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Courage To Come Back: Youth recipient says hard work can make anything possible

Kyle Jacques (John Ackermann, News1130 Photo)

Doctors told Kyle Jacques he'd never walk again, but he's proving them wrong

'I sat down and I went to go get back up and I was paralyzed,' says Courage To Come Back winner in Youth category

Coast Mental Health Courage To Come Back Awards to be handed out Thursday

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – They told him he’d never walk again. It’s a good thing he didn’t listen!

News1130’s profiles on the 2015 Courage To Come Back Awards wrap up with a look at Kyle Jacques of Vancouver, the recipient in the Youth category.

“They said it’s one in a million chance of getting it and I was just one of those individuals that got it,” he explains.

“It” is transverse myelitis, a spinal condition that left Kyle a complete paraplegic at age 11.

“It happened within a matter of half an hour. I sat down and I went to go get back up and I was paralyzed.”

As if that wasn’t hard enough, Kyle lost both his parents before he was through high school.

“I lost my dad in 2007, in the start of high school. And my graduation year of high school, my mom passed away.”

It forced him to grow up fast.

“I was always told that I was mature for my age. People would be shocked when I told them how old I was. They couldn’t believe it!” he tells us.

Kyle is good with his hands, always has been. His dad liked to tinker too, bringing home old cars, fixing them up and then selling them.

Kyle started out fixing bicycles; now he fixes wheelchairs for Wheelin’ Mobility, the Lower Mainland’s only mobile 24-hour on-call repair service for wheelchairs and scooters.

“We’re fully mobile so we’ll go out to the individual’s homes so everything’s fixed on site. We’ll come out any time of the day, any day — even Christmas Day — so it’s pretty cool,” he explains.

Helping others is something he’s always done.

“The way that I was raised, I help my neighbour cook, I help people all over the place,” adds Kyle.

“It just makes me feel good inside, helping others… seeing as how people did so much for me when I was in the hospital and all of the struggles that I went through.”

At the same time, Kyle says he wouldn’t change a thing.

“I think it happened to me for a reason. I think I would have ended up a troubled teenager or something if I didn’t end up in the chair,” he explains.

“I was getting into trouble when I was a kid and you know, every kid does get into trouble but once I ended up in the chair, I really got mature. I was mature when I was 11 years old, so…”

As for never walking again, Kyle has some thoughts about that, too.

“I don’t consider myself ‘in a chair.’ It’s just my way of getting around for now,” he figures.

Ten years after being told he’d never walk again, Kyle is proving his doctors wrong.

“I do rehab three times a week at G.F. Strong. I’m walking with form crutches. I use leg braces on a daily basis. So, there is progress,” he says.

“I just have so much determination inside of me. I just can’t let go. I know I can do it if I set my mind to it and that’s what I’ve been doing. They tell me I can’t do something, but I’m going to do it either way.”

“I don’t think I’ll be in the chair much longer,” he predicts.

News1130 is a proud sponsor of the Coast Mental Health Courage To Come Back Awards, which will be handed out this Thursday at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

The awards are presented by Coast Mental Health, a non-profit society benefiting the Lower Mainland’s most vulnerable citizens.