Lisa Benshabat

*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.

Watch CityTV News story here.

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

Lisa Benshabat, Interstitial Cystitis

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

Read more about Lisa’s story here.

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. 

On September 13th 2020, Gail and her family commemorated Lisa’s legacy by placing a bench at Dwight Beach, Lake of Bays. The bench will also commemorate those living with IC/BPS and remember those who left us too soon.

Lisa Memory

A letter about Lisa from her sister, Sherry Avadiev:

On June 13, 1988, Lisa was born to our family, and with that day came 27 full years of laughter, adventure, and an unparalleled love. She was adored by all who knew her, and this was undoubtedly due to the compassion and empathy she so freely gave to all. In truth, it’s a wonder she had the capacity to feel for other people’s struggles in the way that she did, as she suffered with the debilitating physical pain and mental anguish that comes with a condition called interstitial cyctitis. 
In spite of it all, Lisa found the strength and courage to find meaning in life. Her sensitive nature led her interests, as she spent time caring for stray animals, speaking with the homeless about their stories, and pursuing a career in early childhood care. She also found great catharsis in her natural artistic abilities with drawing and playing guitar. 
Playing music lifted Lisa’s spirits on some of her heaviest of days, and yet it also played the soundtrack to some of our family’s most memorable ones. Though Lisa is no longer with us, it is when we hear those very songs she used to play for us, that we feel closest to her. 
Some 15 years ago, I happened to gift her with a necklace charm in the shape of a guitar pick. Engraved on this pick are the biblical words that correspond with Lisa’s Hebrew name:
“את המוזיקה הזאת אי אפשר להפסיק”
“This music will never stop.” 
Since Lisa’s passing, this pendant has become an emblem of her spirit, and these words remind us that just as the songs she once played have never stopped finding their way to us, so too has her spirit never stopped finding its way to us. 
Though Lisa’s choice to leave this world on February 9, 2016 will always be the most defining and difficult experience for our family, we have always respected her choice, and we will always honour the grace and strength she possessed in the face of her pain.
As a way of commemorating Lisa, and the struggles of all those who have faced, and continue to face, the wrath of IC, her family and loved ones will be erecting a bench in her name. 
The bench will be located on Dwight Beach in the Lake of Bays: a place that our family spent many a summer day making countless memories. On this bench will be inscribed those very words that remind us of Lisa. We hope that family and friends will come to this place and create their own memories set against the backdrop of Lisa’s unstoppable music.
– Sherry Avadiev (Lisa’s sister)

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