Why did you choose these words?
When I was 4 months old, I survived a plane crash. My family was taking me home from Yellowknife to Aklavik, and our plane crashed. I was kept alive by a nurse who died shortly after we were rescued. My grandmother raised me.
I also survived two drownings, one when I was nine and one when I was ten. I was riding on a Ski-Doo near the edge of the ice, and it was pulled into the ocean. I was rescued. This happened twice. I didn’t learn my lesson the first time.
This is part of life. These kinds of things happen to everyone up north. You just keep going and carry on.
Later in life, I also caught a rare disease and was in St. Paul’s Hospital for eight months. So, that’s four lives. I figure I have five more left (like a cat).
It’s important to live every day like it’s your last because you never know. Never regret anything. Always laugh and smile even if you don’t want to.
If you find yourself in tough situation, step back. Think of three different ways that the situation could be worse and then go back to the original problem. You realize that it could be worse and that it’s not so bad.
What led you to the Dr. Peter Centre?
In 1986, I survived a major vehicle accident that messed up my back, and I was in the hospital for at least a year. During that time, I had several blood transfusions. This was before blood was checked for HIV, and I contracted it that way.
I traveled around quite a bit and ended up in Calgary where I taught people extreme survival skills. As part of my job, it was mandatory that I take a month off, and I partied it up. One night, I was hitchhiking from Calgary to Banff and I fell asleep. When I woke up we were in Langley, BC. I spent two weeks in Vancouver and then decided to quit my job and move out here.
After my eight-month stay in St. Paul’s, I came to the Dr. Peter Centre, and I’m now gradually reintegrating my way into society.
What is most important about the Dr. Peter Centre to you?
The camaraderie between everyone at the Dr. Peter Centre; if I’m gone for a while, I get messages and people check in. They care.
What would you like people know about the Dr. Peter Centre?
It is a great resource to help you get back on your feet and to help you to be healthier.
What would you like people to know about HIV and AIDS?
It’s a lifetime of challenges. It never goes away.