Real Life

Meet the Kiwi quadriplegic who refuses to let paralysis stand in his way

Proof that life really is what you make it.

Tim Young
A 28-year-old Kiwi is proving that life really is what you make of it – after becoming a quadriplegic in his twenties.
Seven years ago, while Tim Young was on a working holiday in Canada, a bad landing during a snowboarding session left him a quadriplegic.
But rather than let his traumatic injury hold him back, Tim has done everything in his power to achieve his dreams, listing that he’s travelled to four continents, bought a house, moved in with his girlfriend, learnt to drive, founded a business and completed an MSc.
When he received his ACC for his accident, Tim invested about 40K of it into 10 different ventures, and made around 25 – 30K over two years. With the money – he bought himself a house that was then adapted for his disability.
In addition, he studied for a Master of Science, and also did Postgraduate Certificate in educational psychology.
"I can pretty much do anything as long as it's set up the right way. Sometimes it takes a lot of money and effort to set things up in the right way, but if you have that motivation and the task is important enough you can almost always do it," says Tim.
And now, despite having already achieved more than many people do in a lifetime, Tim is fundraising to get a project close to his heart off the ground.
Having been inspired by how technology helped him to “live a normal life and achieve my potential,” Tim is designing an app to help kids from around the world each themselves key subjects such as maths, English, biology and chemistry.
Named “Rocket Island,” Tim has ploughed $10,000 of his own money into the project, and is now fundraising through Kickstarter to get it off the ground.
Tim’s girlfriend of a year and a half, Erika Lamb, says she is blown away by his optimism.
“He has every reason in the world to be down but he’s not. He picks me up when I’m down. He really makes everyone feel at ease with his situation.”
On his Reddit thread, Tim had advice for fellow people who had suffered a disability:
“I would suggest trying to focus on the things you can do rather than the things you can't, and finding the courage to do things outside your comfort zone.
“I don't really leave the house often either, but with a computer and the internet, the world is my oyster. I studied online, except for a couple of block courses, and have tried to set up a career from home.
“Try to think about what you can do, set your life up to be fulfilling within that lifestyle, and try to forget about the rest. Also make long-term goals about where you want to be and take small steps (so to speak) constantly to work towards that dream. It will happen eventually. Good luck and Kia Kaha.”