My name is Osama Ahmad Abu Jamai, and this is my life-changing story.
My story has been filled with fear, new reality, and hope for a better future in times of sorrow. And while it was an insufferable journey, physically and mentally, I wish it gives you hope amid harsh circumstances and inspires you to never give up – no matter where life takes you.
It all started in 2003, when my mother asked me to check on the water tank placed on the roof of our home. And there it was, that one moment, abrupt and unexpected; the moment that would change my life forever. It was the moment I slipped and fell four floors down landing on our backyard.
To everyone’s surprise, I survived. But what happened next, I will never forget.
The doctor payed a visit to my room, walking towards my bed slowly, his eyes worried, while mine hopeful – like a young child yearning for his mother’s reassurance. He sat on my bedside chair, grabbed my hand sturdily and said “Osama, the accident has severely injured your legs, you will need to use a wheelchair from here onwards.” And as silence filled the room, a million thoughts filled my mind.
I had just been informed that I was paralyzed.
Why me? I thought to myself, out of all people in the world, why has destiny brought me here?
Since then, my life has never been the same.
I was hospitalized for months to undergo intensive and excruciating medical procedures. And when I had finally completed my treatment, it was time to face my psychological state.
I started to experience mixed and overwhelming feelings. I was content to have finished my physical treatment, but I was also sad, for what I have lost, for what is now, and what will be.
I was reluctant about going back to school to continue my education, but luckily, my family and friends provided me with all the support and encouragement that I needed to do so. I recalled all my wonderful experiences at school before my incident, but I also tried to imagine what my new experiences will be like. Eventually, I decided to overcome the fear of the unknown, after all, it’s a natural emotional feeling.
It was time to move forward with my life.
It had been two years since the incident when I came back to school, I received the warmest welcomes from my distinguished teachers and beloved classmates. I remember it was a gratifying feeling, a promising beginning I thought. I felt freed from the fear within, but I was still fragile; one word of kindness could raise my spirits, and one harmful remark could shatter my determination.
It was one school day that I asked my teacher to help me down the stairs to attend one of my classes, and he said, “You are in a wheelchair, it’s better for you to stay home and not bother yourself, or your family, with your education.” And there it was, the harmful remark that shattered my determination and reignited the fear within. I gave up my education, and succumbed into isolation for a long, long time.
My mention of this encounter is not in resentfulness. In fact, I have never had hard feelings for that teacher, perhaps he confronted his own challenges by surrendering, or giving up. I am merely only highlighting the significant impact constructive perceptions could have on others, especially in times of weakness, they could make or break you - and break me it did.
I could not move forward with my life for a while, and I started blaming destiny; why me?
It was another abrupt and unexpected moment when my relative informed me of a club offering services to support persons with disabilities, or I would say, persons with superhuman abilities. I joined, and little did I know then, that that would be another turning point in my life. The wake-up call that replenished my joy and encouraged me to go back to school and continue my education.
I started playing table tennis at the club, and that was when I began breaking out of my isolation and regaining my confidence. I worked hard to improve my table tennis skills, and with determination, I did it over a short period of time to the utter amazement of everyone around me. On this ground, the Jordan Table Tennis Federation decided to include me in the national team’s exercises, providing me with the opportunity to participate in the World Table Tennis Championships.
It was 2006 when I took part in my first World Table Tennis Championships in Italy, and it was that championship that turned my aspirations into reality - it had been a while since I felt so jubilant.
Adversities are tricky things; they are the biggest tests that put your life course at stake. But the moment you reconcile with yourself, and find peace within, life bestows its own gifts upon you – seize and embrace it - I did, and my advice to people struggling with their disabilities is to do so too. Don’t give up, build a bridge out of the obstacles and barriers along your path, cross over it, and reach your dreams. Be grateful to life’s adversities, they unveil a mighty person inside of you and make you work miracles.
My deepest gratitude and heartfelt thanks go to everyone who supported me throughout my ordeal and helped me come through. Today, I am a powerful person because of each and every one of you.
I would like to especially thank my family, wife and friends; for your unconditional love and continued support. ProgressSoft Corporation; for having faith in my abilities and giving me a chance of a lifetime sought by every youth, because of you, I have started out a stable career journey filled with moral and financial support. My coworkers; for creating a work atmosphere filled with care and respect.