Bunbury teenager works towards building affordable wheelchairs for the disabled

Patrick Majewski hopes to help others with a disability enjoy their life to the full.
Patrick Majewski hopes to help others with a disability enjoy their life to the full.

PATRICK Majewski's disability hasn't stopped him from working towards his dream of building wheelchairs that are both affordable and available locally.

As reported in the Mail in 2012, Mr Majewski was in an accident ten years ago that drastically changed his life.

"I started off life as a normal kid, but when I was seven I went on a family holiday and fell down a cliff. My dad, Chris, grabbed my arm as I fell but it pulled him over the railing. He passed away saving my life that day," Mr Majewski said.

Suffering severe damage to his T5 and T6 vertebrae, Mr Majewski spent the following month in a coma.

When he woke, he was paralysed and was required to learn to eat, breathe and drink all over again.

"I woke up very weak and didn't know where I was. I was back to the basics all over again. It took me months to get back to where I was."

Now a year 12 student at Australind Senior High School, Mr Majewski is looking to the future through studying a certificate two in business and technology through the school's Vocational Education and Training program.

"I don't have definite plans yet, but when I finish high school I want to help disadvantaged people live a happier, more enjoyable life."

Despite being paralysed, Mr Majewski said he enjoys the challenge of finding an alternative to an activity or event that he couldn't ordinarily partake in.

"I always try to find a way around things. At the gym, I focus on working out my arms and shoulders because I can't work out my legs or abs. I got my license last month also and the only difference is that I have a little hand control device that attaches to my steering wheel."

Mr Majewski recently completed work experience at Forrest Personnel, a Bunbury charity specialising in supporting those with health conditions, injuries or disabilities to find employment.

"I really enjoyed working at Forrest Personnel because I want to help people with disabilities. It was a great opportunity."

When adjusting to life in a wheelchair, Mr Majewski said he initially struggled to accept the help offered to him because of how independent he still felt.

"It made me feel very small because everyone was towering over me. But now that I'm a mature man, I've come to realise that those people who were trying to help me like my Mum and my siblings just wanted the best for me and were there from the beginning."

"My advice for anyone with a disability is don't worry because things will get better eventually. It might not happen straight away or in the next few months but just wait because it will get better for you.

"When I feel like I can't do as much as other people I just remember that I've done a lot of things myself despite my disability."

Mr Majewski said his dream of building wheelchairs stemmed from his desire to help those with disabilities.

"The wheelchair I use is only built in two places in the world: Switzerland and America. I'd like to make wheelchairs that are good as the one I have but available in either Bunbury or Perth."