Golden Hands Award Winner – Lorrie Maffey – 2020

May 20, 2020


2020 Golden Hands Award Winner - Lorrie MaffeyWho would have ever thought that we would live in a world where a massive pandemic could shut the economy and the very fiber of the world down in a heartbeat? Who would have imagined that we would have this wonderful technology to be able to continue with this AGM and this presentation of the Golden Hands via a Zoom meeting?

The fact that we are still having this meeting and honoring this year’s recipient, speaks to the resiliency of physiotherapists, that we will not let the bumps (or major mountains) get in our way.

I am beyond honoured to be able to present this year’s award. This year’s recipient, like all the former ones, has a lengthy and impressive resume and an extraordinary dedication to the profession. I will not individually list the many accomplishments of the recipient but rather I would like to make an analogy, which I feel captures the essence and spirit of this person and epitomizes what this award is all about.

Years ago, I was at a New Year’s Eve function. It was a glitzy affair with men in black suits and women in cocktail dresses with spaghetti straps. I had put some lotion on my bare shoulders that had glitter in it. As the evening wore on it occurred to me that every time I danced with someone or just came into contact with them, I left some of my glitter on them. You could trace my path through the room by my glitter. When the people that I left glitter on touched someone else, they left a little of my glitter on them as well as some of their own glitter. I theorized that life was like that. Each person has their own brand of glitter that spreads whenever they touch someone else. Their glitter is passed on, along with the glitter from others, far beyond their immediate circle and in fact far beyond their lifetime. It reminded me of a commercial for Faberge hair shampoo from years ago. At the end of the commercial the narrator said “and they told two friend, who told two friends, who told two friends…… and so on and so on.” I can visualize looking back down at the world once we have passed on and being able to see a path of our glitter spread far and wide in the world. Our candidate’s glitter will surely bathe the world.

Our job as a physiotherapist is not to have our names in the marquee lights, but rather to support the next generation behind us to be better than our generation ever was. Our recipient has had that kind of lasting impact on our profession. They are forever “paying it forward” to enable the next generation to build on the strengths of previous generations of physiotherapists. To get to the top in any profession we all need to stand on the shoulders of giants and this person has been one of our giants.

As physiotherapists, there are things that we know we know and things that we think we know, and to differentiate we must look to the evidence.

As a conscientious clinician, I did a literature search of the published documents and found evidence of our candidate’s extraordinary commitment to education and their outstanding ability to break down difficult concepts, into smaller bites that ensures the students can link the dots and learn the concepts with confidence.

The following are samples of the evidence that was supported in the literature.

“Writing this letter was challenging because I cannot do justice to the many avenues of service our candidate has provided the profession and to me personally.”

“Their educational initiatives as an instructor have them known and respected by most, if not all, of Calgary physiotherapists, who have any semblance of interest in orthopaedics.”

“They are passionate about mentorship, both in their own practice and that of others. I admire their continual search for improvement in teaching, and mentoring practices. They are able to bring out the best in students and the teachers around them, and they use many different mechanisms to try to suit the needs of the learner.”

“Many patients have benefitted from your skilled hands; however, your role as an educator at a national and international level has reached many more. The advanced training for therapists that you have provided has had a significant impact for patients requiring interventional treatment for chronic spinal pain.”

“Our recipient has an exceptional ability to inspire others. Their passion for the profession and manual therapy is astounding. They pour every bit of energy into the profession and then some.”

“They are an incredible instructor and teacher. During courses, if a student could not understand something, they were amazing at figuring out a way to make him or her understand.”

“The candidate is an incredibly talented physiotherapist; in fact, I would rate them as one of the very top therapists in Canada in terms of their skill set and promotion of the profession.”

“One of their greatest strengths is their gift as a teacher. They have the ability to tailor concepts to different ways of learning and processing to bring clarity. It is amazing to watch them shift techniques and theory to allow the light bulbs to go off and gel in our minds, bodies and hands.”

“Their thirst for knowledge and passion for sharing it is easily identified. Their love of Orthopaedic Physiotherapy shines through and is very motivating.”

“Their clinical reasoning is superb and their treatments, including manual techniques, expert.”

“They have provided what can be best described as a trailblazer approach to orthopaedic practice. The seeds of intellectual growth in advanced practice, sown by this person, demonstrates their level of positive influence to physiotherapy practice.”

“They are a patient and talented instructor. They have the rare ability to find the right explanation, for each question, for each student that they have ever taught. They cannot leave a question unanswered or poorly understood by a student. They feel strongly that it is their responsibility to ensure that each student understands every aspect of the concepts that they are teaching, and they do not rest until they reach that goal. They have the ability to gently draw the answers from the student’s memory bank and they foster critical thinking rather than simply giving them the answers.”

The above list is only a small representation of the admiration and respect that this recipient has from their peers and the reason that this person is receiving this prestigious award today.

If you need a friend, mentor, colleague, shoulder to cry on, support, hiking partner (and on and on) they are there for you. The struggle is, who will fill their shoes?

In addition to her outstanding achievements as a physiotherapist and the many things she has given back to the profession, she is a wonderful daughter, sister, friend, mentor, partner, mother, gardener and outdoors woman.

Gloria Steinem, journalist as well as a leader and spokesperson for the feminist movement in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, was asked at the age of 84 “who will you pass the torch to?” She answered “Nobody, I am holding onto the torch and I will let other people light theirs from mine.” This year’s recipient has let people light their torch from hers for years.

It is with great pride that I call her a colleague and friend and I ask you to join me in awarding this most deserved award to Lorrie Maffey.


— Presented by Pat Fonstad