In July 2015 Jason’s life changed forever when he went into septic shock following an infection. As a consequence, Jason is a bi-lateral below knee amputee, below elbow amputee (left) and has only pincer function with his right hand. He suffered acute kidney failure and requires dialysis three times a week and also contracted reversible encephalitis syndrome, which caused blindness and seizures.
Fortunately, Jason’s sight returned but he has frontal lobe damage as a result of the encephalitis. None of this has diminished Jason’s determination live the best life possible, get back into the water and rediscover the sense of freedom the ocean gives him whenever he’s out on his surfboard.
Growing up in Manly, Jason started surfing at the age of five and surfed almost every day through junior surfing schools and surf camps, securing sponsorship from the age of ten. The sponsors witnessed Jason’s passion and desire to participate in the sport, a sport that gave him a complete sense of freedom.
It has taken Jason nearly three years to feel strong enough to be active once again and ideally return to surfing. To help Jason to get back on his surfboard, his Prosthetist created a paddle for his left hand so he could learn to swim again. Jason needs the help of a team of people to get back out on his board, but he knew if he could improve his swimming skills, strength and mobility, he would require less assistance and begin to feel the sensation he craves of being free in the ocean once again.
START foundation awarded Jason a grant for a pair of custom-made prosthetic swim fins. He’s now been fitted with his swim fins and is already working hard in the pool to build strength and overall fitness. With his Exercise Physiologist by his side, Jason continues to improve each week as he works on his pool drills and every day his sporting dream of once again catching waves on his beloved surfboard is getting closer.
Jason has incredible courage and determination and we can’t wait to see him out in the ocean surfing solo once again. Well-done Jason!