Faith played role in recovery, Oshawa mayor tells CTC breakfast

Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter speaks to roughly 600 people at the Children's Treatment Center Bike-A-Thon Plus Kickoff Breakfast on Wednesday, May 8, 2019. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – For all the challenges in his life, Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter believes he was put on this earth and “created (by God) for something really special.”

Carter was the guest speaker at the Children’s Treatment Center Bike-A-Thon Plus Kickoff Breakfast at the Cornwall Civic Complex Wednesday morning.

Speaking to a crowd of roughly 600, Carter recounted his challenges in life including being undiagnosed for years with dyslexia and surviving rape at 8 years old while he was delivering newspapers – a secret he kept until he was 31 years old.

Carter also lost his mother at an early age, a brother – an promising police officer and family man – in a motorcycle accident and his sister to suicide.

Carter’s sister, Maureen, had helped him seek treatment for his drug and alcohol abuse. “It devastated me. I was nine years sober. I never picked up a drink or a drug. She saved my life because she believed that the greatness lived within me. She knew that I would do something great in my life. She saw things in me that I never saw.”

But Carter has been able to turn his life around, including being elected the mayor of Oshawa in October.

He said faith played a large role in his recovery.

“I truly believe that the role that I am in now…is to be able to conduct myself in a way that will make people proud to say that’s what public service looks like.”

Carter says the work the Children’s Treatment Center does is important.

“The work that it does can change lives…brings light to darkness that most individuals don’t understand the impact that it will have at the roots that are planted when we give and treat and support and love and show kindness and compassion and understanding, changes people’s lives forever. That’s what treatment can do and that’s how it can change someone’s life,” he said.

Local lawyer Sean Adams said the CTC had a “tough year” in 2018 and brought in $60,000 less than the previous year. That was mainly due to changes in some bank donations and the cancellation of a golf tournament.

Adams said they have to raise at least $10,000 more this year than in 2018.

The CTC is bringing in two new partnerships to make up the difference – a vehicle raffle which is expected to net $25,000. Ottawa Senators interim coach Marc Crawford will be a cyclist in the upcoming Bike-A-Thon Plus to help with fundraising. “I’ve got time on my hands…I’m waiting for the phone to ring,” he joked.

The CTC Bike-A-Thon Plus goes Saturday, May 25, 2019 at St. Lawrence College.