I was born and raised in the small farming and ranching community of Nanton, Alberta.
It was clearly established early on in my life that I would not be raised with pity or sympathy. Within hours of when I was born my grandma was informed that my parents gave birth to a healthy baby boy however, I was missing both arms and both legs. Without any hesitation whatsoever she simply pointed out the fact that, “Bruce (my father) never did finish anything he started”.
I attribute that dry and quirky sense of humor as the reason why I can honestly say that growing up without arms and legs was quite easy.
My family could have treated my disability like a total tragedy but instead chose to take it all in stride and make the best of the situation. After all, I still had a good head on my shoulders… and with that, anything is possible.
I grew up just like any other small-town kid. I played road hockey and baseball with all the others my age. I caused mischief at school and got in trouble from my parents when my grades weren’t good enough. I helped out on my grandpa’s farm operating equipment whenever I could. Life was pretty normal. Sure, I had to do things a little differently and maybe took a little bit longer to complete tasks. But I was determined to be just like the rest and I was always treated just like the rest.
After I graduated high school I moved up to the city of Calgary to pursue my post-secondary education. After a few years I moved east to Ottawa where I continued to study History and Psychology at University as well as working with The War Amputations of Canada.
The War Amps was always, and still continues to be a very important influence in my life. Their Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program has assisted thousands of kids across Canada who were either born missing limbs or lost them due to accidents or for other various reasons. CHAMP was started in 1975 by Cliff Chadderton, a man who devoted his life to making the lives of others better. Cliff was and always will be a great mentor in my life and the example he set for me and so many others, is one I continue to follow today.
I cannot begin to talk about the successes I have had in life without giving Cliff and The War Amps as much credit for that as I do my family, friends and the community I grew up in. It was, and still is an absolute pleasure to give back to an organization that has given so much to me.
After being away from home for about five or six years it was time to move back to southern Alberta.
When I moved back to Calgary I had the opportunity to work with one of the most amazing companies there is, WestJet. I was able to work in the airline industry as well as get back into working in agriculture like I had growing up.
Being back in southern Alberta also gave me the opportunity to start working on “If I Can…” It had originally started off as a travel show idea that my good buddy JR Comstock and I came up with. JR and I still hope that idea of a travel show will come to fruition, the “If I Can…” motto has morphed into an even larger project. It has since evolved into a message that I deliver via the videos on YouTube as well as speaking at schools, conferences and various other venues.
Fast-forward to today and I still continue to work in the farming and ranching industry. When I’m not out in the field I am traveling around as a motivational speaker. This allows me to fuel my passion for travel as well as share my story and my experiences in the hopes of encouraging others to live their lives to its greatest potential, because If I Can…