Chiropractic + Naturopathic Doctor

SILKEN LAUMANN and active kidS: KEYNOTE presentation AT CHFA EXPO EAST 2008

By By Karin F. Hammerich DC MHST [L] (cand.)   



Courage, fulfillment of human
potential, a willingness to make mistakes, and triumph over adversity
were the highlights of the inspirational presentation by this
three-time Olympic medalist.

“Olympic athletes tell us about excellence”, she said, “because they want to be their best. They train their minds and use their imagination to create their future. Their focus is optimal when everything they know could fit on a postage stamp. They do not allow the gremlin of fear and doubt to rest on their shoulders.”


Humorous and painful anecdotes from her professional and private life demonstrated that real change is about letting go when one does not necessarily seek change. She tapped into the power of the dream when she became the first woman rower in Canada in 1976. The rowing club had no change room for women, only a broom closet. But in that closet was the inscription, “You can too.”

As the fastest single sculler in the world, she confirmed that change brings you to a better place. In 1992, while preparing for the Barcelona Olympics only 10 weeks away, her boat was hit in practice, severing the muscles in her right calf. Told that she would never walk normally again (she does), she “couldn’t grasp the words” and underwent 15 operations in two weeks. She continued training in bed with a bungee cord and a rigged up stationary bike. Her belief in a medal was her “all and everything”. The mental evidence of winning provided the power to win a bronze medal for Canada while rowing with a leg oozing under bandages.

Having advised her audience to connect with the best part of themselves, she demonstrates how she is using this principle to bring about change in the world. Her passion for children because they are “connected to the big guy”, has led her to create Active Kids, a national charity. It inspires individuals to make positive changes for the health of children and our communities.

 She has authored a book entitled Child’s Play which expands on the mission of Active Kids, namely:

  • to get more children playing across the country – and in doing so, helping to make their bodies fit, their minds sharp, and their spirits high. As well, play time enables children to become more independent, creative, diplomatic, co-operative, and communicative – a skills set that is essential as they navigate their way through many life situations;
  • to reconnect parents with the joy of playing with their kids and the benefits of enabling as much play time for their kids as possible;
  • to energize families and neighbourhoods through play and to help parents create the opportunities for their children to play freely and safely together – to recreate, in a modern context, the neighbourhoods we grew up in and to redefine, for our kids, the play time we enjoyed, and took for granted would always be available to them;
  • to connect and support a national network of neighbourhood volunteers who see unstructured play as one of the pillars of their quality family and “at home” time, as part of how they want their neighbourhood to look and feel, and as essential to the health and vitality of their children.

   Chiropractors are concerned with wellness and the health of our youth. What
better way than to recognize and act on the following problems as Silken does?

  • One in three Canadian children are overweight or obese.
  • Over half of aboriginal children are overweight or obese.
  • Only half of Canadian children are active enough to support optimal development.
  • Our children’s life span is forecast to two to five years less than our own.
  • Children spend 40 per cent less time being physically active than 15 years ago.
  • Health-care costs are projected to almost double over the next decade.
  • Our children’s pastimes have become more passive (TV, computer, etc.) and are generally indoors activities.
  • Despite increased enrolment in organized sport and recreation, the amount of physical activity children actually do each day is decreasing.
  • Nearly one-in-four Canadians are overweight – we are the fifth most obese country in the world.

If you would like to start your own community network for children please visit  •

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