I choose not to place “DIS” in my ABILITY

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He is an example of positivity to the maximum, and someone who through his disability has become a true example of strong character, courage and a spirit of not giving up no matter what the situation. This is his story.

Anthony Ghillino, at the age of 16 was involved in a serious car accident that left him paralysed from the shoulders downwards. Anthony dislocated his 4th vertebra, with the result that it severed his spinal cord which led to his disability and being wheelchair bound for life.  He manoeuvres his wheelchair with his chin.

Directly after the serious accident occurred, he was taken to hospital where he was told he would never walk again. That was 23 years ago. He recalled a moment that changed his life for the better that occurred at the hospital where he was a patient.

While lying in ICU after the accident, feeling very sorry for himself, he recalled hearing an extremely irritating noise.   When his mother came to visit later that day he asked her what exactly the noise was. She replied by saying: “The noise is the person next to you, Anthony, who broke his neck 4 cm higher up than you did and as a result he cannot breathe by himself because his diaphragm is also paralysed”.  That noise that Anthony was hearing was the only way this patient could communicate or call the nurse if he needed something.

At that point Anthony had a lightbulb moment and realised that when one is disabled, the focus should be less on what you don’t have, but more on what you do have and for Anthony it meant that he was grateful in that he had quite a bit.  He is able to talk for himself, think for himself and communicate. There are much better things to focus on for Anthony in his disability than those that he can’t do, and for him that was the biggest shift in his mind-set that has paved a way for great success for himself personally.

Anthony was able to study further through the Quad Para Association at Cape Peninsula University of Technology which he enjoyed thoroughly.  He now works at the Quad Para Association of the Western Cape and is the Project Manager. Anthony is able to help other people, which for him is something he would never have thought he would be able to do, especially after his accident.

He is also extremely grateful for the carers who help him a great deal and are a great pillar of strength.

Anthony ended off by telling us that one of the main things he has learnt in the 23 years of living with a disability is that disability has no boundaries. It doesn’t matter how rich you are, nor how poor you are, if you have a disability you are affected equally and therefore you should be humble and able to help whoever is suffering with disability mentally, physically and emotionally as much as you can.

Anthony’s story is one of true inspiration, to find out more about him and his organisation email him: pm@qawc.org and check out the Quad Assn website: www.qawc.org

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