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CAMH Foundation Announces Inaugural Recipients of the New 2008 CAMH Transforming Lives Awards

(TORONTO – April 22, 2008) - On Thursday, May 8, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Foundation presents the inaugural CAMH Transforming Lives Awards where seven extraordinary Canadians who have overcome the challenges associated with addiction and mental illness will be honoured. Award recipients have either overcome the illnesses and used their experiences to help others; or they have contributed to advances in mental health and addictions care through science, advocacy or patronage.

The seven remarkable recipients will share their personal stories at an inspiring ceremony at the Toronto Sheraton Centre Hotel where more than 900 guests are expected. Dr. David S. Goldbloom, CAMH’s Senior Medical Advisor, Education and Public Affairs, will host this year’s CAMHTransforming Lives Awards, presented by RBC Capital Markets. Proceeds from the evening will benefit the nationally and internationally recognized work of CAMH.

The CAMH Foundation is pleased to announce the following 2008 CAMH Transforming Lives Award recipients:

  • Graeme Bonar – Graeme Bonar’s promising hockey career came crashing down when, at 21, he suffered an ankle injury. The mental and physical anguish of giving up his lifelong dream eventually led Graeme to hit rock bottom. He attempted to fill his empty void with sex, alcohol and an array of drugs. Graeme decided to get his life back on track and live life to the fullest with the same determination and strength he had put into his hockey. Giving back to others and candidly sharing his story became Graeme’s new focus.
  • Earla Dunbar – At the early age of four, Earla Dunbar already felt different and experienced physical and psychological symptoms of what would later be diagnosed as severe social phobia. The stigma surrounding mental illness initially led Earla to avoid seeking treatment for her condition. Today, Earla is a mental health advocate, a public educator for mental illness and a mental health promoter often featured in the media.
  • Andrew Galloway – Andrew Galloway was a budding entrepreneur with a loving family and supportive friends. All of it started to slide away as he immersed himself more and more in a world of isolation and alcohol and drug use. Over the years, Andrew’s crack addiction drove him to the realization that he would die unless he sought help. Sharing his experiences and helping others was so fulfilling that Andrew decided to study addiction at McMaster University, for which he received the Award of Excellence for Outstanding Academic Achievement Andrew continues to be a very active volunteer, speaking to youth about addiction at schools and universities and raising funds to help people seek treatment.
  • Michael Kirby – The Hon.Michael Kirby will become the first recipient of a new award – The CAMH Transforming Lives Community Leadership Award. Michael has rallied not just a community but a nation to embrace this important issue, and given hope to people with mental illness and their families that we can and will do a better job in Canada.
  • Clara Locey – In her early teens, Clara Locey was forced to deal with several life changes which removed a safety net and left her isolated from friends and family. Her new friends introduced Clara to a world of drugs and the rave scene. It took a horrifying experience to bring Clara to the realization that she needed to change. Through CAMH, she joined the Youth Outreach Services program as a guest speaker and now volunteers her time speaking to youth, parents and professionals about her experiences with addiction.
  • Shelagh Rogers – A beloved and iconic voice on Canadian radio, Shelagh Rogers made the courageous decision to publicly admit a long-time battle with depression – a depression so severe it resulted in the loss of job confidence and good friends, and even the ability to speak for several weeks. Since finding support and the strength to recover, she has become a passionate advocate for those with mental health and addiction issues.
  • Alex Troeger – For 28 years, Alex Troeger experienced a harrowing journey with mental illness, which included a diagnosis of schizophrenia at age 22. Alex’s journey with mental illness began at age 10 when he heard voices in his head. As time progressed, the voices came and went, but his overall concentration steadily worsened, and he had to take a six-month leave from work. With well-meaning but unprepared parents and no other significant support structure, Alex was thrust into a downward spiral to the world of homelessness. Things began to look up for Alex after he became a client of the Waterloo Regional Homes for Mental Health. He is passionate about giving back to his community and is now actively involved in volunteering for a variety of Waterloo-area and province-wide mental health groups.

CAMH is a specialized teaching hospital fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is the largest mental health and addiction facility in Canada. CAMH is also a Pan American Health Organization and a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre.

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Note:The award recipients are available for media interviews. To arrange an interview, or to attend the CAMH Transforming Lives Awards and Dinner, please contact Aline Bardakjian/Karen Petcoff,aline@turbinepr.com/kvpet@rogers.com, 416-508-7929/416-275-6844.

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