Life isn’t easy. Heavyweight boxer George Chuvalo and television broadcaster Dan Carter should know.
On Wednesday, June 2, the two spoke to hundreds of Durham students about rising above challenges to make the most out of life.
Dan Carter’s mother died when he was six months old, after which he spent time in various foster homes before being adopted by a loving family of five. He struggled with a learning disability, was raped and lost a brother in a motorcycle accident by the time was 13. His life took a quick downturn and he became addicted to alcohol and drugs. By the time he was 31, he was an addict living on the streets of Toronto, lying, cheating and stealing his way to his next fix. But he turned his life around. With the help of his sister, he spent a year in a drug and alcohol treatment program and sobered up. Even after his sister committed suicide, he continued to strive for greatness and now works as a television broadcaster and has set up several charities for underprivileged youth.
Though he lived a life most would consider a nightmare, Carter turned it all around, realizing there were no excuses for the way he lived.
“Seventy billion people have lived on this earth and you are the smartest generation yet,” he told the students. “Do something today to be kinder, more compassionate and truly make your life come to life.”
Heavyweight boxer George Chuvalo has experienced the loss of an immediate family member not once, but four times. He lost one son to suicide, two sons to drug addiction and his wife committed suicide after the death of their second son. Now he has dedicated his live to travelling the country to speak to young people about taking control of their own lives.
“I don’t like talking about my sons’ drug addiction, but I think I have to,” said Chuvalo. After telling the story of his sons’ dependency on heroin and the crimes they committed to feed their addiction, Chuvalo told the crowd, “if you ever flirt with the idea of doing drugs, I hope you remember me and what drugs did to my family.”
The event, organized by CAW Local 222 president Chris Buckley in partnership with Durham Regional Police, school boards and other community partners, aimed to empower Durham’s youth with messages of optimism.
“Remember your lives will be filled with obstacles and challenges,” said Buckley. “But you can overcome them and you will shape our community and country into the future.”
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Dan Carter Speaks to Crowd (JPG file, 278.2K bytes)
George Chuvalo Talks from the Heart (JPG file, 246.4K bytes)