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Interview with Hector Chen: Push to the Limits to Explore Ourselves

Hector Chen’s Story

I was in Toronto at the time, skiing. After we skied, we went to an outdoor hot tub. A block of ice hit me. I became unconscious after that. I went under the water and I don’t remember what happened next. Apparently they pulled me up and there was a doctor who helped me there. I was unconscious for two weeks. My right side of the body isn’t working anymore. I am very thankful for my parents and my sister. My wife who separated with me about five years ago helped me a lot at the time. Although it didn’t work out for us, I am very grateful for her. I can’t imagine what it would be like without her help.

The Changes After the Injury

What changed the most after my injury was the fact that I couldn’t talk. I had no words after my injury. I am bilingual. I speak Cantonese and English. After the injury, my Cantonese became my primary language but people here don’t speak Canto. It was hard for me to flip flop between languages. I have gotten a lot better. It isn’t that I can’t recall the words, it is just hard to swap languages. It’s hard to manage sometimes.

Since my accident, I haven’t been able to work. I for sure miss my work. I tried to go to UBC for school, but it wasn’t really clicking. Now I volunteer at the food bank. It has been keeping me active in the community. I have worked out a set structure for my life which helped me a lot. Once COVID hit, everything was closed. But I need to do something. So I turned to volunteering. The Burnaby warehouse is within walking distance for me and I help out there. It wasn’t big of a deal before COVID. However, after the outbreak, I need to get out rather than being stuck in a room. I have always been an active person.

His Piece of Advice for the Young Generation

Always seek opportunities. I used to be a triathlon athlete. It was very freeing for the mind. But I am not able to do it right now. Every step is hard. After the pandemic hit, I bought an indoor bike to exercise and I have been really happy with it. We need to push ourselves to the limits to explore ourselves.

Interview with Jolie Wu.

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