Julie Darchuk has some great memories of her father, but ironically, it’s his pain that helped inspire her to get to where she is today.
Throughout most of her childhood, Darchuk remembers her dad, Ben, constantly facing chronic back problems that limited his ability to work, have fun and, in some cases, even walk.
“We would have to support him,” Darchuk remembers. “He would have flare ups throughout the year where he’d be laying on the ground, unable to walk. We would help him to any appointments that he had because he tried a ton of different modalities.”
Helping her dad day-in and day-out had a powerful affect on Darchuk. The older she got, the more she wanted to get involved in the healthcare system and help alleviate the pain felt by people like him.
By 2012, she was well on her way to Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in Ontario, with the blessing of her family.
Unfortunately, that’s when tragedy struck again. In May 2012, Ben was traveling north of Prince Albert on Highway 2 when he was struck and killed by a drunk driver.
His death shattered the family, and left Darchuk with a difficult decision: stay in Prince Albert with her family, or head to Ontario.
“It was really hard for me to decide what to do,” she says. “Everyone thought that I was going to stay home with my family, but I just couldn’t do it. I know my dad would have been very disappointed if I didn’t go on further and finish my education … so I used that as my fire inside of me, to go to school and finish for him.”
Although it wasn’t an easy decision, it’s one that paid off in the long run. After graduating in August 2016, Darchuk returned to Saskatchewan to begin her practice. She currently works out of Saskatoon, but on June 29 she was back at her old stomping grounds, giving the alumni speech at the Carlton graduation.
“My message was to keep moving forward,” Darchuk says. “No one achieved anything that was super easy. There’s going to be ups and downs. Just try to keep your head up and keep moving forward.”
She even dipped into her own academic past, and encouraged students to not be afraid to seek help with their studies.
As for life as a chiropractor, Darchuk says it’s incredibly rewarding. She’s discovered the world is full of people who need a helping hand, just like her dad.
“To be able to help someone move forward or achieve a better quality of life and function better is what really brings me back into the office every day,” she says. “I love being there.”
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Note: The version of this article that appeared in the July 13 edition of the Daily Herald contained several factual errors. This is an updated and corrected version made available by request. The Daily Herald apologizes for the mistakes.