would never come to dinner. A serious amount of soul searching and a decent amount of ale helped me to see that I had to carry on despite the challenges that lay ahead. All the experience that lead us to create NWA could not evaporate into the ether. Throwing away a model that could change the lives of so many people seemed like a worse decision than carrying on. So I did what I had to do. I sat down at the computer and put a help wanted ad on Craigslist.
I threw the model out into the world in hoping that optimism and resilience would see me through the winter. We started in South Western B.C. and started building a piece at a time with our sights set on every market between Victoria and St.John’s. Along the way, we found the Red Rabbit Studio who built our website and gave us a member management system. We hired John Cazander who almost single-handedly fundraised us to fiscal responsibility. My assistant, at the time, Katherine Henly worked diligently to keep the ship afloat while I dove into the creative spaces necessary to present our ideas to the public. We incorporated in Alberta, then Ontario and told anyone who would listen that “We are Neurological Wellness, our mission is to help people who are living with neurological conditions access health services that are not paid for by the government.”
Well turns out it is working! Today we have 102 professional members who offer thousands of health beneficial services between them. Any person with a neurological condition or other serious medical concern can become a member and access discounted rates on health services without having to pay a penny. A member can visit a nutritionist in Ucluelet, see a Natural Doctor in Nanaimo, go for yoga in Victoria, have a massage in Vancouver, and there is Acupuncture in Kelowna for all! Why not visit a holistic spa in Nelson or see a team of chiropractors in Calgary while you are at it? We even have practitioners for people to see in that place known as Ontario and you can get a bag of organic hemp hearts delivered to your door anywhere in Canada.
NWA might still be small, there are definitely budget concerns, there are an untold number of grammatical errors in our literature, and I might just be a crazy dude who is essentially trying to create a health care system based on commerce. But, this is the beauty of small business in the free market and it can only get better
In the next year, we are going to expand at a torrid pace. We have changed membership categories for ease of use and I would like to politely demand that you get involved by becoming a member. I need you to do the following things: have fun, be healthy, and support our healing artists through your purchasing decisions. In return, I promise that our interactions will support people who are living with neurological and other serious medical conditions anytime, any place, and in a meaningful way.
Endless gratitude to every person who has ever contributed to this project. What it is and what it can be is nothing without your efforts!
Looking forward to the next 24 months,