Gentle Giant Paralympian Kahi Puru Visits NOVA Employment26 Nov 2009
Paralympian Kahi Puru came to our Nova Employment head office at St Marys to do a talk about work safety to the Transition To Work Trainees, I was there to capture all the great photos.
Kahi Puru who is now 45 years old, was a hard working man who worked for a steel company in Newcastle in 1993. With his wife and two young children at home, he was looking forward to finishing a long day and getting back to his family. Unfortunately, fate had other plans for him.
He was walking through a noisy, poorly lit section of his workplace when he was struck by a forklift and dragged for a while before the driver realised what had happened. Kahi was so badly hurt, he required major surgery to his abdomen and his leg was almost ripped off and had to be amputated. Among other things, he also had head injuries and remained in a coma.
The doctor's opinions weren't good and they suggested that his wife give permission to turn off the life support machines. She finally agreed to do so and Kahi began breathing on his own. He slowly woke up and was unaware of what had happened. He was facing years of rehabilitation and counselling ahead of him.
His never say die attitude to life not only let him survive against the odds but allowed him to accept what fate had handed him and turn it into something positive. The doctor's said he would never have any more children but, once again, Kahi defied the odds and he and his wife had two more children.
Kahi began Powerlifting, which is a type of weightlifting, and even competed in the year 2000 Sydney Paralympic Games. He says his personal best weight that he can lift is 222.5 kgs and at the2000 Paralympics, he lifted 207.5 kgs, which is a huge feat.
No matter what happens, Kahi keeps up with his positive attitude and is so inspirational to so many people. His three favourite sayings are – Failure is not an option. Age is no barrier. And do things simpler and smarter.
Kahi feels so blessed to be alive today, that he now does inspirational talks to groups for WorkCover, promoting work safety, spreading his message of how important it is, for everyone to look after each other in the workplace to help prevent deaths and workplace accidents from happening in the future.