Life of pur­pose af­ter in­jury

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - SIPHUMELELE KHUMALO

A CAPE Town man who lost his mo­bil­ity af­ter be­ing tossed out of a train while help­ing strangers is de­ter­mined to be part of the na­tional para­plegic ath­let­ics team.

“I’ll be do­ing train­ing to be­come a part of the para­plegic as­so­ci­a­tion at Stel­len­bosch Univer­sity, where I’ll be train­ing to do track and field events and hope­fully be in­vited to rep­re­sent South Africa at var­i­ous events,” Dar­ryn Au­gust said.

Au­gust, who used to be a teacher and is now a mo­ti­va­tional speaker, was try­ing to save two women from rob­bers on a train in April last year. How­ever, the rob­bers re­peat­edly beat him and then threw him out of the mov­ing train.

So se­vere were his in­juries that he be­came paral­ysed from the waist down.

“I made a prom­ise to my­self ages be­fore that day that if ever I saw any­one in a dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tion, I’d do what­ever I can to help, come what may,” he said.

Au­gust’s friend Graeme Kuys found out what had tran­spired and de­cided to of­fer his as­sis­tance, es­pe­cially since he knew Au­gust as some­one who was full of en­ergy and could barely be con­strained to a chair.

Crowd-fund­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion Back­aBuddy set up a cam­paign in May last year to raise R50 000 to­wards Au­gust’s med­i­cal fees. Kuys pledged to cy­cle laps of the Steen­bras Dam View­point in the Western Cape to sup­port his friend, a col­lec­tive dis­tance of 8 848m, which is the equiv­a­lent of Mount Ever­est’s el­e­va­tion.

Within a few days, the ini­tial R50 000 tar­get was sur­passed, and more than R500 000 was raised.

Kuys was joined by Wimpie van der Merwe and Daryn Golds­brough in com­plet­ing the cy­cle. Sadly, a few days af­ter the race, an­other cy­clist was killed in a hit-and-run ac­ci­dent

Through do­na­tions, Au­gust be­gan the re­quired treat­ment and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion at Tyger­berg Hospi­tal and be­gan phys­io­ther­apy at Groote Schuur Hospi­tal, which he man­aged to fin­ish a month be­fore the pre­scribed time. He now yearns for the day he can walk with­out crutches.

“I’ve be­come much stronger in so many ways. Phys­i­cally, I am dif­fer­ent, but I’m not phys­i­cally or men­tally weak­ened.

“I have a more fo­cused out­look on life, and I see life dif­fer­ently now. It feels like I have a greater, more mean­ing­ful pur­pose in life, and the path I’m on now was never the one I imag­ined for my­self,” said Au­gust, adding that he had been fo­cused on a va­ri­ety of NGO projects and ini­tia­tives to raise aware­ness about the dis­abled com­mu­nity.

Even in his re­cov­ery, Au­gust re­mained self­less and had no re­grets.

“Look­ing back, I wouldn’t change any­thing as I be­lieve ev­ery­thing hap­pens the way it’s sup­pose to. I man­aged to im­pact some­one else’s life in some way. I was for­tu­nate to meet the two women soon af­ter that day; it was an emo­tional and over­whelm­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. I just wanted to make sure they were safe,” he said.

DE­TER­MINED: Dar­ryn Au­gust was thrown off a mov­ing train last year dur­ing an at­tack. Be­ing paral­ysed from the waist down hasn’t less­ened his zest for life.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.