The homeless man who was stabbed and beaten at an encampment in Vancouver’s Strathcona Park says he’s been overwhelmed by offers of help since going public with his story.
Adam Blackburn, 46, was viciously attacked in his tent in the homeless camp around midnight on Oct. 15. He managed to crawl away, but it would be another eight hours before a Good Samaritan found him and called 911.
Blackburn is now in a wheelchair as he recovers from multiple stab wounds and associated surgeries, and says he still hasn’t been able to secure somewhere to stay.
But since the attack, he says numerous people have been reaching out and offering support — including a critical offer of a phone he hopes will help him land somewhere to live, and donations to a GoFundMe account he hopes will get him started on rent.
A former marathon runner, Blackburn likened the outpouring of support to spectators cheering him on during a run.
“I am certainly not accustomed to that kind of thing, and completely humbled and honoured that my story has resonated with people,” he said.
“In my mind I want to quit — like, what am I doing? This is completely ridiculous — but having those complete strangers ringing a bell and cheering, it’s kind of what it feels like right now.”
Blackburn, a former construction safety officer, said his story shows how quickly anyone can end up on the street.
After losing his job to COVID-19, he found himself living in a tent at the Strathcona camp where the attack happened.
He said his experience living him on the street has helped him see how many misconceptions there are about the homeless, who he described as peoples parents, children and siblings.
“There is quite a few people out here that definitely need help, they don’t want to be living this way,” he said.
“I heard some people say they want to live this way, and from my experience, there might be one or two … but for the most part, no.”
Blackburn is also facing a domestic assault charge, for which he maintains his innocence.
For now, he continues to stay in an emergency shelter, but says he remains grateful to everyone who has offered support.
“I’m not perfect and I’ll probably make a few more mistakes in my life, but I just want to thank everyone for reaching out to me.”