Just in time for the giving season, we caught up with the team behind UR Enough, the blog started by two friends on a mission to run a marathon and give back to the community.
Meet Kelsey Sick, a British Columbia native working towards her Exercise Physiologist certification and her masters at Western, and Mandi Nicholson, an Alberta transplant who works as an actor, writer, and producer. So what brought these two together and how did they combine forces to build the rapidly-growing, already beloved UR Enough platform? Read on to find out.
WTD: Tell us about UR Enough - what’s the mission of the platform and how do you work towards achieving it?
Kelsey Sick: UR Enough is a group of strong, fearless, badass individuals whose own adversity has fueled a fire in our souls. By revealing our vulnerabilities, we shine light onto topics of anxiety, addiction, and pain, highlighting the qualities that make us most human. It is place for people to share their stories, hear truth, and feel courage. It is our way of celebrating our ‘enough-ness’.
WTD: What was the inspiration behind starting UR Enough?
Mandi Nicholson: To be honest, UR Enough began from the goal of creating a running team for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. I had already previously signed up to run the marathon, but was trying to convince Kelsey to run with me. She said that she would not run the marathon unless we competed in the Charity Challenge for the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC), which is an organization that she has been a volunteer with for the past year. Hearing her say that not only inspired me to agree to such a cause, but I opened up to her and told her my story of my eating disorder.
And so it began. We would recruit a ‘small’ team of individuals that had faced their own type of adversity, raise a little money for NEDIC, and run a marathon. We created an Instagram and Facebook group to communicate and inspire our team, and to share my story we decided last minute (literally hours before posting my story) to launch a blog. We didn’t just want to release my story on a word document, so the only obvious choice was to create blog, right? We had NO idea what we were doing or the snowball effect that it would have. We just wanted to use our stories and our vulnerabilities to shed light onto topics that society avoids in conversation.
UR Enough became a platform to speak of inspiration, truth, authenticity. A place that embraces the vulnerabilities that make us human. A place that celebrates individuals for exactly who they are. We knew that we needed this for ourselves, but as UR Enough started to expand and grow we discovered how much other people needed it as well. We have learnt that acceptance and self-love has been placed on the back burner for many individuals, and we want to help change that. We are still placing one foot in front of the other and are still trying to grasp how far we have come and how far that we have yet to go. It’s proven to be a lot of work, but the one thing we know is that we don’t want to stop.
WTD: How do you feel you can have the most impact? Through events, writing, etc?
KS: We definitely try to do a bit a both. Words can inspire and ignite that fire within us; it can be therapeutic when you are physically sitting and writing your own experiences. Words can create a sense of community and motivate others to reach out and connect. But words can sometimes only go so far. Putting our words into actions by creating and participating in community events, we have found that this inspirational platform can become a wellness movement.
WTD: Most of your events benefit the National Eating Disorder Information Centre. Is that the main cause you are focused on or are there other particular causes or topics to which you want to bring significant attention?
MN: Yes, up until now all of our events have had focus on NEDIC. It is an organization that we feel very passionately about and was also the organization that we chose to run for in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. But UR Enough is about celebrating everyone through all walks of life, and we want to bring our attention to all sorts of different causes. Eating disorders are just one of many difficult conversions we want to speak about, but we want to bring attention to the topics that are surrounded by stigmas, the topics that society avoids in discussion. With mental illness on the rise and our own worth being based on the number of ‘likes’ we receive, people aren’t appreciated for the trials that they do face and in the midst of their struggles they feel shame for being human. But we have seen first hand the magic that can unfold when you give a person just enough comfort to be who they are.
WTD: From your Instagram and website, we can tell that you both find a lot of personal empowerment through running. How does that play into what you’re trying to build?
KS: I think I can speak for the both of us when I say that running keeps us both mentally sane. We have always been very connected to running but we definitely do not discriminate to other forms of fitness. UR Enough began as a running team, but we have now hosted a charity Essentrics class and a Ride Cycle Club charity ride. Our goal is to promote health and wellness in all dimensions and we want to continue collaborating with other wellness studios and health professionals to do just that.
WTD: You mention on the website that you want others to share their stories. How can others get involved in helping you further the mission of UR Enough?
MN: We do! We would love to have others share their own story through UR Enough. We believe that the more we open up and expose our vulnerabilities, the more authentic and real we become. Stigmas that surround topics of mental health are heavily present and society often forgets what it means to be human: we opt to use filters that mask our imperfections, we avoid conversations that reveal our insecurities, and exposing our vulnerabilities is often confused for weakness. It is time that we change this way of thinking. That in fact we are all human; we all have challenges and difficulties that we are facing, and that not being okay is okay. Sharing our stories reminds others that they are not alone.
If there are any individuals that wish to share their story, please feel free to reach out to us. We would love to hear and celebrate you.
WTD: What is exciting you the most right now about the wellness scene in Toronto?
KS: Toronto’s wellness scene is still so new to me. Besides the excitement of trying new studios and having all sorts of wellness professionals near by, in all honesty, I would say that I am most excited about how welcoming Toronto’s wellness community is.
Mandi and I started UR Enough only a few months ago, and people have been so receptive and eager to collaborate and build each other up. It’s absolutely amazing.
MN: I love how it is changing! Our perception of fitness and wellness is becoming less about how we physically look and more about how we internally feel. It’s becoming more about acceptance. We are becoming more accepting. We see groups of like-minded individuals coming together to celebrate and have fun all while working up a sweat. Groups like Parkdale Road Runners, Bond Running, Ride Cycle Club, Strive Athletics, Muse Movement (and this list can go on and on) have created a universal sense of community within the Toronto wellness scene, and we are so excited that UR Enough is becoming a part of this kick-ass community!
All photos by Kayla Mann.