Former Sudbury priest Rick Prashaw opens up about the life and death of his transgender child
Adam Prashaw's memory lives on after his short, tragic life, his father says
If you live in Sudbury or North Bay, you might know the name Rick Prashaw.
He was a Catholic priest who served in the 80s and 90s, and later worked for former Nickel Belt MP Claude Gravelle.
In 1993, Prashaw and his wife had a daughter in Sudbury. But they were expecting a boy.
So they named the child Rebecca Adam.
Rebecca had her challenges, being diagnosed with epilepsy, and around 18 years old, Rebecca no longer went by the name Rebecca. She became Adam, and began her transition to being male.
But at the age of 22, Adam drowned in a tragic accident.
Prashaw has now co-authored a book Soar, Adam, Soar about the trials the family faced over their child's short life.
"I talk in the book about fears...parental fears," Prashaw told CBC's Up North. "It wasn't the issue of the choice."
"Adam always kept it simple and said I want to be who I am. I want to love you."
In Soar, Adam, Soar Prashaw also opens up about the night of his child's death.
"He died on Friday January 22nd," Prashaw said. "For two months he had no seizures and was totally clear. He was with his friends at his favourite hot tub in Ottawa."
"And the friends left to get some things down a very slow elevator, and they found him afterwards. He drowned in the hot tub," Prashaw said.
Moments before the seizure that preceded his drowning, Adam posted an Instagram photo, and Prashaw used that image as the cover for Soar, Adam, Soar.
After his death, Prashaw said Adam's heart was donated. He has even been in touch with the recipient.
"[The recipient] pretty much knew who his donor was and he set up a fake Facebook page and invited me to be his friend and he had only himself as a friend," Prashaw said. "So my first comment to him was- 'this is pathetic. You only have one friend on Facebook.' So he loved that."
"He knew instantly that we would be friends and that there would be a humorous side to this. ...there's some some light in this darkness that I was in."
"So we eventually did meet. I have visited him. We are very good friends and other than him cheering for all the teams that Adam cheered for like the Montreal Canadiens, which I tease him about...we get along pretty well."
Prashaw will be in North Bay Saturday February 23 from noon to 3:00 p.m. at Average Joe's on Trout Lake Road.
Rick will then be in Sudbury, Sunday from 2:00 p.m. to 5 at Twiggs Coffee on the Kingsway.
Later in March he'll be in Elliot Lake and Sault Ste Marie.
For more information, or to purchase a copy of Soar, Adam, Soar, visit Rick Prashaw's website.