A young Steenberg man has defied the odds after doctors pronounced him brain-dead when he was just 12 year old.
Darryn Atkins was knocked down by a car in Prince George Drive when he was on his way home from soccer practice in 2008 and doctors didn’t have much hope for him but last week an upbeat Darryn celebrated his 21st birthday with family and friends.
Darren was in a coma for over three weeks after the accident and was wheelchair bound. He had to have constant supervision and was unable to use his legs and right arm.
Today – although he still has some physical difficulties because he cannot fully use his right arm – he works at Dischem at Blue Route Mall and is hoping to study further .
“My parents and I spoke about working and because I am up always up to try something new and I decided to start work. The retail work is very straining and can be difficult sometimes but I am looking forward to the future and I want to study further at a university to study business management or a psychologist,” he said.
The witty, outspoken young man admits that the road to recovery hasn’t been easy.
“There were times when I’d want to throw myself off the bed hoping that I would die,” he said.
But his determination and the support from family and friends has played a vital role in his healing.
Although Darren can’t remember anything about the accident his parents Rochelle and Collin Atkins remembers the day clearly.
Mr Atkins was at work when he got a call that his second youngest child had been in an accident.
“I saw him when he was on his way to soccer practice and I waved at him. When I got the call he was already rushed to the hospital where he had already gone in for surgery,” said Mr Atkins.
It wasn’t long before doctors called in the family to ask if we wanted the life support machines to be switched off because there was no brain activity.
“The doctor gave us two hours to get all the family together. We asked for a bit of an extension so that all the family can come to the hospital. When the rest of the family made it to the hospital the doctors returned and said they wouldn’t have to switch off the machines because they detected some brain activity. So in that extended half an hour Darryn got a second chance because just before that the doctors wanted to discuss switching off the machines,” said Ms Atkins.
She said she I extremely proud of her son. “He truly defied the odds and fought hard to become mobile and a working member of society. It wasn’t easy and there have been many ups and downs but in the end he has persevered,” she said.
Darryn’s parents thanked, friends and even strangers who has played a role since the accident.
“So many people have contributed to his healing, from nurses, to teachers, family, friends and even strangers. We thank everyone for their help,” said Ms
Darryn’s advice to children and people with disabilities is to rise above your circumstances. “Accept yourself and don’t allow other people to get you down. Reach for your goals and prove to people that you can do any-
thing you set your mind to,” he said.