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Calgary Sun's Mental Health "Superman" story is Kryptonic

Licia Corbella needs to brush up on Superman lore. Did Tony Stephan put Kryptonite in his cure-all for mental illness?

The following column was written by the editor of the Calgary Sun. We challenge her to authenticate the claims made. Not only does this piece support the claims made by Tony Stephan, it's apparent that the author also must believe that Margot Kidder is involved. What about those wild claims made by Synergy? If it were true, it would be the greatest accident in the history of mental health. We ask Ms. Corbella if she bothered to check on any of the claims before this went to press? Did she actually speak to Brian Kolb? Did she correspond with Margot Kidder? If not, why not?

What about the group called Safe Harbor? Who controls them?

Did Margot Kidder actually attend their award dinner?

The Calgary Sun

September 19, 2001 Wednesday, Final Edition

SECTION: News; Pg. 4

LENGTH: 675 words

HEADLINE: MENTAL-HEALTH 'SUPERMAN' SHARES STORY

BYLINE: LICIA CORBELLA, EDITOR

BODY:

Tonight, Tony Stephan of Cardston will stand up on a stage in Hollywood, Calif., with actress Margot Kidder of Superman fame.

No, the Cardston father of 10 and grandfather of 15 will not be delivering scripted lines as the "Man of Steel" next to Kidder's Lois Lane.

Rather, he will be delivering a message of hope that has the potential to help the world's mentally ill more than Superman could ever accomplish -- even in fiction.

As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention and, for Stephan, he had much more than necessity driving him. He had desperation. Four of his children suffered from bipolar disorders, and were extremely suicidal, requiring hospitalization and medication.

It didn't help either that his wife, Debora, who also suffered from a bi-polar disorder, committed suicide on Jan. 29, 1994, as a result of Revenue Canada's heartless pursuit of money from the family, which had fallen on tough times.

Watching her children go hungry, walk to school with broken shoes and fearing the family would lose their house and be split apart, the 40-year-old "big hearted" woman instructed that the money owed to the taxman be paid out of her $ 100,000 life insurance policy, which covered suicide.

Stephan's son Joseph, who, at the time, was 15, "was extremely ill. He wasn't able to attend school much, he was already taking 900 milligrams of lithium a day and it wasn't having much positive effect," explains Tony, 48.

"A psychiatrist at Foothills Hospital said that there was no cure and that he would be like this for the rest of his life."

His daughter, Autumn, then 23, was even worse. "She was out of control, extremely suicidal and was spending up to one-and-a-half months at a time in the University of Alberta psychiatric hospital, taking five different medications and not improving much," he says.

At this, in his gentle way, he points out that he's "not being critical. I'm not anti-medication, that was just how it was."

At that time, Tony was managing 26 buildings in the Lethbridge area and, as luck would have it, the right man crossed his path.

David Hardy, then a client of his property management business, took an interest in Stephan's family's plight.

Hardy, who used to work in agriculture, told Stephan about a combination of vitamins and minerals used to calm extremely aggressive hogs who suffered from ear- and tail-biting syndrome.

"It was like a light switch went on. We started putting two-and-two together."

The men came up with a combination of 36 ingredients, including calcium, iron, zinc and several vitamins, which they adapted for human use and then tried on first Joseph and then Autumn -- with "miraculous" results.

"Within 30 days he had no symptoms -- they disappeared and it's been five years and he's never gone back.

The same thing happened with Autumn and then his other two children. They've all been clear of their medications for five years.

The pair took their findings to Dr. Brian Kolb, a University of Lethbridge neurologist, who tested the supplement on four people and got the same encouraging results.

Currently, researchers at the University of Calgary are conducting a double-blind study with $500,000 in funding from the province to study the nutritional supplement that Stephan and Hardy called E.M. Power.

"Since that time we've put close to 3,000 people on this and the testimonials are amazing, really really encouraging."

So, tonight, Tony and David, who started up Synergy Group of Canada Inc., will share their story and clinical results with everyone attending the Annual Margot Kidder Award -- which honours people who have advanced the use of safe and effective alternative mental-health treatments.

Kidder, who suffers from mental illness and has benefited from E.M. Power, made international headlines several years back when she was found living in a cardboard box.

For Kidder and thousands like her, Stephan has become her real Superman.

For more information visit www.truehope.com or call 1-888-TRUEHOPE.

LOAD-DATE: September 19, 2001
Copyright 2001 Sun Media Corporation

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