On March 16, 1994, I left the Childrens Hospital Of Eastern Ontario after living there for 19 years straight, including 6 years in a windowless ICU. It certainly wasn’t easy. I loss tons of friends due to various illnesses and diseases. There’s not a lot of people in this World that can fully understand what it’s like, nor do I recommend it.

At the age of 15, I was given a choice. 1. To live in a group home. 2. To live in a long term Hospital. Being the tough, stubborn SOB that I am, I chose a 3rd option. I wanted something that everybody wants, I wanted freedom. I chose to think “outside the box” and wanted to live on my own.

My Mom & I wrote letters and pleaded with the Government both locally and nationally. It took 4 years of hard work, sweat, tears, and letters to get what most take for granted. In the end, I got my wish.

On March 16th, 1994, the Hospital threw me a big party. Nurses, Doctors, and even the Media were there. I had mixed feelings at the time. I was happy, sad, scared, and possibly just a tad proud of myself.

At the time, I was the first severely physically disabled person in Canada to do this. I was given a huge send-off. The first night in my own place was spent relaxing and watching TV and of course the news.

I won’t deny that I’ve had my share of ups & downs in 14 years, but who hasn’t. Through it all, I’ve learned a lot both negative and positive and have become stronger, physically, mentally,and emotionally.

Just 3 years ago, I had to once again fight for my freedom. One of the places that was providing funds decided to cut me off. Once again, they wanted to ship me off to a group home. To top it off, my best friend had just passed away. This time around, I lobbied successfully and convinced the Government once again that I’m worth it. I received word about my victory right after his Funeral.

I’m not sure what tomorrow, next week, or next year will bring, but I know one thing for sure.

Nothing is better than freedom.

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