Butterflies in My Stomach: The true story of a woman with Down syndrome who overcomes discrimination, and her own fears, to blossom into an artist.
“Butterflies in My Stomach” is Teresa Pocock’s video project. It’s a pitch to produce a video which tells Teresa’s story about overcoming discrimination — and her own fears — to blossom as an artist in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.
Here is Teresa’s 60-second StoryHive pitch:
Butterflies in My Stomach: Synopsis
This is the true story of Teresa Pocock, a woman with Down syndrome who has overcome discrimination and her own fears, to blossom into an award-winning artist and author. Four years ago, at age 49, Teresa was written off as “incapable” and was forced into a old-age nursing home in Ontario. Teresa did not want to live there. Her father and a sister rescued her, and Teresa moved across the country to B.C. to start a new life. “Butterflies in My Stomach” will tell her remarkable journey: How 26,000 people on Change.org, as well as civil rights organizations, and the media, helped Teresa get an apology from the government. And how Teresa’s new community in Vancouver, helped her to have confidence and emerge as a professional artist and a self-advocate.
With the stroke of a pen, Teresa Pocock’s human right to decide where she lives was wrongly taken away.
In a heart-breaking move, Teresa, my sister-in-law who has Down syndrome, was forced against her will into an old-age nursing home, by the Toronto Central CCAC (Community Care Access Centre) and two of my siblings. Four days later, she was rescued by my 91-year old father who was “adamant” he did not want his daughter living in a nursing home. But then the nursing home called the police, in a shockingly callous and bizarre effort to force her back.
Teresa is demanding an apology from these two institutions, the CCAC and the Rekai Centre. This is a sorry mess. Her records show that the crisis list was manipulated to get Teresa to the very top, and placed in the nursing home. Her profile contained false information which made her appear to need 24/7 care. See the presentation I made with Teresa, to the Ontario Government’s Select Committee:
On July 22, 2014, the Ontario Government’s Select Committee published their final report. It states: “Long-term care homes are pressured to accommodate young and middle-aged people with developmental disabilities without any medical need for this type of care or any training to support this group of clients.”
By signing this petition you can help Teresa get an apology for the harm done to her. Teresa is asking the CCAC to apologize for wrongly taking away her human right to decide where she lives. Teresa is asking the Rekai Centre to apologize for calling the police in a completely unnecessary, intimidating and callous attempt to force her back into their institution.
Over three months ago we filed a 12-page complaint with the Ontario Ministry of Health. We have only heard they are “inspecting” the matter.
We need a full apology from both institutions because this is not just about one person — it’s about standing up for and protecting the human rights of all people with disabilities.
On November 27, 2013, at the age of 49, Teresa was forced into a nursing home against her wishes and against the wishes of her father. Four days later, Teresa’s father went to the nursing home, and as her Senior Power of Attorney signed the paperwork to have her discharged, and Teresa returned home.
Police Were Called to Force Teresa’s Return
But the police were called to force Teresa’s return to the nursing home. Luckily the police decided that Teresa was safe living with us.
Petition for an Apology
On World Down Syndrome Day, March 21st, we launched a petition asking the CCAC (Community Care Access Centre) and the Rekai Center to apologize for the harm they caused Teresa. Specifically, Teresa is asking the CCAC to apologize for improperly taking away her human right to decide where she lives. She is asking the Rekai Centre to apologize for calling the police to force her back into their long-term care home.
However, the Rekai Centre has still not apologized. The Rekai Centre CEO, Mary Hoare, has not responded in any way to Teresa’s petition. Are they trying to ignore Teresa? Hoping that the problem will just go away?
Teresa’s human rights should never have been taken away
That is why we need more people to sign her petition, and demand an apology from the Rekai Centre.