Stan Walker has had his strength tested over recent times, battling with stomach cancer.
Now, he’s become an ambassador for Youthline’s Good2Great programme, which was created to help Kiwi youth to build their self-esteem and leadership skills in a safe, anonymous environment.
Stan has now written a powerful open letter, via Stuff, for Youth Week, talking about overcoming childhood trauma.
He wrote, "When I talk to young people, I tell them my story because I hope when they hear it and see what I've been through, they will start to believe that they too can be whatever they want be.
"I went from stealing my lunch at school, just so I had something to eat besides meat loaf and bread, to being on the same stage as Beyonce.
"I tell them about how I was brought up in a village on my marae in Tauranga.
"We didn't have anything, no money, nothing. My dad was a violent man towards us and towards my mum. He wasn't a father to me and my brothers and he wasn't a husband to my mum.
"I tell them about how I don't have one memory of him hugging us or telling us he loved us. He was always in and out of jail and we were always seeing him taken away by the cops.
"We were brought up around a lot of drugs, alcohol and all kinds of abuse. I was told I was nothing and I was kicked out of home.
"I was the worst statistic, I was everything that was going to fail."
He shared, "All through my teenage years I hated myself - I used to look in the mirror and hate everything about myself. For so many years I tried so hard to be someone else, that I lost who I was.
"You would never want that for your kids, but I didn't get a choice in how I was brought up. I struggled with it throughout my teenage years, but now I know that the things I hated about myself, the things that got me into trouble are now the things that make me stand out and now I get to live my dream. Those things have made me who I am today.”
You can read the FULL letter HERE.
If you are concerned about your own emotional wellbeing, are experiencing a personal crisis or are concerned about someone else, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or at www.lifeline.org.au
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