Kelvin, a paraplegic from Singapore, was paralyzed in an accident as a teenager. When he was new to being a wheelchair-user, his parents wanted him to stay at home. “I stayed at home, but when no one was around, I got out,” Kelvin explained. That was easier said than done. At that time, he lived on a floor of a building that didn’t have a lift. The staircase was the only route for him to get to the nearest lift another level below. Not one to be penned up at home, Kelvin didn’t let that stop him.
Finding a way to get out of the house
He was determined to get out, but that didn’t mean he succeeded right away. The thought of going down the stairs by himself began when Kelvin was in rehab, and it took 3 to 4 months after his accident to finally put his thoughts to actions. Occasionally he would find himself hanging on to the handrails of the staircase with his wheelchair on the next landing down. Sometimes it involved sitting on the steps and going down one step at a time. Sometimes he’d be stranded on the stairs until his parents came home. “The next thing you know, your father screams at you…’how did you get out?’,” Kelvin smiles as he reminisces about his days tackling the stairs. Despite all the trial and error, getting hurt was the last thing on his mind.
“The drive and motivation to break all barrels are definitely stronger than fear. I was young, thus daring.”
Each fall allowed Kelvin to realize how to improve his tactics. Despite his parents finding out about his mischievous adventures, they couldn’t stop him. Being the teenager he was back then, he was daring and playful. “They never did officially allow me to go out alone, but they had no choice because they could not control me,” he laughs.
However, with Kelvin’s confidence and courage, it still took him awhile to overcome his worries about facing society with his disability. “I was ready physically, but not ready mentally to receive stares and comments from others,” he shares. It took him 5 months after his accident to fully step out of his comfort zone. Now comfortable and living life with his wife and young son, he is ready to tackle any obstacles ahead of him. “Life goes on, more often than not, obstacles are in your mind instead of real physical obstacles,” says Kelvin. He doesn’t let anything keep him down or limit his potential.
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