Vendor Profile: Megaphone’s own Vancouver vendor Stephen Scott was one of the recipients of this year’s Courage To Come Back award
‘It’s a miracle to be alive’
Longtime Vancouver vendor Stephen Scott is a recipient of Coast Mental Health’s 2017 Courage To Come Back award in the medical category thanks to his resilient spirit and ability to overcome adversity.
The award celebrates people like Stephen, who have not only overcome difficult challenges or illnesses, but also work to inspire and help the community around them. In its 19 years, Stephen is the first Coast Mental Health client to receive the award in one of its six categories.
“Because of my story, the different accidents I had, the cancer, HIV, all of it is a really amazing story,” he says. “My story is good inspiration.”
Stephen couldn’t be more right.
For those who haven’t been met with Stephen’s bubbly personality at the corner of Davie and Thurlow in Vancouver, where he’s been a vendor for five years, he’s dealt with many hardships.
He was once homeless, and was in and out of all types of shelters while he used drugs.
“I’m easy to be influenced,” he says. “Someone says, try this maybe you forget your problems. I thought I was dying in two months so I had nothing to lose.”
Years ago, a doctor found a dark spot on a brain scan and predicted Stephen would only have a few months to live. He was diagnosed with HIV in his early 20s. He’s been in two serious accidents that left him comatose, and he had his jaw broken when he was assaulted while living on the streets.
Stephen grew up near Montreal but left because his family couldn’t accept he was gay.
After meeting his partner and finding a safe place to call home, Stephen has been giving back to his community. He volunteers at Coast Mental Health’s resource centre, and graduated from its peer support program.
In 2014, he was Megaphone’s vendor of the year.
After being nominated, Stephen was interviewed by many news organizations, and had long features about him on TV and in newspapers. He was happy to share his story in hopes it inspires people to get through hard times.
Stephen has survived many things and now leads a happy life selling Megaphone, volunteering and giving back to his community, and being featured in the magazine, Hope in Shadows calendar, and Voices of the Street literary anthology.
“It’s a miracle to be alive,” Scott says about what he’s been through. “It was a huge thing to be nominated.”
Stephen sells Megaphone and Voices of the Street at his corner at the southwest corner of Davie and Thurlow on Wednesdays and Fridays from 12–6 p.m. Photo by David Denofreo, Black Opal Images. Written by Stefania Seccia.