Meet Daniel Bielak from Canada
Canadian #ChangeLeader Daniel Bielak’s childhood wasn’t exactly like everyone else’s. For starters, he spent 150 days per year in the hospital during the first ten years of his life. Born with a rare case of asthma, Daniel couldn’t rely on the help of puffers or breathing machines. In fact, due to his condition, those medical aids actually made him more sick, and the doctors couldn’t figure out why. As it turns out, he was allergic to them but they didn’t discover this allergy until he was ten-years-old. After flying out to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota with his mother, a doctor finally took Daniel off of his medication and advised him instead to try sleeping on an incline. After that seemingly simple advice, Daniel says he had the best sleep of his life and he began to regain his life back.
Overcoming childhood obstacles is something that we all share. Whether it’s beating a health scare, standing up to bullying, or overcoming economic challenges, we all experience difficult times growing up. In effect, our collective sense of vulnerability is what makes us human. The important thing to remember during these times, though, is that we are not alone in our struggles and these challenges are not meant to define us.
Daniel’s story is a great example of this. Today, Daniel’s asthma is in remission and, following suit, his life has become quite active. He’s competed in cross-country races, played volleyball, and played rugby -activities most doctors would have never thought possible with the prior severity of his asthma. Seeing the importance of resilience, optimism, and determination played in his own life, Daniel later decided to turn his struggles into opportunity and become a public speaker. Starting small, Daniel shared his story on a local news network and gave presentations to classmates in elementary school. His message was always consistent: never give up on life.
Always wanting to try new things and continue to grow, Daniel combined his message of hope with his love of podcasts. Rather than falling into the trap of producing another business podcast, however, he decided to create a podcast that would target his peers and fill in the gaps left empty by the education system. So, he created The Youth Empowerment Podcast with the mission to empower and uplift youth to achieve their potential. Drawing on his own experiences, Daniel’s podcasts underscore the importance of mental and physical health, communication, financial literacy, and life knowledge to his peers.
Today, Daniel continues to expand his impact through the Youth Empowerment Podcast, touching the lives of strangers and peers alike, in an effort to encourage others to overcome their challenges. Life is meant to be lived and although challenges may be thrown our way, we should not let this discourage us from becoming our best selves, Daniel’s personal story reminds us of this. As Daniel says himself, “No matter what life throws at you, never give up. There is no not.”