April 7, 2008
The following story was written by Philip Beakhouse, from Edmonton, Alberta. Philip believes that literacy changed his life and can change people's lives. Developing literacy skills has given him confidence to become a public speaker, a board member and a student representative. His long-term employment has only been made possible by his willingness to address his personal literacy issues.
My early years were lost through a misdiagnosis of a brain tumour. The doctors thought that the brain tumour that I was born with would dissolve by itself. At the age of 25, I finally had it removed surgically. Due to not having developed those neural channels where the tumour was, my siblings and bosses saw me as stupid and wrote me off as dumb. In reality, the tumour stopped my learning and I just never learned how to read and write. That is until a new friend encouraged me to join PALS in the mid 90s. My world opened up. My bosses and siblings no longer shun me and now view me with new respect. A freedom and ever growing confidence, previously denied me, is changing my life. Thank heavens for that special friend.
I am proud to have been working for the Alberta Government since 1973.