In the early 1960s, over 13,000 babies around the world were born with deformities as a direct result of Thalidomide – a drug prescribed to relieve morning sickness. Alvin Law was one of them. In his case, just a couple of the tiny pills were enough to cause him to be born without arms.
Facing what they thought was a hopeless situation, Alvin’s birth family courageously gave him up for adoption. They hoped and prayed that their sickly, deformed newborn would somehow find a family more capable of caring for his needs. Luckily, their prayers were answered.
Hilda Law was a fifty-five-year-old foster mother who, along with her husband, Jack, took in neglected and abused children. They loved and encouraged them back from their hopelessness and, through social service programs, sent them to couples yearning for adoptions. They were truly special people.
One day in 1960, the most disturbing case they had ever seen was presented to them – Alvin. They were warned he’d never possess any quality of life and would likely need to be institutionalized.
Not only did Hilda nurse him back to health, but her intuition told her that lurking inside this impossible scenario was… hope. Through the Law’s faith, dedication and infinite belief, little Alvin learned to use his feet for hands. Suddenly, his world opened up.
Alvin attended regular schools at a time when handicapped children were relegated to institutions or, at best, schools that segregated them from the ‘normal’ students. He was blessed to have remarkable teachers who recognized his potential, and worked with the Law family to encourage his abilities.
Life took a turn for the amazing when Alvin discovered his musical ability and he joined the school band, playing trombone, drums, and piano. Within an impossibly short time, he became an award-winning musician and graduated from high school with honors. He then graduated, again with honors, from college… and he hasn’t slowed down since.
Alvin Law has been presenting his compelling life story to groups across Canada, the United States and around the globe since 1981. He is a trained broadcaster, fundraiser and musician. He has also worked for non-profit groups, in advertising and public relations, the civil service, and has even run for public office (unsuccessfully, but he got over it).
Alvin has played a direct role in raising over $175,000,000 for charity. He’s also dabbled in acting, playing a role in Harmony Korine’s quirky creative film Julien: Donkey Boy and, in a life highlight, played an armless preacher in an episode of the hit television series The X-Files.
He has appeared on countless telethons (well over 100 since 1976) and media features and has been the subject of two award-winning television documentaries. The first, Alvin, His Best Foot Forward, was shown across Canada in 1978. The second, Broken Promises, focused on the plight of Canada’s Thalidomide victims and after its Canadian showing was seen on American Public Broadcasting’s Frontline. Re-named Extraordinary People, it was nominated for an Emmy Award. Alvin has appeared on The Joan Rivers Show, CBS’s How’d They Do That, CBC’s What On Earth and ABC’s Frontrunners. Their segment about Alvin won an Emmy Award.
Alvin formed AJL Communications Ltd. in 1988 and has since brought his Attitude Revolution to over 2 million people (and counting) on five continents around the world. He’s earned over One Million Miles with Air Canada and has the highest tier membership at both Hertz and Avis (yep… he drives!)
He has earned the designation of Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), an honor possessed by less than ten percent of professional speakers worldwide. In 2009, Alvin was inducted into the Canadian Association of Speakers (CAPS) Hall of Fame.
He shares his life with his wife and business partner, Darlene; his adult son, Vance; Raymond, the dog; and Trixie, the cat. They all live in beautiful Calgary, Alberta, Canada.