George was born into a hard working Italian immigrant family on July 27, 1955 in Toronto, Ontario. Growing up, George had a great passion for being involved in his local community, specifically in sports and recreation. However, as a child, illness such as chronic asthma, rheumatic fever and contracting hepatitis C at the age of fifteen prevented him from obtaining his full potential.

As a young teenager, George battled with the current demon in society, substance abuse. His addiction led George to jails and institutions. On September 11, 1986, by the grace of God, George left that life behind. This major transformation in his life formulated his vision to teach all people how to achieve a healthier and holistic lifestyle. In the next 10 years, George and his childhood friends, created and developed programs that helped literally thousands of people overcome substance abuse addiction. George’s persistence and integrity has also led him to roles in the community as an outreach worker,
co-ordinator, counsellor, recreational manager and visionary. George went on to become a fitness promoter and eventually found our present charity Step By Step.

George’s own words

My story is most easily understood if presented in chronological order:

1992 – The Beginning - After an annual physical examination, I discovered that I had  liver disease and that I had only a two years left to live.

1994 – The Wait - I was told that I had but two months to live, and I was placed on the waiting list for a liver transplant,

1995 Aug – Hope - I was rushed to the Toronto General Hospital with two days left to live. At about the same time, in another part of the country, a family was given the tragic news, that their loved one had passed away. It was during this very difficult time that this family made a very unselfish and courageous decision. They wanted others to live and passed on the precious gift of life. As a result, my life was saved and so were 5 others.

1995 – My Decision - 2 weeks after the transplant, I was out of the hospital. 3 months later I was back in the gym training and pinching myself every day. How is it, that I am still alive?. I wanted to passionately acknowledge this great gift, in the most profound and respectful way to the family. What was I supposed to do?

1996 Oct — The Vision — During an N.A. convention in Montreal, I experienced a fantastic vision. In this vision, I seen myself building a great event that would inspire many people. I shared this vision with my friends. Besides thinking I was crazy, they sort of felt that something great was ahead of me. At this time I thought my mission was to address substance abuse and to try and eliminate this demon out of society. After listening to Whitney Houston’s song Step By Step, I immediately started working on building this journey (little did I know where this would lead).  So Step By Step was born.


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