Living With Mental Illness & Addiction Takes Courage



    CAMH Foundation Announces 2007 Recipients of the 15th Annual
    Courage to Come Back Awards

    TORONTO, April 17 /CNW/ - The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Foundation is proud to announce the 2007 recipients of the 15th Annual Courage
to Come Back Awards presented by RBC Capital Markets.
    These six extraordinary people who have overcome mental illness and/or
addiction and now use their experience to help others will be honoured for
their courage at a gala awards dinner hosted by the Centre for Addiction and
Mental Health (CAMH) Foundation. The Courage to Come Back Awards Dinner takes
place Thursday, May 3rd at the Westin Harbour Castle Conference Centre.

    
    Here are the 2007 Courage to Come Back Award recipients:

    -   Marie Asuncion of Scarborough - Just before her sixteenth birthday,
        Marie Asuncion was experiencing paranoia, feeling anxious and hearing
        voices. Several weeks later she had her first episode of psychosis.
        With help from CAMH, Marie learned to understand and successfully
        manage her illness. Today, she participates in numerous
        extracurricular and leadership activities and actively encourages
        youth who may be at risk of psychosis to seek preventative treatment.

    -   Rita Buffalo of Thunder Bay - From early in her childhood, Rita
        Buffalo experienced unspeakable physical, emotional and sexual abuse.
        After spending her adolescence in a series of foster homes and mental
        health facilities, Rita ended up on the streets and for 20 years made
        a living by selling her body to support her cocaine addiction. Today,
        Rita is a powerful advocate of Aboriginal literacy and lends her
        support and direction to people in the very programs that helped her
        turn her life around.

    -   Dr. Michael Kaufmann of Warkworth - Seeking help, accepting
        diagnosis, and overcoming addiction is difficult for anyone,
        especially a physician. Dr. Michael Kaufmann never thought that he
        would be the one asking for help, but shortly after opening his own
        medical practice, Michael's casual use of prescription drugs turned
        into a severe addiction. An intervention from caring colleagues
        started Michael on the road to recovery. As the founding Director of
        the Physician Health Program for the Ontario Medical Association in
        Toronto, Michael now helps thousands of other health professionals in
        similar circumstances.

    -   Tom Regehr of Georgetown - turned to alcohol at the age of 15 after a
        series of losses during his childhood. He avoided his emotional pain
        while living on the streets for nearly a decade. At the age of 37,
        Tom reached a turning point and his life finally came into focus.
        Taking his recovery into his own hands, he started a support group
        and today he continues to change the lives of those struggling with
        addiction by providing positive and hopeful support.

    -   Alyse Schacter of Ottawa - was only 12 years old when she was
        diagnosed with severe, treatment-resistant Obsessive Compulsive
        Disorder (OCD) and Tourette's Syndrome. Despite the fact that no
        treatment has worked for her, Alyse is a Grade 11 honours student, a
        budding philanthropist and an active volunteer. Alyse refuses to let
        her illness define her life. She is continually educating her peers
        and helping to break down the stigma associated with mental illness.

    -   Jeff Wilbee of Kitchener - From alcohol abuse and psychiatric
        hospitalizations to a life he never dreamed possible: following his
        recovery, Jeff Wilbee became a passionate advocate and was named
        Executive Director of Addictions Ontario. He now enjoys life with his
        cherished wife, children and grandchildren, and has helped hundreds
        of people gain control of their addictions and improve their lives
        and relationships.
    

    The Courage to Come Back Awards is an annual public awareness and
fundraising campaign first launched in 1993. The awards recognize the
achievements of people across Ontario who have shown courage and determination
in the face of mental illness and addiction. The recipients have achieved
personal victories, and now serve as models of hope and inspiration for others
facing similar circumstances.

    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.





For further information:

For further information: The award recipients are available for
interview during the week leading up to the Courage to Come Back Awards. To
arrange an interview, or to attend the Courage to Come Back Awards and Dinner,
please contact Jean Geary, (416) 535-8501, ext. 4395

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CAMH Foundation

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