Most Inspiring User – West Coast Social Media Awards

Most Inspiring User - West Coast Social Media Awards

I’ve been nominated for a #Westie (the inaugural West Coast Social Media awards) in the Most Inspiring User category. It’s an honour, most definitely.  Voting has commenced and will end May 23rd.  The top 7 in each category will then be forwarded to a panel of judges who will make the final decision.

I struggle with this. Like many I’m not good at “tooting my own horn” and asking for the votes. But, this year especially, there is another reason.

You see, the list includes the late Derek Miller aka @penmachine and his wife Airdrie Hislop-Miller @airdriehislop.

Derek Miller aka @penmachine at Gnomedex 2009
Photo by Randy Stewart from Flickr. Shared with permission.

I may have inspired a few people, but Derek inspired MILLIONS. Over 8 at last count.

That’s how many people have read his “Last Post” featured on CBC, CTV, the Vancouver Sun, Globe and Mail, the Guardian and more.

Derek Miller, from Vancouver,  blogged for over 10 years before passing away recently after a four year struggle with colo-rectal cancer.  I never had the privilege of meeting Derek, but have many friends in the Vancouver social media community who were extremely close to him.

Ten years ago, my late husband, Yves Loran passed away from esophageal cancer. I’ve lived, in some small measure, through this journey in cancer’s shadow. But – and this is a very big “but” – not blogging, and sharing so openly. Derek’s online presence displayed a very significant amount of grace and courage. His decision to write a “Last Post” speaks of this. His message has truly inspired people; read the comment streams to see how.

There is simply no “competition” possible in my opinion.

I would encourage you please, to cast your vote for Derek, in his memory.

About @lacouvee

Community Builder. Catalyst. Speaker. Writer. Arts Advocate.

Passionate about bridging online and offline communities to effect positive change.

I truly believe that one person can make a difference and that we all have our own lives to live, creatively, while respecting the unique nature of others.


  1. My goodness, Janis. I had no idea…

    I am uncharacteristically at a loss for words. Out of respect for the late Derek Miller and his family, I will discontinue promoting myself in this category.

    Thank you for helping to tell his story to those of us who did not know him.

    – Don

  2. I only knew of Derek via Twitter. The first blog post of his I read was the “Last Post”. I sat at the kitchen table crying then had to go for a walk and hug my children. An extraordinary person…

    • @lacouvee says

      Yes, a very very extraordinary person. Particularly since he played such a pivotal role in the blogging community in Vancouver. How incredibly brave!

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