“Participating in Sanctum Survivor has really opened my eyes around some of the things we do,” said Scott Livingstone, Saskatchewan Health Authority CEO and one of the 10 Sanctum Survivor participants May 30 and 31 in Saskatoon. “We schedule everything around healthcare, around ourselves, instead of the people trying to access services. People have so many other responsibilities…we need to remember that and work with them. I’ll reflect on this experience a lot.”
Participants in the 2019 Sanctum Survivor (Standing, from left): Peter Stoicheff (President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Saskatchewan), Scott Livingstone (CEO, Saskatchewan Health Authority), Stephanie Clovechok (President ,Tourism Saskatoon), Dr. Mahli Brindamour (Pediatrician), Albert Jame (Partner and Strategy Director, zu), Todd Denzin (Vice-President, Nutrien), Dr. Peter Butt (Mental Health & Addictions Physician and Department of Famil y Medicine Professor), Dr. Sibasis Daspal (Assistant Professor and Neonatalogist, University of Saskatchewan and Royal University Hospital), and Troy Cooper (Chief, Saskatoon Police Service). (Kneeling): Kurt Dahl (Lawyer and Drummer)
Sanctum Survivor is a 36-hour fundraiser for Sanctum Care Group, which supports people living with HIV/AIDS in Saskatoon. For the last four years, local leaders in the community have raised money and gained insight into the many difficulties faced by people who experience poverty, homelessness and chronic illness through a 36 hour challenge.
To make the challenge as realistic as possible, participants wear donated clothes and shoes and are not be allowed any personal belongings other than a phone to update the public on their journey. They are also often given health or mobility challenges, like pregnancy, a chronic disease or a wheelchair to use. Their 36 hours are spent completing approximately 20 scenarios around the city including getting identification, finding food, health checks, mental health checks, accessing social services, HIV testing and Naloxone training.
Scott and Kurt spent the night of May 30 in Kinsmen Park, sleeping outdoors in cool 5C temperatures with only the clothes on their backs and some cardboard they found in their travels, along with two other participants. Heading into the night he said, “People have to do this every night. (We) will be okay.”
At the end of the event, Scott, who spent his time without his glasses and with a diabetes diagnosis as part of his challenge, reflected, “I’m tired, both physically and mentally, but thankful. I met nine people who I didn’t know very well and now I’m feeling I know them very well. We’ll take what we learned during these last two days and apply it to changing and filling some of the gaps we saw in Saskatoon and around the province.”