I spent 12 months in hospital here in Barbados after my accident. I was 11 and had been travelling with my family on the back seat of a car when there was a crash. The doctor waited until I was being discharged to tell me I would never walk again and never live a ‘normal person’s life’. I remember thinking, “This guy is crazy, I’ve known that for a year.”

After a few months in hospital, I’d already envisaged how my life would be and decided to get myself back to school, and begin to make and achieve my own goals.

The hospitals in Barbados do not provide rehabilitation or equipment unless you pay for it. My dad had to buy me my first wheelchair; it was the sort an old lady would sit in and so it did nothing for my image.  Finally, a friend in Canada got me a Wheelie chair, which made all the difference to getting about. My school was not adapted but my friends were – they would carry me whenever I couldn’t get somewhere. I know I have to depend on others, but when I hear people telling me I can’t do something, I usually go away and work out a way that I can. I travelled with a friend to Mexico to participate in wheelchair sports and when we got back we set up the Paralympics Association of Barbados.

My school was not adapted but my friends were

It’s frustrating not to be able to drive myself about. I am always dependent on friends driving me, or the expense of taking taxis. My wish is that I am allowed to take my test, buy a car and be independent. It would also help me develop and expand my business as a designer and artist; I sell a lot of my work to the tourists who come out to the island and to the hotels as well.

I enjoy female company a lot and have some very special ladies in my life who don’t seem to mind about my being in a wheelchair at all. I believe in a degree of spirituality and that there is something greater in life.  That helps me push on when things are tough.

I go in to the hospital here and talk to some of the patients and tell them life is not going to be as it was, but that they will be able to do things in some capacity. The fact is, no one can help you build willpower, you’ve got to do that yourself, but don’t let disability be a limitation.