Blair Charters recently published a short story, Beautiful Struggles, about his experiences living with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

Conquering life’s struggles and inspiring others

Award-winning speaker

Four years ago Blair Charters was invited to give a speech in front of 40 inmates at Bowden Institution about his struggles, and successes, as someone with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

Charters, who received an Award of Excellence in Public Awareness on Dec. 5 as part of the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities Awards, said speaking to inmates was definitely intimidating, and a bit scary.

“I always crack jokes at the beginning of my speech, and I cracked a few jokes at the beginning and nobody laughed. Nobody cracked a smile,” said Charters, 37, of Red Deer.

But before his time was up, Charters’ story, and words of encouragement, sparked many questions from the group.

“The warden said that you’re a very good motivational speaker because this is a very tough crowd, and for them to have that many questions for you is very inspiring.”

Charters said it’s important to let people know that life’s obstacles can be conquered.

“If I can overcome my struggle, they can overcome theirs. Just because I have a disability, it doesn’t mean I let that disability get me down. You can overcome anything.

“Basically you have to take the word can’t out of your head. People told me for years I can’t do things, so I didn’t even try.”

Charters said before his diagnosis at 16, and prior to finding the right school, life in class was difficult and math was horrible.

“I didn’t understand one word (the teacher) said, but there was no way I was going to raise my hand and say no I didn’t get that and be singled out as the dumb one.”

Charters, who works as a supervisor baker at Earl’s, said he used to have a joint bank account with his mother. Then one day he decided to tackle math.

“Now I can manage money very well.”

He said when he was young, he would shoplift for people to try and make friends. Now he regularly gives inspirational speeches to crowds.

Charters has organized a speech night at The Hub, on Feb. 7 at 6:30 p.m., where he will be joined by a couple speakers, including Terri Robson, of Red Deer, who lives with Asperger syndrome. Admission is free.

“Every struggle I have, I do a speech about it. That’s how my speeches come about.”

His most recent speech was inspired by U.S. president-elect Donald Trump, and the negativity he incites.

“I was sick of hearing Donald Trump’s name every five seconds everywhere I went. Donald Trump doesn’t matter in your world. You matter in your world.”

For more information about Charters visit http://blai83.wixsite.com/blairchartersproject.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Quebec wins ringette gold in overtime

End-to-end thriller played before more than 1,100 fans at Servus Arena

Alberta’s men and women speedskaters take silver in relay

Speedskaters credited hard training for Friday’s success

Photo radar unlikely to change in Red Deer

City participates in photo radar review

Trial into fatal Canada Day crash to continue

A trial into a fatal Canada Day 2016 crash failed to wrap… Continue reading

NEB gives Trans Mountain pipeline expansion its endorsement

CALGARY — The National Energy Board has endorsed an expansion of the… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: Must-have wardrobe basics

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Local Sports: Tanner Butler: A gifted defenceman

RDC hockey Kings head coach Trevor Keeper had an idea of what… Continue reading

Stettler RCMP looking for hit-and-run driver

A white Dodge truck with a flat deck backed into a car… Continue reading

Seniors: Who owns your medical records?

Have you ever been asked to fill in authorization forms or pay… Continue reading

Ponoka man attacked by dogs issues plea to town council

Troubles with bylaw and handling of court case prompts presentation to council

‘Napalm Girl’ to discuss journey from hatred to forgiveness

Latest Herr Lecture to feature Kim Phuc Phan Thi at LMC

Rabbits saved from barn fire in Ponoka County

The Ponoka County East District Fire Department was called to a barn fire

Abel begins diving season on brink of record for most worlds medals

MONTREAL — Jennifer Abel could make history this summer in Gwangju, South… Continue reading

On eve of return to Toronto, former Raptors star DeRozan says he’s “moved on”

TORONTO — DeMar DeRozan has found closure. When the player once fondly… Continue reading

Most Read