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Featuring Guest Speakers Jessica Gale Friesen, Author of “This Will Not Break Me” and Glen Walker, Retired Executive Director of Positive Living Niagara

Join us for a Lunch and Learn conversation about personal and social stigma, how they affect our overall mental health and wellbeing and what we can do to end stigma.


You can also order your signed copy of Jessica Gale Friesen’s new book “This Will Not Break Me” at checkout! Thanks to the generosity of Jessica, a portion of proceeds support United Way Niagara.

About our Presenters and “This Will Not Break Me”

Jessica Gale Friesen: Jessica Gale Friesen was born in St. Davids, Ontario, the oldest of three children. After obtaining her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Western Ontario she practiced as a Registered Nurse in both acute and long-term care. After the birth of her second child, Jessica left health care and entered her family business in the petroleum industry – including petroleum delivery and a chain of gas stations and convenience stores.

Since joining the family business, Jessica has worked tirelessly, becoming the third-generation owner and Chief Executive Officer in 2014 of Gales Gas Bars. She has helped shape and advance the company’s corporate and community presence and continues to explore ways to give back to the community. Jessica devotes her time serving on several boards and has achieved her Chartered Director designation.

Having suffered from postpartum depression after the birth of her first child, Jessica realized that her story may be able to help others. With that in mind, she has now put pen to paper with the publishing of her first book. Always looking for a new project or challenge, Jessica continues to write, run her company, sit on multiple boards, and play nurse to her two teens and husband.

Excerpt from “This Will Not Break Me”: I woke up at 2am June 8th, frantic. I had to take a moment and reorient myself. My entire body felt sore, and I had a horrible headache. My belly was soft. Where was my son? What was going on? I could see Ed curled up on the recliner in the corner of the room but there was no baby in the room. The Demerol had worn off, and I was desperately trying to piece together the events of the past few hours.

Fragments of the evening before started coming back slowly, and I remembered that Eddie had been taken to the NICU. A thousand questions were going through my mind. I tried to sit up quickly and was hit by a wave of vertigo. I laid back down, and put a hand to my head to try and stop the spinning. Quickly, I did a full body scan – the strength had returned to my legs and arms, and as I felt my soft belly I started panicking. Tears sprung to my eyes, as confusion set into my mind. Oh, how had this happened? How bad was this? Suddenly all my years of nursing school were kicking in. Antibiotic treatment due to meconium was certainly not rare, but also certainly not typical. Something was wrong with my baby, and mama bear was waking from hibernation.

Glen Walker: Glen Walker was the Executive Director of Positive Living Niagara from 2011- 2021. He was one of the founders of the Overdose Prevention and Education Network of Niagara and sat as its Co-chair for 4 years. He was also the chair of the Niagara Poverty Reduction Network from 2016-2020. He has also worked at The Ministry of Community and Socials Services and the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. Glen is a Social Worker by training with over 40 years of experience in community clinical service provision within the HIV, substance use, children’s and developmental services sectors.


For more information about the Lunch and Learn event, please contact Tamara Coleman-Lawrie at [email protected].

For more information on Jessica Gale Friesen or “This Will Not Break Me”, please visit www.jessicagalefriesen.com.

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