Sixteen years ago, ANTHONY KAIRUZ was riding a motorbike in the Magaliesberg mountains when he hit a rock and the unthinkable happened. He shares his story with us.
“I flew over the handle bars and landed with my entire body weight on the back of my head, breaking my neck. The period after my accident was one of the most challenging times of my life – the first week in trauma ICU, regaining consciousness, only to be welcomed by the complete loss of movement, sensation and control. A dozen tubes were connected to my body. I was being fed intravenously and supplied air by a ventilator. I wanted to scream out for help … only to find I had no voice.” Kairuz spent 72 days in ICU, eight months as an in-patient at Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital in Auckland Park, and then had to have two and a half years of daily rehabilitation – for eight hours a day.
None of this got in the way of his dream of being a motivational speaker. “When I was a little boy, I had visions of speaking in front of thousands of people. I’ve always enjoyed making a positive impact in people’s lives. I find fulfilment and purpose in enabling others to unlock their infinite abilities. I started doing a few talks and was soon invited to speak at various companies. The big break came last year when I was invited to share an international stage with JT Foxx. The opportunity to speak in front of 1 000 guests from 51 countries was a dream come true.”
Kairuz completed his degree, as well as his honours in logistics management, after his accident. Oral exams were held with relevant professors. He has also written an ebook, which is being released soon.
He describes himself as “positive, grateful, happy and selfless”. The word “determined” should also have been on that list. Not only did he regain movement in his neck and arms after being told he would never do so, he was driving again nine years after his accident.
Kairuz fulfilled another dream 18 months ago when he got married. He’s not done yet, though. “I want to walk again one day, even if it’s slowly.”