Lukasz’ face lights up any room. His cheerful character and good-humored nature make him incredibly easy to get along with. He’s into sports, especially snowboarding, and he loooooves food. The baristas have his Americano ready for him when he walks through the front doors of his local Starbucks. He squeezes every drop out of life…
In his grade 12 year, Lukasz was working as a painter and roofer for his uncle’s business. He was living at home with his parents and younger brother Jakub. He was dating the love of his life, his girlfriend of two years. He had plans to go into business management. The world was his oyster.
In early September 2008, Lukasz went to Kelowna with some friends. He was involved in a car crash. The driver was impaired and rolled the car into the ditch.
Two elderly Good Samaritans found Lukasz on the side of the road. He had been ejected from the passenger seat and was lying face down in a ditch. They sat beside him while they waited for the ambulance and just kept saying “buddy stay with us, stay with us.” He was taken to the Kelowna General Hospital.
Lukasz had suffered a catastrophic brain injury and he was in a coma. His chances of survival were slim.
Eventually he was transported by air ambulance to the Foothills Medical Centre. “They didn’t think Luke was a candidate for rehab,” shares his Mom. The doctors were asking his parents if they had looked into long-term care options for Lukasz. They were mortified at the thought of putting their youthful son in long-term care facility (LTC), as the average age of people in LTC is 86.
Read on to discover Lukasz’ Second Chance …
Lukasz eventually went to the Halvar Jonson Centre for Brain Injury rehabilitation for seven months. While there, he relearned to sit up, he started walking, and could eat normal food.
In August 2009, Lukasz was admitted to the ARBI On-site rehabilitation program. When he arrived, he was only able to use a wheeled walker and he wore an ankle brace. He was very weak, his entire body was rigid, and he leaned heavily on his walker. His knee bent backwards unless he was very mindful of it. He had significant problems with memory and concentration. His demeanor was extremely flat.
Today Luke continues to use a walker outside and for longer distances. He walks tall, with a cane much of the time at ARBI and is practicing walking without aids during his therapy program. Luke now wears an electrical device (WalkAide) instead of an ankle brace. He uses his iPAD to aid in his short-term memory. , He is snowboarding with Canadian Association for Disabled Skiing (CADS). He cooks with passion and sings with gusto. For his birthday this year he baked cupcakes to share at his celebration at ARBI. His current goals include advocating for brain injury awareness in the community, swimming, and getting his high school diploma. Just last October, he spoke to a crowd of community leaders at our Sponsor our Survivors breakfast event and helped raise $240, 000 for ARBI.
His spirit motivates everyone. With a motto like “get down to the business” it’s no wonder he succeeds. In his words, “If you have a goal push forward and keep working to achieve it, I sure have!” The world is his oyster or should we say Americano?
TELUS has featured Lukasz in their new #EmpowerYOU TV Spot.