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In May 2011, Kara accepted a job at Bell Mobility — Lee-Anne's place of employment at the time. The two worked alongside each other for a few weeks before making an important discovery: at a training event near the inner harbour of Victoria BC, they took a lunch break to walk along the water, and in casual conversation an unexpected exchange took place...

Kara: "So you dragonboat - can anyone join the team then?"
Lee-Anne: "Uhh...not quite. You know that I paddle with the MS Warriors right?"
Kara: "Yeah - how did you join then?"
Lee-Anne: "Well, um, you know how I said I 'volunteered' with the MS Society? Umm... I'm kiiiind of a member."
Kara: "YOU have MS?! I have MS!"
Lee-Anne: "You're in the Club? I'M IN THE CLUB!"
*High Five*
Kara Byrne puts more passion into the art of living than anyone I have ever met- and her mindset each day is the most incredible, inspirational, beautiful art I have ever known. Although MS doesn't always allow for speech or movement that is not clumsy, she still manages to dance with eloquence and float with a fluidity as she enters a room. She breathes gratitude for the life she is given and the hour, minute, and second hand on her finite clock ticks to all that she has achieved and will achieve in the future. The world needs to see this beautiful young woman watch movies at the cinema, or see a magic trick for the first time; she is like a wide-eyed child on Christmas morning. Kara tastes the world around her as though every colour were infused with flavour.

- Lee-Anne Fava
I've learned that letting go of the fear to take chances has tightened my grasp on life.

I've discovered the line between brave and stupid is often blurry to me... most of the time I end up straddling it (that's what she said).

I have a tendency to "that's what she said" myself... sometimes I do it when I'm home alone.

I am 25. When did that happen?

For five of my 25 years I have had Multiple Sclerosis. I have woken up blind, gone to bed numb, and been scared silly by the world's worst nosebleed known to man (seriously - Niagara Falls has nothing on this kind of spillage). Some people see it as an obstacle in life, but I see every challenge as potential to achieve an even greater victory, an excuse to live life now instead of later, and a lesson, for one should not wait for an excuse.

I believe in love; a genuine, overwhelming passion or regard for the mere existence of something or someone.

I think the world would look different without music.

I know living life without passion is like having a Big Mac with a Diet Coke... what's the point?

I believe that when someone in your life dies you won't ever forget why we make memories.

I have a degree that I'll probably never use, except when claiming my own intelligence.

My dad is the endless encouragement and driving force behind my creativity and, unfortunately, he gave to me a sense of humour I can't give back.

My mother is the very root of my strength and compassion, and my proof that sanity in the face of anything (including an unruly daughter) is possible.

I am the middle of three girls, lucky to be between two siblings that have offered so much support and patience for my sarcasm and lack of sisterly love (one day I'll hug you, or something).

I would normally be afraid to say all of these things... but then why bother with this project? These things are all part of life after all, and this project is about living it.
Lee-Anne Fava. Beauty personified. Joy in human form. Love in every sense of the word. She carries with her an unbounded passion for this life and a generosity that shines through when you think she can't possibly have anything left to give. She'll empty her pockets for you and open her heart to you without hesitation. Her smile is the biggest in any room and her fight startling for her tiny build. Her heart has tried to fail her and her nervous system attempts to disable her, but again and again she emerges a force to be reckoned with. She listens with her eyes, speaks directly to your soul and injects life into every moment. She leaves nothing and no one unchanged.

- Kara Byrne
I've died twice, gone blind twice, and learned how to walk again at 18.

But that is only a sliver of the pie that is me. Mmm pie...

I love food and live life loudly. I have a belly laugh that doesn't match my 5'2" frame. And I go to bed each night and relive if and how I have achieved each of my three mottos for life;

Did I not only learn something new today, but did I learn something new about myself today? The universe is infinite, and I cannot live a day on this planet without discovering something about our earth and society; but me? I am a being that I must remember to keep searching, foraging through the very depth and breadth of this body and soul.

Did I leave at least one situation better than I found it?

Did I have more fun today than I did yesterday? (The answer should always be "Oh my word yes...") Then I laugh, and go to sleep. And yes, even in my dreams I have MS, but I can fly there too ;)

I work two jobs, serving and staying up to my ears in paperwork, and I dragonboat and outrigger with the MS Warriors- a team that has taught me how to laugh when it hurts, cry when I need to, and push far beyond what I ever believed possible with this disease and of my mental and physical stamina.

I have a cat that weighs perhaps more than I, but I found her that way and love her for it.

The pure joy I find in food and my first awareness of gratitude at the ability to walk, comes from a heart condition I had from age 13-18 that prevented me from doing much physical activity (stairs, running) or letting even the slightest bit of cocoa or caffeine touch my lips. Easter sucked. If I laughed too hard it would set my heart to a rate 236 beats per minute; when this happened I had ten minutes to get to the hospital before my heart would possibly fibrillate, and I would cease to exist. I underwent a seven-and-a-half hour heart surgery for this Wolfe Parkinson White disease, awake the whole time, and with each passing second fully aware and appreciative for a heartbeat.

This experience required learning how to walk again, as the surgery damaged my femoral vein and artery, which made starting university four-hours from home just three weeks later an achievement.

I graduated from York University with a BA in Theatre, and loved the Dean's List and President's List head nod.

Now I live in the real world, pay rent and love this island in the Pacific I now call home. My roots are in North Bay Ontario, as is my very extensive family. The strength in my Momma-bear, two protective older brothers, my wonderful papa, more outrageous and supportive aunts and uncles than numbers allow, and 27 cousins I cherish so dear- is overwhelming. There is so much of this life to live, for me and for them, and every day is truly exciting. Thank-you for joining in this adventure.