*Trigger Warning* Content may trigger readers who have experienced medical trauma and suicide
I first learned about Lisa Benshabat at the start of my IC journey in 2018.
I wasn’t getting a confirmed diagnosis due to wait times here in Canada, but I was told by my Gynaecologist that it most likely was the very difficult condition to treat: Interstitial Cystitis/BPS. Because of the wait to see a “IC Urologist” and the pain that I was in, I was doing a lot of my own research online + forums to try to find guidance, answers and relief.
One day I stumbled upon a news story on YouTube about a mother spreading IC/BPS awareness on MY LOCAL news network in Toronto. She was speaking out on the condition because her daughter, Lisa, who lived with IC and pelvic pain, took her life.
I was crushed and saddened by what I was hearing and a few things happened.
First, I learned Lisa lived in my city, was about my age, loved art, and tried to hide and push through her pain for so many years.
Just like me.
Also, I instantly related and developed a deep connection with Lisa’s mom, Gail Benshabat. Her words about Lisa’s life and struggles really resonated with me, despite the fact of never meeting her.
This news video, (that I watched curled up in bed with my heating pad) is what gave me an extra push to start this blog, in order to be able to spread awareness about IC/BPS and pelvic pain conditions here in Canada.
Fast forward to November 2019:
Gail and I officially met at a support group and since then, we have connected and discussed our goals for IC/BPS awareness and treatment here in Canada.
Gail is now one of the Facilitators of an IC Support Group within the Greater Toronto Area.
Her goal is to carry on her daughter Lisa’s legacy by creating more awareness surrounding IC/BPS and those suffering with chronic pain. She has since participated in talks at Canadian universities and internationally about the emotional impact of IC.
Lisa Benshabat's Story + Memorial Bench
For years, Canadian Lisa Benshabat was repeatedly told by her doctors that her pelvic pain and IC/BPS pain was in her head. Until she couldn’t take it anymore and took her life in 2016 at the age of 27.
Gail Benshabat, Lisa’s mother, is carrying on her daughter’s legacy by creating more awareness surrounding IC/BPS and those suffering with chronic pain. Gail wants to continue to search for answers for other women fighting the same battle that Lisa did and to let everyone know that IC has a significant emotional impact on its sufferers.
Dolores Runte, a friend of Gail’s, has started a GoFundMe to raise funds for a memorial bench that Lisa mentions in her letter below.
Personally, as an IC/BPS sufferer, I would love to be able to sit on the memorial bench one day, to sit, talk and cry with Lisa.