Many years ago, back in my cruise ship days, I met Jason. Both working on-board and partying in the crew-bar. We remained friends through the power of Facebook.
Jason’s life tragically turned upside down when during training for an important cycle race, Jason fell head on close to 70 km an hour.
Well, listen to Jason in his own words below.
I had so many questions to ask Jason and so I thought an interview for Lillilale would be the ideal opportunity.
You must have felt so alone and frustrated at times during the recovery, what was it that kept you so focused on proving the Doctors wrong and enabling such a dramatic recovery given the prognosis?
A series of events followed when my accident happened that pretty much put me in a situation of either I give up and die or somehow find the will to live, but not just live, make it unique as if it was a gift to me that happened, that way somehow in my mind it was the only way that I could make that my purpose and core to fight back. I was thrown a curve ball when there was some fighting between my friends and my family when I was in my coma and my family walked away from me so I was not only stuck in a body that didn’t work properly, but was truly abandoned and that kind of loneliness could really destroy a person’s soul. I had also gotten divorced two months before my accident so I was alone in every way possible a person could ever imagine. A really close friend then managed to get me discharged from the hospital when I was out of my coma and I ended up living with her parents where they fed, dressed me and spent endless hours at therapy with me.
During this time I was not given the chance to feel sorry for myself, that sounds rather harsh but in actual fact I believe it was a blessing as I started to think that way all the time that there is no time to feel sorry for myself, but only to beat the odds so that partially gave me the drive along with the will to prove not only to myself but to everyone else that left me on my deathbed that I would fight back and become the person I needed to be and leave a positive mark on this world.
It’s not that I wanted to prove the Dr’s wrong at all, the only thing I wanted to do was enhance their well-trained skills with ideas, technology and processes that their training never exposed them to before judging my background. I would and could never tell them how to do their job so I had to design and figure out a way to structure a model that didn’t change what they would do, but rather tap into their skill set which I believe by a form of miracle somehow worked by meeting the right doctors after a few wouldn’t accept the processes and walked away from me, but I used that as a form of energy to figure out better ways so when I did meet the next doctor I had refined the process more so I accepted that I would find failure but through that I would find what I needed to do next as a step forward. Fail to succeed I would say to myself, not in the terms of actually failing but using it as a stepping stone to succeed.
What advice would you give to any of my followers about staying strong and believing in themselves when things aren’t always going great?
Throughout our lives, it does not matter who we are or where we are from, regardless we are going to be given challenges and possibly what may seem like at the time the most impossible hurdle to get over. Due to my injury I was in what is called a ‘semi-locked in’ syndrome, I had to in my mind look at my world and obstacles from the outside in as if I was looking at someone else’s life. By doing so I was then able to break my world into segments and develop what we call in medical research your ‘control platform’, which is a platform that you refer back to as your starting point once you have done a full breakdown of where you are at in that very moment. Once I did that then I was able to design in my head how I was going to improve each segment and the actions I would take on each segment of my life, that way I was able to take bite size chunks and fix each area properly which in turn created a positive reaction on each other and by doing so it started to help me see the bigger picture of my life.
So when you feel like you are totally lost with no hope, just stop for a second and look at your life from the outside as if you were looking at someone else’s life, this way you won’t feel like you are personally attacking yourself or judging yourself but more you are empowering yourself, as if you were empowering someone else. Make a case study of your life and define your actions but in small bite sizes with a bigger picture in mind. Before you know it you have defined a route through a plan and you will see your goal in front of you which will give you your confidence back, you will feel alive again but you have to stay true to yourself at all times of which will bring you the feeling of true self-empowerment.
When your dream life was cut short in an instant. How did you control your focus, mind and energy? I can’t imagine how hard that was.
Once I had broken my life down into segments I realized that I needed a release to snap me out of a depression mode as I had noticed that I could fall quickly into a depressive state. Some (TBI) traumatic brain injury patients all of a sudden find they can do strange things like speak different languages, play music on a piano, do math or something along those lines. For me I am now able to do math extremely quickly considering I failed math at school. I combine math and pictures and that way I managed to find a release or refocus through the form of a Rubik’s cube which I am able to take a scrambled cube and complete it in less than a minute, now for someone that has been legally classed as brain damaged this is unheard of but it’s a way of snapping my focus back on track.
So find your focus by doing something that makes you feel in control and empowered and makes you look at one thing only for that period of time and your mind will find its way back to where you need to be
Now you have been given a second chance in life, how do you intend to use it?
I do believe that after everything that has happened that I came back for a real purpose, many will say that after a traumatic event but I honestly do believe that in my situation this is the case. I have shifted my focus from where I was originally where I spent most of my time focused on fixing and repairing me now to empowering woman whether disabled or not along with giving children a positive chance on life through the technology and experience I have gained over the last few years. I believe that I haven’t come this far only to get this far so I intend to make a positive impact on someone’s life even if it is just one life or somehow manage to save a life whether it be mentally, emotionally or actually physically.
I now have a full time public speaking agent that is setting up talks on my behalf along with getting involved with a number of charities whilst I grow both businesses again after having to start from scratch all over again but all with the intent of empowering and giving people the soft tools to build their lives as I have done with mine, as it is commonly said we all are fighting a battle in some way and I am here to perhaps make difference to how a person gets through their battle.
and lastly, will you cycle again?
I will be raising funds to help other TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) survivors that have been less fortunate than myself and have no means of help as the financial reliance on the families become quiet immense, many families are not able to survive between everyday life and taking care of a TBI survivor. I aim to be able to give these survivors a chance in life much like anyone that does make a contribution even if it is very small amount. In many cases just one meal that has been sponsored can make a huge difference on a TBI as you give them the hope to keep on fighting.
You are a blessing that so many of us TBI’s need.
Jason, words can not describe how inspiring you are, even your story is empowering alone. I am sure you will go on the to impact many people in your lifetime and I wish you all the luck for Hedway and your Cycle challenge.