Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Putting a Face to Tragedy

Because the links often disappear from the net, I am copying and putting the local paper's article here.

Mike's journey ends in fatal misfortune


A disabled homeless man is found murdered at an elementary school.

For most people, that's all they'll ever learn about Michael Nestoruk.

The 41-year-old's life before his grisly death Thursday has been an enigma to police, but a snapshot of the man taken two years ago reveals much more.

In February 2007, Nestoruk contacted 24 hours months after a photo of him - sleeping at Victory Square with his beat-down wheelchair by his side - was used on the cover.

Seeing himself as the poster boy for homelessness turned out to be a shock to Nestoruk's system, and a huge motivator as he battled to reclaim a normal life.

"I was pissed off because there I was exposed to everyone," the fiery father of two was quoted in "Back from abyss," a feature that ran in 24 hours on Feb. 27, 2007. "It's the only picture of me on the street and I thought 'what are my kids going to think when they see this?'"

He was estranged from his wife and his two children.

With the help of two B.C. Paraplegic Association outreach workers, Nestoruk dragged himself out of a drug-addicted lifestyle one step at a time.

He received a new wheelchair, a prosthetic leg and became an inspiration to others as he kicked a destructive drug habit and joined the province's wheelchair tennis team.

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