Can-Do-Ability: Answers and Solutions from my personal experiences of living with a disability

Gentle Giant Paralympian Kahi Puru Visits NOVA Employment

26 Nov 2009Paralympian 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.

Kahi begins his story
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Kahi Puru
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Everyone's eagerly listening
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Kahi Puru
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Kahi gets asked a question in sign language
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Kahi Puru
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Kahi demonstrates what's involved with power lifting
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Everybody is still intrigued by Kahi's story
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Kahi Puru
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Kahi reads a poem about work safety
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Kahi receives a certificate of appreciation signed by all the Transition To Work trainees
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Showing muscles
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Peter compares his muscles to Kahi
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More muscles
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Kahi Puru
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Kahi Puru
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Everyone wanted a photo with Kahi
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Brett shows Kahi his tatts
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Blake and Kahi get a snapshot
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Kirstin was very excited to talk with Kahi
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Kahi Puru
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Kahi Puru
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Posing with St Marys job coach Karen

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Previous Comments

bruce from posted on 23 Jun 2010
its your bro here from waikato

Kirstin Pickard from Blacktown Nova posted on 19 Dec 2009
hi jodie Its Kirstin Pickard from Blacktown Nova and it was a good day when Kahi came to talk to all the trainees about work safety and you have done another great job at putting the photos on the website keep up the good work jodie

Brad from Pitt Town posted on 29 Nov 2009
I had to lift 225kgs yesterday - but I had an hour and a shovel! Go Kahi.

Renee Sheppard from Job Coach St Mary's TTW posted on 26 Nov 2009
What a great day Kahi really gave our transition trainees an insite into how barriers can be overcome and how someone that has been through so much was able to come out on top. We recieved alot of great comments from the trainees in regards to Kahi'

Karen Kemp - Job Coach from St Marys posted on 26 Nov 2009
What a fantastic day was had by all of us from Nova Transition. Kahi was truly inspirational and both the job coaches and trainees were able to gain such a lot from his visit. Kahi sets such a great example for all human beings with or without disabili

Gary Canham from Nova Campbelltown posted on 26 Nov 2009
Great inspiring talk from Kahi, proof that barriers can be overcome despite the odds, well done. I look forward to hearing our Campbelltown TTW trainees stories re Kahi's visit.

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