- Lower Limbs Spastic Paraparesis, a disorder characterized by progressive muscle stiffness (spasticity) and the development of paralysis of the lower limbs.
- If you look to every obstacle as an opportunity to exercise, it will not be a burden but instead a chance to strengthen yourself.
- “A negative mind will never lead to a positive life”.
Shahrul was an active floorball player before he was diagnosed with lower limbs spastic paraparesis at the age of 16. However, his determination and with the support around led him to overcome his obstacles and lead a fulfilling life.
This week, we chatted with another SPD Youth Aspiration Award recipient, Shahrul Izwan. Acquiring the disability at 16, Shahrul had to go through a painful restart. He tells us how he motivated himself, and with the support of the people around him, he is determined to live his life to the fullest.
Shahrul was an active floorball player when his legs suddenly weakened and he found himself falling and tripping easily. Shahrul, who was 16 then, assumed that it was due to fatigue and that all he needed was more rest. However, his condition worsened and was later diagnosed with Lower Limbs Spastic Paraparesis. The active young man soon found himself having to use a wheelchair as his legs could not support him anymore.
In the beginning, the challenges seemed insurmountable. Going out of the house and maneuvering around the myriad of barriers in his paths became such huge challenges. It was difficult at first, but Shahrul looked to every obstacle as an opportunity to exercise. From that perspective, it did not become a burden but instead a chance to strengthen him.
With encouragement from his sister, Shahrul took up wheelchair racing in October 2016. He had wanted to keep fit despite not being able to walk. That was what that pushed him to join the sport. A desire to know more people, and a chance to broaden his views on the world also spurred him on.
At these trainings, Sharul has met many determined and skillful individuals in the sport, which gave him great motivation and drive. “If they can do it, why not me?” he thought.
He grew to love the sport because of its speed and the adrenaline.
Shahrul’s wants to represent Singapore in wheelchair racing and do his country proud by standing on the podium. “A negative mind will never lead to a positive life,” said Shahrul who has been working hard to reach his goals. He has held on to this motto for a long time, keeping it close to his heart.
The 23-year-old was so close to giving up on several occasions, to the point he almost wanted to quit school. He remembered the time when he told his father that he was contemplating leaving school because of his condition, to which his father replied: “How are you going to survive without a certificate in Singapore?”.
It was a wake-up call for Sharul. He has since chosen to look forward to what’s ahead and not cry over spilt milk. Although his ‘N’ level results were not up to his expectations, he refused to give up and continued his studies at the ITE. He did well to go on to Temasek Polytechnic where he is now pursuing a Diploma in Electronics Engineering, and will soon be graduating in April.
We wish Shahrul all the best and we’ll be rooting for him!