Unsinkable is a story-sharing platform hosted by four-time Olympian, Silken Laumann. Our mission is to connect and empower Canadians to achieve better mental, physical and spiritual health. Whether celebrity, neighbour, youth or health expert; our stories hold wisdom and power. We are creating a connected community to empower Canadians on their journey to greatness. Together, we are Unsinkable.
In 1992 I had my own high-profile Olympic story. While warming up for a World Cup Regatta in Germany, another boat collided full force into mine, driving hundreds of wood splinters into my lower right leg, smashing my ankle, destroying skin and tearing muscle from bone. I was told I would never compete at the Olympics’ again, and that I would walk with a slight limp. Ten weeks later I won an Olympic Bronze medal. From that moment onward I have heard people’s stories. At first, they were stories of people overcoming physical adversity, motorcycle accidents that tore up half their bodies, childhood diseases that left them walking with braces, stories of courage and perseverance that inspired me each time I heard one. I often thought, I wish everyone could hear these stories! Recently, when I wrote my book Unsinkable, I shared my struggles as a young child growing up with a mom who had an undiagnosed mental illness. I shared my own story about struggling with anxiety and depression and the shame I carried with me for most of my life. Canadians, again, shared their stories with me. Whether they were talking about their own struggles with mental illness or their experiences with physical adversity, because I shared so openly with them, their stories were going deeper and touching upon aspects of self-awareness and personal pain that many of us have struggled with.
I want you to hear these stories.
I want you to hear from your heroes, your friends, your neighbours, your children, because their stories have the power to uplift, give courage, and connect us. I wanted to create a space where anybody could go to read about human strength and struggle, get inspired by another’s perseverance, and be uplifted by another human being’s capacity for love. People remember and people connect through storytelling. I hope you see yourself in some of these stories, I hope you identify a little bit of your own courage and tenacity in these fellow Canadians’ lives. What I have taken away is that we are a hearty lot with more guts and determination than we give ourselves credit for.
“We have all struggled. Sharing our stories and the strategies that helped us is a gift to others. Collectively, our lived experience has tremendous power to provide hope, help, and inspiration. I created Unsinkable to give Canadians a voice, an outlet, and a supportive community. I want Canadians to know that together we really are unsinkable.”
Silken Laumann - Olympian
I have worked alongside Silken from the conception of this project. From hearing her say the words, “I have always wanted to create a platform that empowers people through story” to actually building this beautiful masterpiece, it’s hard to describe how much this project means to me.
Growing up, I knew I wanted a job where I could connect with and help people, but I landed in Marketing and Communications. After working in various industries from wellness to tech, I have found my home at Unsinkable. I’m now working in my sweet spot: building a business while also impacting lives. Knowing my efforts make a difference is an absolute gift. I wake up every single day excited to work on Unsinkable. I am grateful for the opportunity to spend my time on something so powerful, so impactful, so necessary in our world.
This project was born completely out of Silken’s passion for helping others. It has shown me the strength in vulnerability. It has taught me how to slow down while going a mile a minute. It continues to teach me that together, we can turn our darkness into our greatest gifts. I look forward to leading such a strong and dynamic team as we make Unsinkable a source of strength and support for Canadians.
Fresh out of school and thrown right into the deep end of adulthood. I guess it’s fitting the first project I’m a part of is titled Unsinkable. Ironically enough, I can’t even swim! Unsinkable. First time I saw that name I was browsing university job boards. I was down on myself. Four years of schooling and I had no idea where I wanted to go or where I would fit. Little did I know then that I would end up here, writing this.
Everyone knows of my addiction to sports, my love of pro wrestling and my admiration of cinema and music, but many don’t know my struggles. Seeing that post was like a calling, a way I could accept what I went through and help others. There were tons of ways I could’ve done that already but Unsinkable was different. A place where someone could read stories from Canadians sharing their struggles? That blew my mind. It was so simple yet so vital. It was what I could’ve benefited from. A place to go and just read what others had to say. No fear of being exposed. A place to not feel alone. The more I was told about Unsinkable, the more I knew I wanted to be a part of this project in whatever way I could be.
Fast forward six months. Here I am. Here you are. Here it is. A place of courage. A place of honesty. A place of inspiration. A place we’re all Unsinkable.
I live, work and play in Victoria, BC with my husband and two mighty daughters. I have been in love with words for as long as I can remember: spoken, written, sung, you name it. If it involves words, I am interested. This interest combined with my dream of becoming a writer led me to the University of Victoria’s Creative Writing program where I completed a double major in Creative Writing and Political Science (also all words).
When the opportunity to work on the Unsinkable project came up, I would have said yes no matter what for a few reasons: 1) I have worked with Silken in the past and have long admired her heart, kindness, intelligence, determination, and way of getting things done – in other words, if she’s asking, I’m in! 2) When Silken explained the concept of, and intention behind, Unsinkable I couldn’t think of a better project than this to be a part of. At a time in human history when so much seems to be going so wrong, anything that gives us the chance to share our stories, to be seen and celebrated on an honest and supportive platform, to offer hope and to be of help to others, to foster connections that are real and lasting, is worth my energy; 3) Because I don’t know anyone (self included) who has not struggled with some aspect of their mental health. I don’t know anyone who has not felt alone or isolated by what they are experiencing, and I also don’t know a single person who took the risk of sharing what they were going through that did not benefit from doing so. Sharing our battles with people who are safe is not a cure all, but it is profoundly impactful and integral to healing. My deep and personal thanks to everyone who has volunteered to tell their stories here so that they may do good for someone else.
My life is richer, my outlook brighter, and my heart full because of my work with Unsinkable.