In 1986, Austin Mardon, as a 24 year old, was thrust onto the Antarctic Polar Plateau, 170 miles from the South Pole as a junior field member of an International Meteorite Recovery Expedition. During that season, the team found over 100 meteorites - including one from the moon. While his findings contributed immeasurably to advancement of science, the extreme hardships of the expedition left him mentally and physically disabled.
After several years, his illness descended into schizophrenia. Going from the glory and fame of presenting learned papers at NASA Conferences to getting lost within one block of his basement one-room suite where he lived was quite a contrast.
Since then, he has slowly crawled back to sanity from the madness of schizophrenia. He bravely survived many setbacks by evoking an indomitable will to make a contribution. His attitude and philosophy of life is that "one should never give up. By helping others, a person helps oneself." In addition to being a member of The Order of Canada, he received three Canadian and international decorations: the US Antarctic Service Medal, the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal and the Alberta Centennial Medal. In addition, he received an additional personal award for outstanding volunteerism from the former Governor General of Canada. He is an international fellow of the Explorer’s Club and a corresponding member of the International Academy of Astronautics. He has authored over 120 scholarly articles and edited, translated and authored 50 books including "Down and Out, Seven Days in Moscow".
Dr. Mardon has a graduate degree in Geography, two Master’s Degrees in Geography from US Universities and an Ph.D. in Political Geography from Greenwich University. He is a former Trustee of the Edmonton Public Library and Vice-Chair of the Alberta Disabilities Forum and a volunteer for countless other mental-illness organizations. Austin is an Adjunct Professor of the John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre at the University of Alberta.
Dr. Austin Mardon is a Member of the Order of Canada. He is recognized as one of the most distinguished leaders for the understanding and support of people with mental illness. His talks and/or workshops concentrate on providing tips on surmounting everyday and long-term mental problems. All of us face adversity. For example, 20% of the population suffers from a form of mental illness. 25% of us are affected by some form of addiction. Whether it’s a family situation or dealing with fellow employees in the workplace, we all need pointers in how we help others and ourselves to sanity. Through individual effort, a person can learn to not give into despair, and overcome "the dark night of the soul." His personal story is an inspiration on how even severe madness can be overcome and his message promotes the importance of "giving back to society" as a genuine means of rehabilitation. Dr. Mardon is an articulate expert in mental illness.
Dr. Austin Mardon has recently received the distinguished Medal of Honour from the Canadian Medical Association. Dr. Mardon won his Award for his great work related to mental health awareness in Canada. For more information on his Award click here.
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