Researcher Overcomes Mental Illness to Win Order of Canada

14:37 EDT Thursday, October 25, 2007

OTTAWA, Oct. 25 /CNW Telbec/ - October 26, 2007 will mark two unique milestones in the life of Austin Mardon. Firstly, it will be almost 15 years to the day since he initially became ill with schizophrenia and secondly he will be awarded the Order ofCanada in recognition of his work as a mental health advocate.

Mardon will be made a Member of the Order of Canada in part because he never hesitates to use his personal story as an example to others living with mental illness. Undaunted following a schizophrenia diagnosis in 1992, he dedicated himself to writing and scientific research.

He also became an active and passionate mental health advocate, speaking out about issues affecting people who live with mental illness.

"Austin Mardon is truly a symbol of hope and recovery for persons living with schizophrenia and their families," says Sheila Deighton, Ottawa Regional Coordinator for the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario. "Austin has chosen to channel his energy into the service helping others living with schizophrenia. His achievements and dedication are truly inspirational."

Over the years, Mardon has become not only a spokesperson, but also a champion who serves as a mentor and a beacon of hope for thousands of other Canadians. Mardon was recently the guest of honour at the 'Inspiration Reception: From Illness to Excellence' event heldOctober 25th at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre.

Presented in partnership by the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group and the Ottawa chapter of the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario, the reception saw Mardon tell his story and provided the mental health community an opportunity to celebrate his remarkable accomplishments, culminating with his membership into the Order ofCanada.

"Austin Mardon's dedication, generosity and achievements are an inspiration to all individuals living with schizophrenia," said Dr. Raj Bhatla, Psychiatrist-in-Chief for the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group. "We are honoured to have the opportunity to extend our congratulations to Austin Mardon on this well deserved recognition."

"His leadership and commitment, combined with ongoing research and ever improving treatments and therapies provide hope to persons living with schizophrenia as well as to their families,"Dr. Bhatla said.

Specifically stressing the benefits and the importance of medication as a way to regain control over one's life, Mardon has helped a great number of individuals to reclaim their place in society.

"I believe I am receiving Canada's highest civilian decoration because of the difficult but conscious adherence to the treatment regime for my illness," says Mardon. "Many people with schizophrenia lose out on their potential because over 80 percent of them consciously stop taking their medications at one or more points in their lives."

"Like diabetes, schizophrenia meds should be taken for the life of the individual," says Mardon.

The Order of Canada was established in 1967 to recognize outstanding achievement and service in various fields of human endeavour. It is Canada's highest honour for lifetime achievement.

For further information: commentary, or to set-up an interview with Austin Mardon, please contact: Sue Riley, Royal Ottawa Health Care Group, (613) 722-6521, ext. 6349,; Sheila Deighton, Schizophrenia Society of Ontario, Ottawa Region, (613) 722-6521, ext. 7775,

Austin Mardon, CM
Telephone: 1-780-378-0063
Post Office Box 1223, Main Post Office,
Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA,
T5J 2M4
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