Wes – National Injury Insurance Scheme, Queensland

Wes

“Never stop believing in yourself…wheel outside the box and challenge yourself.” 

In NIISQ, 18% of participants live with a permanent spinal cord injury. Many use wheelchairs in different shapes and sizes to help them live their lives post-accident and we’re honoured to help support them. Read on to learn more about Wes’ story and his determination. 

“My glass is 60% full now. I’ve got a lot to live for and I’m thankful for the independence I’ve got.” 

When Wes woke up from a 12-day coma following a serious motorbike accident in 2019, just days after his 60th birthday, he realised his life had changed forever. 

Spending eight months in hospital post-accident, he said the mental journey was harder than the physical one, as he adjusted to his new life as a paraplegic. 

“The way I look at it, you’ve got two choices,” Wes said. 

“You can stay sad and mad, and just let life pass you by – or you can pick yourself up, dust yourself off and be thankful for those who have been there for you, even in the tough times.” 

In the three years since his accident, Wes has changed his outlook on life. He is grateful to retain a sense of independence and determination, and with a powered chair he has been able to get back to his passions. 

“I garden, I mow my own lawn – all these things have been made possible through my powered chair and it has let me take control of my life,” he said. 

Once a baker by trade, ‘Wheelchair Wes’ as he often refers to himself, has continued his culinary passions by creating preserves, and we hear he also makes a mean sweet chilli sauce! He also completed a Cert IV course in Occupational Health and Safety post-accident, and finds the work associated fascinating. 

“I’m grateful to be alive,” he said. “I shouldn’t have survived my accident, but I did and it has changed my whole outlook on life. I’ve got so much to live for, and so much to do. My only issue is sometimes I need to remind myself to take a break and relax – but these days I don’t see things as work anymore. I’m just passionate about what I do.” 

Last updated: September 2022