Saturday, March 3, 2012

Meet Craig Wright

Craig Wright
Over the past few months, I've been learning a lot about a man named Craig Wright.  Craig was born in August of 1953.  After he was born, he was diagnosed with severe hemophilia when he cut his lip and it wouldn't stop bleeding.  He spent a lot of time in the hospital because of his hemophilia and received gallons of blood from numerous donors.  Life for a hemophiliac was much harder back then.

Craig grew up on the family farm in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan Canada.  At a young age he expressed a desire for farming.  He was told that he should give up that dream because a life of farming would be too dangerous for a hemophiliac.  That did not stop Craig from following his dream.  He grew up to take over the family farm.  He married, and he and his beautiful wife were blessed with 3 precious children.

Craig with his family
However, the Wright's lives were turned upside down one day when 32 year old Craig learned that he had contracted AIDS from bad blood.  His daughter, Ashley recalls:  "I was quite small (maybe 5-7 years old).  I remember seeing one (commercial on HIV/AIDS) and saying, 'Hey Dad, that's you, right?' and immediately after running to my room because I thought I would be in trouble for speaking about it. We all knew, it was NOT something you brought up!"

Ashley remembers telling her best friend about her dad's condition.  "It was the middle of winter and recess time and I asked her to sit with me on a little snow hill and told her."  Her friend didn't understand the reality of the situation, but knew she was sworn to secrecy until Ashley decided to tell others.  It was three years later in 6th grade that Ashley decided to share the situation with her classmates.  She never imagined that her dad would be laid to rest before she would finish 7th grade.

Craig's daughter, Ashley with her son, Parker
As Ashley shared her memories with me, I was deeply impressed with her parents.  Ashley remembers, "They came into the school and did presentations for the class as well as the parents, and I know they had to go through a whole bunch of red tape to even think about discussing such a topic with children.  I remember being scared but yet so proud of my dad for standing in front of the class and explaining to them in children terms what was going on in his body and why.  Needless to say, the children took it better than the parents.  I distinctly remember at the parent info meeting, the parents of the children in my sister's class saying, 'We do not want your daughter playing with our children.'  How do you even respond to that?!  Being a mom now, I have no idea how they handled that without tears!"

Ashley remembers that her dad missed being in his band.  She also remembers the "countless hours and hours he spent on the phone with lawyers and conference calls as well as the many trips to the lawyer's office or the lawyer coming to the house."

Craig was driven by truth and justice.  When he was infected with a deadly virus as a result of others' mistakes, he wanted those responsible to be held accountable.  He dedicated the remainder of his life to fighting for compensation to the families affected by bad blood and holding the responsible parties accountable.  He was deeply involved on "The Krever Commission".  This commission fought for better blood screening, safety of blood products, but mostly for the compensation for the affected families of bad blood.
Craig's grandaughter, Charlie

The Globe & Mail June 1, 1996 states,

"The mandate of the Krever inquiry is twofold:

-Determine how and why more than 1,200 hemophiliacs and transfusion recipients contracted between 1980 and 1985 the virus linked to acquired immune deficiency syndrome and why another 12,000 Canadians contracted hepatitis C from blood and blood products between 1980 and 1990;

-Recommend ways to revamp the blood system so a similar disaster is not repeated."

From studying the documents that Ashley sent to me for this post, I learned how the organizations responsible for the bad blood epidemic were quite upset about the Krever commission.  They thought that the notices of "potential misconduct" should be quashed because they unfairly stigmatized them. 

In 1993, Craig was interviewed by The Leader-Post.  He stated, "The knowledge we are getting now is the governments knew in 1982 and didn't act until 1985.  The time frame is so bizarre, . . .  How do you justify not letting hemophiliacs at the grassroots level know?  How can they justify not publicly putting out a news blurb saying:  'Hemophiliacs, be careful,'?"

In the end, Craig was not completely satisfied with what the courts decided the compensation should be, but he was told that it would be another 7 years before it would make it in front of a judge again.  Since he knew he wouldn't live long enough to see it go to court again, he agreed with what would be given.

It seemed that as soon as Craig knew that his family would be provided for, his body started shutting down.  Then on May 9th, 1996 in a Saskatoon hospital, 42 year old Craig Wright passed away.
Craig's grandson, Parker

I am so inspired by the life and legacy of Craig Wright, and I am so very saddened for his life that was lost.  We can all learn from this man's example.  From the moment he learned of his hemophilia, he decided that it would not keep him down.  Craig lived his life to the fullest.  He was loved and respected by his family, friends, and even people from his local and national government.  When carelessness led to his contracting the AIDS virus, he did not roll up in a ball and sulk or give up.  He let it fan the flames in his heart.  He stood up and fought for his family and many others.  When AIDS ultimately claimed his life, many honored him.

One of the saddest parts of this story is the grandchildren who never got to meet him.  Craig's daughter, Ashley, is brokenhearted that her little ones, will never know their grandfather who was such a hero.  No, Charlie and Parker will never look into their grandfather's eyes as they grow up, ride on the tractor with him on the family farm, listen to their grandpa's singing and guitar playing, or hear his stories from his own lips.  But, I believe they will know their grandpa.  He lives in the hearts and memories of so many people.  I believe Charlie and Parker will be inspired by their very special grandpa's legacy.  Parker's blood inherited the mutated gene carrying hemophilia, but that blood has a legacy of much love, determination, and strength in it from his grandfather, Craig Wright.


  1. Having a sweet, little baby boy with hemophilia it is so sad, yet so inspiring to hear about the men who have gone before. They have made our world safer for little boys with hemophilia. Thank you for sharing such an inspiring story.

    Thank you, Emily

  2. very sad, but inspiring story. Thank you Mr.Wright for helping my son's life with hemophilia be a better one.

  3. So sad. Sorry for the family's loss! My father My Aunty And MYself have hemophilia. Its a tough life not being able to live life with risks. it takes a toll but i try not let too much get in my road to sucess. I wanted to play hockey but i wasnt allowed to play contact sport.. I played for two years knowing the risks and it went well i decided to stop after the two years. Because i knew i was pushing my luck. I also suffer from Cronic fatigue so im always tired. I dont let it stop me though, Thank you craig for your insperation.. Im not going to let anything hold me back xxx Kaycee


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