"I learned at a very young age how fragile life is. When I was 15 years old I found out I had a brain tumor. The doctors said I had a very small chance that I could outlive it. The only alternative was to get on a long waiting list for open face surgery in hopes of removing it. I guess the first blessing happened on my 16th birthday, when the surgery was scheduled. I found out shortly after waking from the surgery that they went into the palette of the roof of my mouth instead of opening up my entire face. I guess you could say that was the second blessing. But the real blessing was that I overcame it completely and I survived something that most people never live through. I was close to death and I escaped it, and now I celebrate life because of it.
I wanted to be free. After this literal escape from death, I had some challenges at home and left at a very young age to spend my teenage years literally on the streets. I started with a hitchhiking tour all through Canada. Essentially I was homeless, sleeping on rooftops and under bridges and free. I met tons of interesting people, and experienced life to the fullest. Surviving the death sentence of a brain tumor was like defying death. I felt like the walking dead. I wasn’t supposed to be here. The doctors had told me there was no hope. But here I was, alive and breathing and being so free to live my life. When you live on the streets, you really appreciate just being alive. On the streets, you don’t have first or last names. So they started to call me Zombie, a person who is living but so close to death.”