Scott Jones is sharing the story of his recovery and campaign against homophobia with future health-care providers at Dalhousie University.

Jones survived a vicious stabbing in downtown New Glasgow, N.S. in October 2013, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.

Jones says the attack was a horrible experience, but the people who cared for him helped him work through both the physical and emotional pain and fear.

“When you do become paralyzed, you need that support. There’s so much to work out,” he told an audience of 1,100 social work, recreational therapy, nursing and medicine students at the university Tuesday evening.

“To me, that was the most powerful tool, connecting with me, connecting with my physiotherapist and working through things together.”

Those who attended the talk say patients like Jones can provide knowledge that can’t be learned from a textbook.

“We need to hear from a patient how important it is to work together collaboratively as a team because that’s where health care is moving, and that’s just where we are at our best,” says medical student Madeleine Bohrer.

Jones believes he was attacked because he is gay and he has used the incident to speak out against homophobia.

William Webster, the dean of Health Professions at Dalhousie, says Jones was asked to speak at the event for a number of reasons.

“In light of some of the things that have happened around Dalhousie this past year, a theme that combined health care with something related to fear and homophobia would probably be quite appropriate,” says Webster.

For Jones, he says collaboration changed his life, and he hopes students will carry that message forward. 

“That’s also very symbolic of what needs to happen in society,” said Jones. “We need to start breaking down these walls that we have between communities.”

With files from CTV Atlantic's Sarah Ritchie