My name is Kimberly Ferko and I am here to tell my story of a woman who came into my life for a short while and left an imprint on my heart. I believe people come into our lives for a reason and we may not know why until it is too late. Elizabeth Bogod was someone who did just that. I got to know this happy, energetic, and passionate woman while working as a peer supporter at BCSS. She welcomed me to the team the first day I sat in, and when she looked at me with those eyes full of caring and love, she put a huge smile on my face. Even on days when I was feeling down or stressed over personal issues, having Elizabeth around somehow always chased the blues away. Little did I know at the time how she would show me a world where my passion now lies.
As we all know, Elizabeth was very determined to educate the world on Dialectical Behavior techniques for people suffering from overwhelming emotions. In 2010 she decided to write up a funding proposal for an education group called New Light Recovery. She poured her soul and heart into making this group happen. As we talked more each time she gave me insight on Borderline Personality Disorder and types of therapy that work. I had heard that she ran the New Light Recovery group but hadn’t sat in to understand what it offered, but as I spent more time hanging out with her and hearing her personal recovery story I became amazed at how much she knew about DBT.
The day that Elizabeth asked me if I would be interested in co-facilitating the New Light Recovery group with her I was scared and yet thrilled. I thought to myself, I don’t have BPD but suffer from depression, how in the world could I show someone these skills without having prior knowledge? With only some training in addictions I didn’t know anything about facilitating let alone Dialectical Behavior techniques. The first group we did together was in the summer of 2012. I watched her facilitate and saw how she connected to people and understood what they were going through. She showed the group that she was equal to them and not someone who was there to dictate to them, that she too was in recovery. She was spirited and eager to pass on these techniques to the people in her group. As word spread and the sign up list grew bigger we had hard decisions to make as to who we could fit in the upcoming groups. It was incredible to see the demand. This group was her baby and I was proud to be co-facilitator.
The last time she and I ran the group I noticed on the poster she put both our names as facilitators. I laughed and said, “Elizabeth, you made a mistake on the poster, you forgot to put co-facilitator in front of my name.” She replied, “No, Kim, you and I are equal and we work great together side by side as a team.”
Elizabeth and I grew to be great friends. I shared her passion for getting education out there for Borderline Personality Disorder, getting early diagnosis for youths, and her baby, New Light Recovery Group. I spent quite a few private moments with her and she had a heart of gold. We all have good and bad in us, no one is perfect; but that is what recovery is all about, sharing our stories and one another’s personal growth. She shared with me one day that we are lucky when we love what we do with our lives and BCSS was her life. She opened a door of opportunity for me with facilitating and I am paying it forward sharing knowledge others gave to me. I have taken on keeping New Light Recovery Group going as we, as a community, need to keep Elizabeth’s legacy alive.
Thank you with all my heart , Elizabeth, you are now in the arms of the angels watching down on us. – Kim Ferko on behalf of all of us at BCSS Victoria.