BONNYVILLE – A heroine who has roots in the Bonnyville-area is getting national recognition.
Fertility expert Blaise Hunter, who kick-started the heroine movement when she lived in town, is among the nominees for the Universal Women's Network 2020 Women of Inspiration Awards.
“It’s just absolutely thrilling that my message is getting out there and getting noticed,” Hunter told LakelandToday. “It’s not about winning awards, even though that feels good and it’s great to get recognized for your hard work, but it’s amazing that my platform is getting out more in Alberta and Canada.”
Hunter describes the heroine movement as “women empowerment and to raise ourselves up as a hero of our life.”
The Universal Women’s Network, which is based out of Calgary, launched the Women of Inspiration Awards in 2015 to recognize women who lead by example, ignore the naysayers, and take the road less travelled.
The organization describes the nominees and winners as "everyday heroes making an impact on our local, national, and global community."
Hunter believes her desire to blaze her own trail is what landed her among this year’s nominees.
“I think that because I’m willing to take off my muzzle and not hide behind the shame, be loud and just own my flaws and let it become part of my story,” she expressed. “We don’t need to be ashamed because no one is perfect. I have tons of flaws, imperfections, and I make mistakes all the time but it doesn’t define me. It’s just part of my story.”
While living in Bonnyville, Hunter’s movement began in a time when she needed to accept her imperfections and embrace her inner beauty. She was taking time off to be a stay-at-home mom while battling a rare autoimmune disease that had caused three miscarriages.
“That was kind of the pivotal moment that gave me a lot of depression, and I felt like I had no purpose,” she recalled. “I was very ill and thinking I was going to die. I just thought ‘is this how my story ends?’ I just had a moment where I was like ‘no, this is not how I wanted my story to end.’ I still have a purpose and to do it for my daughter, for myself, and to turn this massive problem into my pearl and to be resilient and gritty. I had to pull myself out of it, become my own hero, and not let my biography define my destiny.”
She wrote her book 'Heroine', which was released in 2018, to heal from the grief and trauma from her miscarriages.
“It was never supposed to be a business or get published,” Hunter noted. “It was really just a self-healing journey. Organically it developed into more and developed into Blaise the Trail Inc., a consulting agency and a motivational speaking opportunity. So that’s what I’m doing, I’ve been travelling the world and encouraging women, and I heal myself every time I step onto stage.”
After living in the United Kingdom for six months, Hunter and her family were ready to relocate to Medicine Hat in March. She planned to hit the ground running and bring her Footprints Infertility and Pregnancy Loss Support initiative, along with the Footprints Support Bags for families who experience a loss, to the area.
But, COVID-19 put a stop to everything.
“I was frustrated because I was like ‘oh wow, my greatest asset is all my conferences. All my networking opportunities were washed away the moment COVID-19 hit.’ So I had to go back to the words that I use to encourage women and my coaching clients: ‘no grit, no pearl.’”
Hunter created a signature series during the pandemic, which includes Birth Your Brand, Birth Your Voice, and Birth Your Story. The focus is to help people find their voice, write their stories, and redefine their power.
“Even if you’re 60 or 86, you still have things to birth and to be a mother of purpose. Let’s inspire one another to keep pushing, being more, doing more, and becoming more.”