| Michael Scott, author of The Warlock may have said it best: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
Nothing could be truer for Barry. As a voracious reader, writer and video-gamer in the science fiction and fantasy genres, Barry seeks to discover the entire world and beyond through his imagination. Barry would describe this as his passion and in particular, on-line video gaming; “Video gaming is an equalizer. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in a wheelchair, speak another language, or where you live, everyone is the same, and we all have the same abilities.” Through the world of on-line gaming, Barry has made friends all over the world including Australia, China and the UK.
Diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and Epilepsy, Barry has lived much of his adult life in group homes and long term care facilities with happy memories of growing up in a small rural community in Saskatchewan. Adopted by his foster parents at the age of 4, Barry’s mother instilled in him that he was not “special” and that he had the same gifts as other children. The expectations she placed on Barry were high and she demanded the same from his school by fighting hard to make sure Barry was fully integrated into mainstream classrooms. It wasn’t always easy but the power of love and the belief that he belonged made him strong. At the age of 19, Barry moved to Saskatoon and a few years later to Regina, both moves were intimidating because he didn’t know anyone. Barry was able to draw on his inner strength and sense of humour to develop long-lasting friendships and become active in the community. Barry has gone on to obtain a Certificate in Web Design and is a member of ‘Listen to Dis’, an organization that enables people with disabilities to create and participate in art.
A referral to Donalda Jones in 2009 introduced Barry to REALM and gave him insight into what he could accomplish with the support of a network. Since then, his network and the people connected to REALM have become like family to him. “The support, assistance and encouragement I receive help me to move forward with my life in a way I decide. I know REALM cares about me and I care about them.” When asked what is on his bucket list, Barry smiles brightly, “I want to publish several books, have my own family, live independently and keep exploring the universe!”
You’d better put your running shoes on if you want to keep up with Barry!