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Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec Canada, I was always encouraged by my Parents to do whatever I set my mind to despite having congenital birth defects, the most noticeable being my right arm and hand. Some would see me and shake their head with pity in their eyes and judge my abilities based on my appearance. If it was up to some of them, I would not have accomplished half of what I have managed to do. The word "can't" does not exist in my vocabulary and I have always found a way to achieve my goals.
In an effort to demonstrate that people should not be judged based on appearance, I formed an AC/DC Tribute Band called BARE RUMP to share my message -"WHY DISCOURAGE WHEN YOU CAN ENCOURAGE". Using a prosthetic, I played lead guitar and was "Angus Young".
I now spread my message as an INSPIRATIONAL SPEAKER.
When I started thinking about sharing my story, some said that I had too much to talk about. I considered this and realized that each chapter flows into another and is therefore, necessary. My tales of determination include being born with congenital birth defects, being ostracized, laughed at, picked on and bullied to becoming a bully, playing a variety of sports including hockey, football, baseball and tennis, playing guitar using a prosthetic, overcoming obstacles to enter the workforce and being diagnosed with breast cancer which resulted in my riding my motorcycle with 1 (left) hand.
I believe that there is always a positive - sometimes you just have to dig a bit deeper to find it.
As an example, being diagnosed with breast cancer was the push that I needed to ride a motorcycle. It was always something that I would do "one day". When faced with your own mortality, you realize that "one day" might never come.
If I had not started riding, I would not have started to write - if I did not start to write, I would not have had an opportunity to do so for a Motorcycle Magazine - if I did not have this opportunity, I would not have been exposed to so many wonderful people and opportunities such as being selected to organize the Women In Motorcycling Exhibit for the Spring Motorcycle Show in Mississauga, Ontario - if I did not have this opportunity, I would not have decided to pursue Inspirational Speaking to share my tales of determination.
If you wait around for things to happen, chances are that they will not.
I had the good fortune to meet Angus and Malcolm Young of AC/DC in 2000 and asked if they would teach me Thunderstruck. They did
When I saw that one of my favourite bands, Stone Temple Pilots, occasionally had fans on stage to sing the intro to their song "Dead And Bloated", I made a sign asking to be selected. I was - twice with them and once with Scott Weiland's band The Wildabouts.
One should never be made to feel uncomfortable of who they are and how they look. We should all feel confident in ourselves and our abilities and strive to do the things which interest us. We are all beautiful and should never feel uncomfortable with being proud of who we are.
By sharing my story, I hope to inspire others that despite the obstacles, anything is possible and that limitations are okay. We all have them.
You are not alone.