Cyclist almost finished 2nd cross-country tour in 3 years
Chris Cull now leading voice nationally for problems with prescription drug abuse
A man who inspired Canadians with his cross-country bike trek and documentary about prescription drug abuse is back on the road.
Chris Cull made the Victoria to St. John's journey in 2014, which resulted in the film called Inspire.
He's gone on to become a leading public speaker and advocate for people trying to recover from addiction, and an advisor to federal government and medical panels and bodies.
Now, he's back on the bike path, almost finished his second cross-country trip for awareness.
He joined Karen Mair on CBC's Mainstreet during his visit to Charlottetown, just like he did back in 2014.
"I could only use two gears riding between Thunder Bay and Quebec City, and the number of hills in Northern Ontario is ridiculous," he said. "It was kinda just a test of will, it was, well, I'm not stopping. You're going to have to kill me before I stop. I just sucked it up and kept pushing."
Cull has been pushing himself for several years now, after breaking away from his own opioid addiction.
Tragedy led to addiction
In 2007, when he was 22, Cull's father committed suicide after a battle with Huntington's disease.
Cull, who had been his caregiver, was then on his own, and he said he wasn't mature enough to handle the grief and responsibility.
That led to a severe addiction, and then a long recovery period.
He then decided to make a list of what he'd really like to do in life, which included getting back on his bike after eight years, letting people know about the problem with prescription drug addiction, and collecting other stories about it across the country.
"I've spoken in front of, if I had to guesstimate, between 40,000 - 50,000 people in North America, mostly in Canada," he said. "In my film, I documented a story in Calgary about a woman named Sharon, who had recently lost her son, who was 19-years-old if I'm not mistaken, to an OxyContin overdose, and their family was just devastated.
"She had a really hard time making it through the interview, and I felt bad probing her with questions. But this is the reality of what's going on out there. People are dying out there."
Setting an example
As well as raising awareness, Cull speaks to many addicts and those in recovery.
He knows from experience how easy it is to become addicted, and wants to be an example of the good that can happen if someone does recover.
"You can go and ride a bike across Canada, you can go and film a documentary, you can go skydiving in Montreal, or tee a bucket of golf balls off the top of the Rockies, which I did on my first trip."
In addition to all the biking, Cull has a busy schedule each place he stops.
Wednesday night saw him speaking at the Smart Recovery meeting in Charlottetown, and he'll head to Halifax Friday with the trip's end now in sight.
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With files from Mainstreet