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A Survival Guide to Online Dating in your 50’s.



Online dating is advertised as the way to meet “interesting people” and boy some of them are really interesting.

There are 54,000,00 single men and women in the US. Of those 250,000 have tried online dating. This is a $1,700,000,000 industry. People spend $250 a year trying to find that special someone. There are slightly more men online dating than woman (52.4% male/47.6% female). And how many find their soul mate? Only 20%.  In Canada those numbers are about a third.

With society cocooning in their homes, the ability to meet new people becomes more and more limited and disconnected. Online dating isn’t the ideal but right now it is the only way to meet new people.

It is fraught with room for error. Men say they don’t understand women and women don’t understand men and when you add the typing and texting component, there is even more room for misunderstandings and missteps, well, it’s not surprising that it is only 20% find sucess. How can we make online dating easier and a more attractive option?

In an effort to get some answers, I interviewed three women and four men, ages 45 to 60, all active or recently active online daters.

At the end of the interviews, I have some online dating survival techniques and some alternate ways you might be able to meet new people in Surrey.

 Shara: Thank you for being willing to talk to me about so sensitive a subject as your love life. What is the biggest challenge you find with online dating?

Annie thinks “The biggest challenge for online dating is that there are so many no’s for so little yes’s, so very quickly we get focused on the negative part of things and we get very discouraged easily.”

“I found the whole thing disappointing. The people that I was meeting weren’t anything like their profile.” Jo agreed.

For Rob, he found that there are two types of women and there are challenges to dealing with each type.

“One wants to chat for a while on line and then talk on the phone (up to a month sometimes) while others are very straight forward. You exchange a few messages and they want to meet. You have to be able to figure out which one is which and respond accordingly.”

Susan thinks maybe men and women want different things at this stage in the game.

“Men have told me that they want a committed relationship but I am just looking for some fun.  How the roles have changed. I have been looking after people my whole life and at this stage of the game I am not interested in going back into the nurturing role. I want to learn to ride a motorcycle.”

Michael wants to find someone to marry but most of the women he talks to just want a travel companion or a fling. He finds it all very frustrating. I asked him why he wanted to get married.

“I want to be a part of a family again. I miss that. I think my kids miss that. What is wrong with being a wife?”

Half_Full_Cup thinks women want Fun, Security and Companionship/Intimacy.

“1. Fun. Many women in this bracket are emerging from long quasi-dysfunctional “holding pattern” relationships, often for the sake of raising children, or they are breaking free from the “golden cage” of marriages gone dead. 2. Security: as we age, we become insecure about growing old alone. Many of us have not dealt with our own issues about independence and solitude. 3. Companionship and Intimacy. This is simply the human side of being human: having someone to appreciate life’s adventures with, quality time and conversation, being heard and understood, enjoying physical and sexual intimacy.”

V had a different take on the challenges. He felt that the majority of online dating was too time consuming.

“There are too many fake profiles, too many people who misrepresent themselves or have no idea what they are looking for. And that is just waste of time, especially for professional people like myself who can’t afford to waste our time.”

My experience seems to indicate that women by and large, don’t know what they want and as such they don’t find it. It is hard to find what you want if you don’t know what you are looking for.


Annie says that women can get better at defining what they want from the experience and then write a profile that expresses that.

“I became discouraged and disappointed. I stopped and then went back and stopped again. I finally improved my profile, changed my strategy and read a lot of books to try and understand what I could improve and at some point I became good at it and started getting what I wanted.”

Jo: “I think I have been impatient. It is very discouraging to put time and effort into someone and then have them just disappear.”

Which led to my next question: Should people respond every time, even to express that they are not interested, when they receive a message on an online dating site?

Tips from Ask says no.

Is it considered poor etiquette to not respond to messages that a guy obviously put some thought into, if I am not interested in meeting him? Or should I just ignore?

It’s fine. Really, it’s fine. Your time is not unlimited, and you have no obligation to respond to every single message you get, just like you don’t have to accept a drink from every guy who offers you one in a bar.

If the message is really great but you just don’t see it working, there’s no reason NOT to respond with a “hey thanks for this great message but I’m not interested” – I do this sometimes – but it’s 100% ok to not respond.

In real life, the results were mixed.  Some thought you should respond while others thought it was a waste of time.

Rob says “Initially I think when I first started online dating, I tried to respond to every message but then I realized that most women don’t even read the messages. I would say 90% don’t respond if they are not interested so I don’t respond either.

Mike agrees. “If they respond, even negatively then I think I might still have a chance. If they don’t, then I know to let it go.

Jo says “ I tried to in the beginning but then I became overwhelmed. I didn’t have enough time to answer them all.”

Annie points out that men and women think differently. She embraced the male way of approaching this.

“At some point, I realized that for men no answer is an answer. So I decided to embrace that. No answer could be an answer for myself so if he disappeared then it was the same as if he sent me a message saying “I am no longer interested, I think we are not a match”. I didn’t take it personally because being a match for someone says nothing about my value.”

I thought it was nice to acknowledge their message even with just brief “no thank you” but Annie disagreed.

“I used to do things like that. I started as the nice person position and didn’t want to hurt people but I found that when I would answer even to say I am not interested then they will keep coming back for more conversation. I found it was almost received as a “maybe”. I found that no answer was a real “no”. It was really clear.”

V said

“Certainly. Why? You may be surprised to find out that there are many individuals for whom the politeness and common sense are “foreign languages”!



So I asked, how many messages do you think a woman receives?

V thought men and women got the same number depending on the quality of their profile

Rob couldn’t even guess but he figured is she was pretty probably a lot. Mike said he though about 5 a day maybe. Half_Full_Cup thought maybe several per day.

Jo thought that men probably received even more than women. Susan agreed although she said that 3 or 4 messages a day was more her average.

Annie had a system.

“I had to find a system. For me, the system was no, no, no, no, delete, delete, delete and then just deal with the ones that had a chance.   It is a bit like a job interview. They don’t contact all the applicants, only the ones that have a chance. So I really approach it in that way. It was the only way I could manage.”

The research shows the following:

A writer experimented with this by setting up 5 fake profiles of varying attractiveness for each gender  and attempted to control for variables outside of attractiveness (profile content, questions, etc.).

The results after a week:

  • The median messages for females was 18 messages (so ~3 per day)
  • The median messages for males was a paltry 0 messages

If you are curious about the experiment you can read more here:

I wondered if men were getting mixed messages about how to proceed in this new online world. Just like in the real world of dating, they are often damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Is it possible that men feel like their hands are tied because they are not sure what the proper thing is to do.

Annie agreed, “I have found that to be a big challenge for the men I know. I found that men are really confused with the lead and how to take it. So some men will just completely give the lead to the woman by saying “where do you want to go” and then the woman answers “I let you pick” and then the man thinks “I have no direction, I don’t know anything about her” so they are both frustrated in that situation.

I have found what works really well is when the man is leading by listening.

“Take something from her profile and start from there. Oh! I see that you enjoy red wine. Are you a Pinot Noir type of lady?”

He is leading and he is going to win because he has taken enough information.

As for the women who have to deal with the “What would like to do/Where do you want to go” type of question,  you can help a man taking the lead by not taking it yourself. Just answer, ‘A glass of wine would be great’ or ‘I love Italian food’, this is a general hint so he can then suggest a plan, ‘Would you join me for a glass of red at Romano’s?’ Some men will jump on the opportunity, and some others will not.”

I found that is the missing part for most men is that, the good guys want to please you but they don’t listen. They just want to please you and they want to do whatever you want to do or on the other side there are the jerks that say, “let’s do that” without even considering how we feel about it. So I found the guy who can find the in between place is the one who is going to win that game because they are so rare and women will respond to being listened to.”



One thing that was interesting about how men and women respond to online dating is the way that they internalize the events that happen. If a man stops responding to a women’s message, she assumes that it was something she said or did; whereas if a woman stops responding, a man will assume that the problem was with her.

Rob had this experience and thought that the woman wasn’t really who she was pretending to be. Mike said he figures he was “too much man for her”.

All the women thought that they had miss-stepped in some way. Except for Annie. She felt that she didn’t really want to date them again anyway so when they disappeared, it was kind of relief. She said that women need to ask themselves, did they really want to see that guy again. Most of the time the answer was no.

Do most people online lie?

Rob thought about 30% of women lie about their age, weight or some other part of their attractiveness. Mike said the numbers were more like 50%.

From a study done by Michigan State University, women removed 8.5 lbs from their weight while men removed 2 lbs but they lied more about their height. While people are honest about their age, their photographs were not as recent as they led one to believe. All told it is believe that 80% of people lie on their online dating profile although most of their lies could be called “little fibs”.

Rob said that one profile which made him laugh was titled “Made you look”. He said it was a very attractive picture of a woman but in looking at the other pictures it was obviously taken years before. It did “make him look”.

If online dating is so fraught with dishonestly and difficulty then what would be a better way to meet potential partners?

Everyone agreed that meeting during regular daily activities would be a much better way to meet people.

Half-Full­_Cup says “Meeting during normal life-activities, such as clubs, coffee-shops, outings etc … is somewhat more “affirming” in terms of real contact, but online dating widens the playing field and opens up so many more possibilities. People need to embrace it as a learning experience, rather than an oppressive reflection on ego/self-worth.”

Annie thought meeting on a holiday was best because we are more open to possibilities when we are on holidays.

Jo agreed. “When I am working 9 to 5, I have no intention to meet anyone but when I am on holidays I open myself up to the possibilities.

I asked them if they would comfortable if a man walked up to them in their daily lives and introduced himself.

To my surprise, all the ladies said, “Yes.” In a bar, in a grocery store, at the mall. They all agreed that a man could come up to them and introduce himself. I wonder how that would play out in real life. Would they still be as happy if a stranger came up and started talking to them? I wonder.

V thought it really depended on the person.

“That depends on everyone’s personality: some people are more introverted than other. Some are more analytical (e.g. sometimes in such situation I am overanalytical. Smile because I always should remember, while we may not be able to control different situations in our lives, we can control the way we respond to them. Therefore, I can’t see myself approaching a group of lovely ladies sitting at a bar). But I wouldn’t consider this a wrong approach if is done in a polite manner.”

I think Half_Full_Cup might be right

“There should be courses taught in online dating. It’s not going away.”

Another observation I made about the differences between men and woman was how they responded to abuse online. The men were all genuinely surprised when I told them that one in five messages is abusive. When I told them the names I had been called or things that had been said to me, they were shocked. They had no idea that women had to put up with that.

Rob told me that he once told a woman he wasn’t interested and she sent him back a tirade about how all men only care about looks and how dating is a meat market. He said he actually didn’t want to date her because she said she was religious.

Women tend to think everything is about how they look but Rob says it is more about who they say they are. He felt that most men read the entire profile and made their decision based on that.

Mike says he doesn’t read the words, just looks at the pictures.

The disconnect seems to be that online we treat people differently then if we know them personally. People will leave people hanging for example.

Rob said that he has left people hanging. “I have been on some dates where I asked if they were interested in going out for dinner and even took their number but then never called them.”

When I asked him why he would do that he said that after he had thought about it, he realized he wasn’t interested after all. He admitted that that probably wasn’t a very good trait.

He then asked me if I would be interested in going out for dinner sometime….hmmmm.

V was a bit more old fashioned.

” Being a genuine gentleman and a fashioned man (even though very open minded) the men should speak out their mind and always be fair. Therefore, never disappear without saying goodbye.”

I asked them how long it takes for a woman (or a man) to know that they are attracted to a person.

Annie and Jo both thought that a couple of dates were necessary to know if they were interested or not. Susan said she could tell instantly if it was a no but the “maybe’s took a bit more time.”

Rob thought that most men knew right away if they were interested. Mike said he knows as soon as they open their mouth.

V said he always knew as soon as he met them face to face and he thought women also instantly knew.

I asked Annie what advise she gives her classes when they talk about writing a profile.


Annie says “What we all do when we write a profile, we want to talk about ourselves and who we really are, and I found that is not the point.   We need to be authentic, of course, but also wise on a marketing level. You don’t want to hear the list of ingredients when you watch a ketchup add! And I don’t want to know everything about somebody’s life the first time I see their picture online.

We want to put just enough for people to get excited with us. So using marketing language you need to talk to that other person in a way that connects with them.  “Are you the type of man who enjoys road trips and real adventure?”then they can say, “yes, I am” or “no, I am not”.

So the profile that did very well for me had at the top ME: and a couple of words.   Funny things about me like that I like taking risks but I am afraid of lighting the BBQ. Something that is really specific about me and it isn’t so important that he knows that I am afraid of the BBQ but it gives the guy something to talk about with me. If you say “I love the beach”….which beach do you like?

Sometimes we complain that guys are not really that interesting but we have to look at what we have given them to talk about because they pick from our profiles so are we giving them something they can pick.

I made a point of having a shorter profile because it not about having an extensive explanation about who I am – they will find out. It is about putting enough things for them to get the idea of the type of person I am, the type of person I am looking for and all fun things. Nothing negative about “if you are a player” – you only talk to the person you want to meet and the person you want to meet is that great guy so he isn’t a player or that jerk or whatever. He is a great guy and you are talking just to him. Not to all the other guys on the site that you don’t want to meet.

I put a few funny things about me that are very specific. So my friends would be able to read it and say, “this is so Annie, to do things like that. ”Then they read the part I write about them and think “Yes, this is me.  I am a great guy like that!” And then there is the “us” part which is the dream of us together that we have.

Because there is that kind of “oh this is really the type of relationship I would like” because when you are single for a long time, you forget what it is like to be a couple and the pleasure of being two.

We write about the guy we want and then give that kind of vision of being two and what it means for us and then the person who wants that same type of vision for two really connects with that and says “oh yes, wow. I really want that.” Then there is an inspiration for a guy to send more than just ‘hey’ or ‘how are you?’ because in reading your profile, he felt something.

It is hard to make a man feel something, they don’t feel as often as we do. When you bring a beautiful, fun, sensual version of being too, and you put softer words that men connect with the feminine world, you help a man opening his heart.

To summarise, it is about having a message that says, I am happy, I am good at taking care of myself. My life is great already (without saying that) and this is how I would like it to be with a partner. And men when they feel they can provide something, they get very excited about this. So many men offered to take care of my BBQ. It gives men something they can offer and something to talk about with you. You need to give them that opening.”

V’s advise for women writing a profile was to put some effort into it.

‘I would advise them to put a bit of effort when write their profile. An intriguing, well written, articulated profile is a must. At least for myself. I am fascinated to read such profile, since I prefer the substance over a nice…shell. Avoid the stereotypes and clichés (they are so boring and unattractive): “I like walking, hiking, going to gym n times per week, I love my family and friends (who doesn’t?!) etc., etc.” Never use shortcuts or Internet slangs. Be honest about your fundamentals: age, marital status, children, etc. Don’t share your entire life story in your profile but don’t make it “2 words profile” neither (e.g. “I will tell you later” or “If you want to know anything just ask me”!)’

Mike just wanted more pictures.  🙂

The women all said the same thing.  They want to see your eyes.  Take off your sunglasses and smile, honey.

So what have we learned….

1) The first rule of online dating is lower your expectations.

You are drawing from a pool of 250,000 people, of all cultures and attitudes. If you think of it in terms of meeting people at the grocery store, you may be able to gain some perspective. If you were to walk into your local grocery store and look around. How many people in that store would have the potential to become your best friend? How many would you date? How many would you avoid? The truth is that it takes large numbers and a lot of sorting in order to find people we have a minimum of common ground with. Add another 230,000 to that mix and you have to kiss a lot of frogs. Accept that. Have your “delete” trigger finger ready.

Try to find the fun in it. Meeting new people can be interesting and fun if you truly allow them to be who they are without placing your expectations on them. It is a great lesson in staying in the moment.

In lowering your expectations, you don’t get as easily discouraged. Online dating must be taken for what it is. A way to meet a lot of people. Nothing more. Can you find that perfect one, yes, possibly but if you expect that everyone you meet is going to have some possibility, then you are going to be discouraged.

By lowering your expectations, I don’t mean settling for a person you don’t really want. I mean, let the experience be just that. An experience. Don’t read more into it that isn’t there.

2) Improve your changes by taking time to write a good profile and attach good, recent pictures.

Commit yourself fully to doing this right. Hire a photographer if you need to. Find some online help in writing that perfect profile. Make the full-hearted effort to show yourself truthfully and in a good light.

3) Stay safe.

Be aware that people lie online. Accept nothing at face value. Whatever he or she says they are, they must first show you that in person before you put any stock in their words. Be aware but remain open to the possibilities that they could be what they say they are too. Find that sweet spot between being suspicious of everything and naively trusting everyone. Never give anyone money, ever.

4) Be prepare for frogs (or diva’s)

Know that part of this process is wading through a lot of people who are the “wrong one” on the way to finding the “right one”. Wade graciously and carefully. This online dating takes a Stetson or tiara and hip waders.

5) Don’t be modest.

You are marketing yourself and confidence is sexy. Over confidence is not. Find that sweet spot. Read other people’s profiles for ideas.

6) Be original and specific about the things you like.

Give your potential partners something to start a conversation about. Give them glimpses of who you are and what you like.

7) Playing hard to get doesn’t work.

You have to make the first move. Look through the search and find someone to try and strike a conversation with. Reach out a lot. If you are going to do this – then commit to really doing it.

8) Don’t fantasize too much.

Don’t endlessly email. Meet sooner than later.

9) Don’t do all the talking.

Listen. Even it there are gaps in the conversation. Silence even. Be quiet and let your partner set the rhythm of the conversation

10) Stay in the moment.

You might meet just someone or someone special or you might meet that special someone, but either way, enjoy that moment in time.


For those of you who have decided that online dating is not for you, there are ways you can meet people in real life. Look for singles events in your area or join some clubs and meet all kinds of people, single and otherwise.

Check up Singles Meet up’s

Go dancing

Go to the Casino

Try speed dating

Join the Surrey Board of Trade and meet all kinds of people

Go for a Walk

Good luck. Stay safe. Be Honest. Don’t take yourself or online dating too seriously. Stay in the moment.






Shara Nixon loves to hear and repeat the stories of people’s lives and cultural viewpoints. She enjoys deep conversations and people who hold strong viewpoints. In her day job she is a social worker for business owners, helping them meet their goals. As an insomniac, she writes at night to clear her head. She is punctuationally challenged and uses too many !!!. She also believes in creative spelling as an art form. Her super-power is in connecting like-minded people and communicating with an intent to learn instead of respond. She writes about relationships, business savvy, online dating, finance and general things that piss her off. Shara believes that key to peace is education and connection!!!

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Shahnaz Rahimtula serving as a Notary Public for over 29 years



Shahnaz received a recognition from The Society of Notaries Public of BC for her service as a Notary Public for 25 years

By: Paarull Communications Ltd.

The road to genuine gender equality is a long and constantly shifting one, owing to women who have made non-contemporary choices in their professions and set an example for the rest of us.

Shahnaz Rahimtula is one such pioneer who has inspired and led the way towards a profession that not many women would have set foot in at the time when she opened her practice. Today, she is one of the oldest South Asian female notaries with over 29 years of experience. There has been a notable change of scenarios now, where women have outnumbered men in this profession. As of today, 55 percent of notaries in British Columbia are women.

Shahnaz Rahimtula in 1990 after her graduation

Shahnaz Rahimtula in 1990 after her graduation

With a mission to constantly evolve and stimulate her life experiences to enhance her chosen profession, Shahnaz enabled herself through learning and education. She was commissioned as a Notary Public in 1990 and has practised continuously since then. She has consistently demonstrated strong leadership capabilities and was on the dean’s list at Capilano College where she completed a two-year financial management course and later on, in 1986, graduated as a Certified General Accountant in B.C.

Mrs. Rahimtula completely credits all the wonderful people around her who she meets through her business; they have been the biggest inspiration driving her on the path to success. Being a business professional, keeping up with family commitments and raising a family has been one of her biggest challenges but she has successfully managed both.

Shahnaz Rahimtula chose this profession partly because it gave her an opportunity to help others, which is clear from the many pro-bono or minimal charge cases she takes on for people in need. She has greatly contributed to the community by participating as a member of the Surrey Board of Trade as well as volunteering on the Audit Committee and The Information and Privacy Committee with The Society of Notaries Public of B.C. She has been on the board of PICS where they dealt with the regional concerns of immigrants and made an enormous difference in the Surrey Community with fundraising for battered women, senior homes and other causes to aid the less fortunate. Her work has made a huge difference for women in our community. In addition to all this, she is a Charter Member of the Fraserview Rotary Club. She presently serves as a co-chairperson of the Fraser Valley Chapter of the Notaries.

She strives to maintain a balanced lifestyle through her hobbies which include playing sitar, swimming and energizing through regular meditation and prayer.

Shahnaz wishes to continue to take on leadership-like roles. She strongly believes that with some strong values such as compassion and integrity, one can do wonders in building a successful career and at the same time help those around us.

Shahnaz Rahimtula, Notary Public

Shahnaz Rahimtula, Notary Public

Shahnaz Rahimtula can be reached at, Ph: 604-591-7171, website:

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Surrey Based Novel – Hooped – Michael Bains



Michael Bains is a writer, originally from Surrey, BC. His first novel, Hooped was inspired by his years growing up in the Newton area of Surrey.

Hooped is about a teenage boy – Jimmy, who is the son of immigrant parents and is the captain of his high-school basketball team.

Although quite intelligent, Jimmy doesn’t see the value in a high school education. He soon meets Sunny, who is an established drug dealer in the Surrey neighbourhood and he takes Jimmy under his wing and gives him a street-education.

As a teenager, Michael was exposed to both the good and bad sides of Surrey, and knew there was a story to tell. “I wanted Hooped to come across as being a sincere reflection of what is happening in Surrey,” Michael says.

“People often depict Surrey as being a certain type of place even though they have never lived there. They base their opinion of Surrey on what they’ve heard on the news and most of it is negative.

I wanted to use this novel as a way to go past the surface level and into the deeper issues of what is really going on.”

The novel also explores the difficulties that teenagers navigate while growing up in a world that has become so full of uncertainty and where it has become normal for kids to question the status quo.

“What some people don’t understand is that a lot of teenagers are seduced by the drug dealing lifestyle because they don’t agree with the alternatives,” Michael says.

“None of these teenagers see themselves wanting to work a 9-5 job. And that’s what high school and post secondary educations are designed to lead them into. So why would they buy into it?”

Hooped is being released at a time that is marked with civil unrest that is occurring all around the world. Michael hopes that Hooped can offer perspective on this unique time in our history.

As part of the release for Hooped, Michael is also launching his “Pursue Your Passion Series,” where different people will be highlighted who have followed something that they love doing.

“I don’t want the ‘Pursue Your Passion Series’ to be just about financial success. Because a passion can be anything. You can have a dream of running a half- marathon, or mastering an instrument, or playing a sport, or whatever. I feel like we could all live our lives with more passion.”

Hooped will be available beginning on November 30 2020, at Michael’s website. Here you can also find reviews for the book, and future projects that Michael will be working on. You can follow updates for the book at @hoopedtalks on both Instagram and Facebook.

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Canadian Veteran Trevor Greene inspires $312M Legion Veterans Village Centre of Excellence for PTSD



Greene’s ongoing brain injury and PTSD improvements from Afghanistan axe attack published in Frontiers of Human Neuroscience

Photo: Canadian veteran Trevor Greene on a peace keeping mission in Afghanistan, where he suffered a debilitating head injury from an axe attack. Today, he continues his ongoing recovery from brain injury using innovative brain technologies.

Surrey, British Columbia, Canada – With Remembrance Day fast approaching, Canadian veteran Trevor Greene shares how he continues to disrupt conventional limits in brain injury and PTSD recovery as he rewires his brain using the latest and most advanced brain technologies, fourteen years after suffering a debilitating brain injury from an axe attack while serving in a peace keeping mission in Afghanistan.

In 2015, the B.C. and Yukon Command of the Royal Canadian Legion helped outfit Trevor with a robotic exoskeleton, which helped him continue re-learning to walk. Called Project Iron Soldier, this exciting initiative inspired the development of Legion Veterans Village, a $312M Centre of Excellence for PTSD, mental health and rehabilitation dedicated to veterans and first responders. Legion Veterans Village is currently under construction in Surrey and is slated to be completed in Summer 2022.

A research team led by neuroscientist Dr. Ryan D’Arcy from the Centre for Neurology Studies at HealthTech Connex, and Simon Fraser University (SFU), reports the latest breakthroughs from Project Iron Soldier in a recently published scientific study in the Frontiers of Human Neuroscience journal, tracking Greene’s neuroplasticity as he shows physical, cognitive and PTSD improvements through his neurorehabilitation.

Capt. Greene and the Project Iron Soldier research team have continued with intensive daily rehabilitation, but the team experienced an extended plateau in progress using conventional therapy alone.

To break through the plateau, HealthTech Connex launched an intensive 14-week study using the Portable Neuromodulation Stimulator (or PoNS™) in combination with physical therapy to safely stimulate novel neuroplasticity and tracked brain vital sign improvements using NeuroCatch® Platform (or NeuroCatch®).

The PoNS is a neuromodulation technology that sends a series of small electrical impulses to the brain by stimulating the tongue (known as translingual neurostimulation). NeuroCatch is a rapid objective measure of cognitive brain function.

A number of published clinical studies demonstrate applications for both the PoNS and NeuroCatch for brain injury, with the current case study highlighting the real-world application to push the limits of recovery in physical abilities, cognitive processing, and PTSD symptoms.

“Our team has been leading clinical research to develop and validate advanced brain technologies like the PoNS and NeuroCatch Platform for a few years and have seen incredible results in terms of improved brain health and well-being,” says Dr. Ryan D’Arcy, co-founder of HealthTech Connex, which operates the Centre for Neurology Studies and an SFU professor. “When Trevor experienced a plateau in his rehabilitation, we tried intensive conventional treatment approaches, but to no avail.

It was only after combining stimulation with the PoNS device with his rehabilitation therapy that we could break through these barriers and demonstrate significant clinical improvements.”

Results of the study:

The newly published results demonstrate that PoNS neurostimulation, paired with intensive rehabilitation, may stimulate neuroplasticity to overcome an extended recovery plateau in this case as objectively measured by NeuroCatch and other brain scanning technologies. The main findings were:

  • Capt. Greene showed significant gains in clinical outcome measures for physical therapy. It is noteworthy that these improvements occurred more than 14 years after the axe attack. Capt. Greene and his wife Debbie Greene also reported notable and lasting improvements in cognition and PTSD symptoms.
  • Capt. Greene showed significant brain vital sign improvements in cognitive function, particularly in auditory sensation (as measured by the N100 response), basic attention (as measured by P300 response), and cognitive processing (as measured by N400 response). The study results are published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

Dr. D’Arcy describes the study results:

“We were fascinated to see that, while the focus was physical therapy, NeuroCatch scans detected cognitive improvements and Trevor and his wife Debbie reported greatly reduced PTSD symptoms.

My favorite line in this published paper was when Debbie closed the study by saying, ‘I got my superman back.’ In our COVID-19 era, when we are all concerned about the recent links to brain health, it is breakthroughs like this that bring continued hope for science and technology advances.”

Says Capt. Greene, “I first saw the power of neuroplasticity in the early days of the first study involving the MRI. I was blown away when Ryan showed me images of my brain with coloured splotches showing where my healthy brain tissue was taking over for the damaged bits.

Later on, I saw the full power of the PoNS device when I got demonstrably stronger, steadier and more coordinated after using it regularly for just a few weeks. It’s really been a game changer for me and my family.”

“Trevor’s amazing progress is no doubt pushing the frontiers of medical science by overcoming perceived limits of brain recovery,” says Dr. Shaun Fickling, the study’s lead author who completed his PhD at Simon Fraser University.

“These brain imaging results provide valuable insight into the importance of unleashing the power of neuroplasticity to inspire countless people impacted by brain and mental health conditions.”

Capt. Greene and Dr. D’Arcy recounted their remarkable progress and showcased their mission to lead scientific breakthroughs in neuroplasticity through a recent TEDx talk.

Dr. D’Arcy concludes, “These neuro-technology breakthroughs have considerable impacts to inspire many of us to push beyond conventional limits in neurological and mental health recovery.

For our veterans and first responders, who remain resilient in the face of frequent exposure to trauma, this research and science underpins the inspiration for our newly developed Legion Veterans Village, to give back through a Centre of Excellence in PTSD, mental health, and rehabilitation.”

For more about the PoNS treatment, visit the Surrey Neuroplasticity Clinic.

About HealthTech Connex Inc. :

Located in the Health and Technology District, HealthTech Connex Inc. (HTC) is a brain technology company focusing on cutting-edge innovations and services for rapid impact on health improvements and outcomes in neurological performance.

With brain vitality as a premier focus, HealthTech Connex provides translational neuroscience innovations to care and community sectors worldwide, bridging the gap between what is capable in the laboratory and what’s available in the real world.

It operates the Surrey Neuroplasticity Clinic (SNPC), a neuro-rehabilitation clinic in Surrey, British Columbia, focusing on comprehensive therapies using advanced, non-invasive brain technologies to help treat people with neurological conditions.

Legion Veterans Village (LVV) :

The Legion Veterans Village is a unique $312-million, two-phase, multi-purpose social infrastructure project in the City of Surrey, led by the BC/Yukon Command of the Royal Canadian Legion, together with Whalley Legion Branch 229 and Lark Group.

The project includes a mix of 495 market housing condominiums, 91 affordable housing units, a Centre of Excellence for veterans and first responders focusing on PTSD and mental health, an Innovation Centre for Rehabilitation and a new facility for the Whalley Legion Branch 229.

Once completed (slated for Summer 2022), a key priority will be the integrated delivery of a continuum of programs and services for veterans and first responders, as well as contributing training and research towards new practices, interventions and technologies in mental health, counselling, engineering, robotics and advancements in neuroscience, etc.

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Sher Vancouver releases “Queersome Desi Resources.”



Surrey, British Columbia – Sher Vancouver is proud to release “Queersome Desi Resources” which is a specially curated list of Queer South Asian Resources from around the world. The resource was created to celebrate, liberate, and validate our queer South Asian community.

We have created an extensive list including inspiring reads, podcasts, movies, creative projects and have featured around 20 noteworthy Queers in our community. This resource highlights global queer organizations to build an inclusive community by supporting each other. Let us come together and celebrate our South Asian queer community who are living their truths unapologetically. We are so grateful for your representation!


The resource was created by Sher Vancouver Women’s Coordinators Sharon and Anoushka. “I am grateful to help create this resource collection for Sher Vancouver, as it has been my saviour in my own self-healing, and acceptance journey. I quickly dismantled the belief of me being the only queer Punjabi person in the community working on this collection.

Instead, what I found was a plethora of queer South Asian platforms! All it took was determined searching of the Internet. I hope you too find comfort, hope, empowerment, and pride in these resources. Desi queers are here. Desi queers exist. and Desi queers are thriving” states Sharon.”

“Being a part of this project makes me incredibly proud as it presented an opportunity to give back to the Desi queer community. For someone who has relatively recently accepted their own identity and was on a journey to find resources, people to rely on and organizations to be a part of, a list like this would have been a great place to start.

The lack of queer representation growing up made me feel isolated and unsure but through this project I have learnt that acceptance and empowerment is present no matter who you are and where you are from. Among these resources and people, I hope you find what I was able to. Embrace who you are,” states Anoushka.

“I feel Sharon and Anoushka did an exceptional job with curating the Queersome Desi Resources for Sher Vancouver. This project creates awareness and visibility of the global South Asian queer community. South Asian queers are not alone in this world,” states Sher Vancouver Founder Alex Sangha.

Queersome was designed by one of Metro Vancouver’s most talented graphic designers Jag Nagra of


The Queersome Desi Resources is part of a three-part series designed to provide information to the LGBTQ + community. This three-part series project consists of:

1. Legal Resources Kit which consists of three documents:

a. LGBTQ+ Friendly Lawyer Referrals

b. Information Regarding Human Rights

c. Safe Countries for LGBTQ+ Travellers

2. Queersome Desi Resources (South Asian Queer Resources from around the world)

3. Sher’s Pink Directory which will list organizations that fund the LGBTQ + community in Metro Vancouver (coming soon)

The resources are available for free download for everyone on the Sher Vancouver website under RESOURCES at the following link:

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Love at First Sight: A Mother’s Journey to Adoption



Raj Arneja’s new book evokes powerful emotions of becoming a mother

Raj Arneja’s joy to motherhood is her most fulfilling life experience. Her journey is filled with emotions and strife, after traveling thousands of miles from Canada to India which led her to a happiness beyond her own expectations.

Raj, the Director of Corporate Engagement and Philanthropy at Nanak Foods, recently announced the launch of her extremely personal and thought-provoking book, Love at First Sight – A Mother’s Journey to Adoption, which chronicles her journey to adopting her two beautiful children Kabir and Kirti. The book promises to inspire you to never give up hope, no matter what life throws at you.

In her book, Raj describes the challenges she faced in the 1990’s while trying to adopt her now grown up children. The stigma surrounding adoption in the South Asian community  gave Raj a reason to pen her story, share her experiences and inspire people to take a chance on life and parenthood.

“Like most people, I have faced many challenges in life. Not being able to conceive was heartbreaking at first and I longed to feel the love and joy of a baby. While I felt the sadness, I was also not ready to give up,” says Raj. “I knew I would love and experience it all through adoption. With a strong will and stronger love for children, I adopted my two kids. Every day since then has been a blessing. It has been the best decision of my life.”

Raj has always believed that giving birth to a child is not the only thing that makes a woman a mother. It is the unconditional love you have for your child that makes you one. Love at First Sight – A Mother’s Journey to Adoption will inspire young mothers and aspiring parents exploring the option to adopt a child.

Raj loves her children more than anyone in the world and she hopes that her book will inspire more people to adopt, or diminish the stigma surrounding adoption. People who have read Raj’s book have found it to be of wise council.

“I hope my chosen path and my struggles can help someone find their way to undying love, just as I have with my children,” she says.


Rajiee M Shinde, CEO, ShowBox Channel of IN10 Media Pvt Ltd. A Dada Saheb Phalke Film Foundation award winner was enamored by her story. Rajiee says, “With powerful words, and wonderfully exhibited emotions, Raj gives you an insight into how her struggles and accomplishments shape her as a mother. Her journey to date is evidence of what a complete and beautiful human being she is – a remarkable example for society!”

Dr. Bal Pawa, Co-Founder Westcoast Women’s Clinic, Author of The Mind-Body Cure and TedX Speaker, found the book ‘compelling’. “This book highlights the power of love: unconditional, expansive, and infinite. Raj’s incredible perseverance and unwavering faith in a higher purpose fuel her maternal instinct to never give up.

Heart-wrenching emotions are illustrated in the trials and tribulations of IVF treatments, cultural expectations, and navigating unknown waters of overseas adoptions. I especially loved her explanation of adoption to her child, “you came from my heart.” This unforgettable reframing of biology should certainly inspire more couples to adopt.”

“A remarkable story of perseverance, love and family. Raj’s life story is an inspiration. Her journey to motherhood reminds us all of the power of intention and manifesting the life we wish to have. This book is a must read for anyone looking for an uplifting and refreshing take on finding purpose and meaning through all of life’s adventures and challenges.” – Bal Brach, CBC Journalist, Documentary Filmmaker, Reporter CBC Vancouver

About Raj Arneja

Born into an immigrant family and raised in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada, Raj’s childhood memories are full of colourful stories of supporting family and friends as they settled into their new country and adjusted to new customs and traditions. Raj works hard at building relationships within the community through her work at Nanak Foods.

She directs the company’s philanthropic initiatives, including strategy, programming, and partnership development, and the day-to-day operation of all corporate contributions. Raj also sits on various boards, where she adds value through her skills and experience. She is a well-known entity in the South Asian community in the Vancouver area.

Raj enjoys supporting various charitable, non-profit community organizations, including the Seva Thrift Society, VISAFF, and two girls’ orphanages in Punjab. Raj strongly feels that humanity has no borders and we should reach out and help wherever we are able to, regardless of race, gender or nationality. Raj lives in Surrey, British Columbia, with her husband and 2 children. She is an avid traveler and has travelled to over 60 countries, many times with her children and to some as a volunteer.

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