Singapore dad returns to rock climbing just 4 months after being told he'd never walk again
"You'll meet a lot of accidents and disasters in life, but you can't give up, and you shouldn't be fearful of taking risks. You need to enjoy what you're passionate about and overcome any difficulties you may face."
Let it be known that in life, the only obstacle is yourself.
In a glorious feat of mind over matter, Chua Chee Beng got to his feet a mere two months after he was told he would be paralysed for life. Some four months later, he was back to rock climbing.
This November, the 50-year-old will be taking part in a 50km charity walk organised by Raleigh Singapore.
It’s a vast turnaround from just two years ago, when life took a bleak turn.
Chua, a rock climbing instructor and a sports enthusiast, had gone climbing at Bukit Timah’s Dairy Farm outdoor reserve when disaster struck.
He fell from a height of seven metres while abseiling as his climbing rope had slipped loose, he told Shin Min Daily News.
Chua suffered fractures in his heels, ankles, and a crack in his spine which damaged his spinal cord. The doctor had told him he would be bound to his wheelchair, paralysed for life.
Instead of surrendering to despair, Chua swore to himself: “In two months, I won’t be pushed out of the hospital in a wheelchair, I’ll walk out by myself.”
Under the guidance of his physiotherapist, Chua persevered in regaining the use of his legs. True to his word, one week before he was to be discharged, he was walking around with only a cane for support.
Obviously, that alone wasn’t enough for the climbing enthusiast. He spent his Christmas, just a mere four months after the incident, rock climbing once again.
Chua credits his wife and his children for giving him the strength to pull through.
Many a time he had wanted to throw in the towel, telling his wife he didn’t want to live anymore.
“Our kids are still young, you have to stay strong,” she had continuously reminded him.
In his interview with the Chinese daily, he shared that his legs still cause him a lot of pain in the morning, but as long as he takes care to stretch and move about, he’s able to relieve his discomfort.
This is not the first time Chua has cheated death. In fact, he had to overcome the odds twice before.
He was climbing the Indian snow mountains in 2001 when a giant boulder struck his legs, which damaged his ligaments. Despite his injuries, he refused to give up on his passion and continued running, climbing and cycling.
However, he met with a car accident while cycling in 2002. He collided with a taxi and was sent flying, crashing through the rear window of the taxi. The broken glass shards pierced his left arm and his throat.
After he was rushed to the hospital, the doctor told him should one of the shards have been off by just a centimetre, it would have punctured his airway.
Due to these injuries, and on top of the physical stress from his regular training, Chua has had to undergo bone grafting surgery on his legs.
Now, with encouragement from like-minded friends, Chua is gearing up for a 50km charity walk taking place in November later this year. Known as “Let’s Take A Walk”, the non-profit endurance event aims to challenge everyone in pushing their limits.
For Chua, it would be the first time he’d be walking so much at a stretch. The farthest that he has walked since his recovery was 15km. While he expressed doubt that he’d be able to finish the walk, he’s determined to spend the remaining months training for it.
Perhaps the one thing we could all learn from Chua is his never-say-die attitude.
Said Chua of his life’s motto: “You’ll meet a lot of accidents and disasters in life, but you can’t give up, and you shouldn’t be fearful of taking risks. You need to enjoy what you’re passionate about and overcome any difficulties you may face.”
After all, only after the fire has burned can the phoenix rise from the ashes once more.
This article was republished with permission from AsiaOne.