After a traumatic event nearly cost Daniel Shoemaker his life, the Colwood resident is now focused on becoming one of Canada’s top Paralympic athletes, and competing at the 2018 Paralympic Games in South Korea. Kevin Charach reports.
It’s become a daily ritual for Colwood’s Daniel Shoemaker,biking and box jumps with the goal of snowboarding in the 2018 Paralympic Games.
‘It’s my everyday, It’s what I wake up to do’
It’s a feat that ten years ago seemed unimaginable. Shoemaker grew up in small town Alberta, where working in oil was family tradition.
‘The Rigs was a big part of my life like my grandpa worked on the rigs it was a big part of who I was’
Until one day…
‘August 17th, 2006.’
Everything changed. Shoemaker was working as a derrickhand with heavy machinery 25 stories in the air, when tragedy struck.
‘revolving wheels 2 inch chunks starting with the finger tips and all the way to the shoulder.’
Seconds away from death, shoemaker somehow pulled himself to safety.
‘One minute you’re just standing there and the next you’re just being chopped apart and you know it wasn’t any sort of conscious reaction, just trying to do what you gotta do to stay alive’
He spent months in hospital clinging to life, flatlining three separate times, the physical and psychological recovery took years.
‘Just to go from that’s the only thing i knew to finding a new career and occupation new way to support yourself it was difficult.’
Struggling to find a new purpose, Shoemaker ,working as a safety manager at the time, heard through a friend about a tryout for para-snowboarding.
‘So I went and told my boss about the opportunity and he said ‘if you don’ go you’re fired’ so that was pretty amazing support from him.’
4 days later, Shoemaker, an avid snowboarder since childhood, became Canada’s first national champion in the upper limb category. since then, Shoemaker found a new purpose.
‘Getting to the Winter Olympics next year that’s what we’re aiming for.’
‘You have that bigger buy in to really help him because of the adversity he’s gone through in the last 13 years, it’s really inspirational.’
The 32-year-old also works as a spokesperson promoting workplace safety, speaking in schools across the country.
‘He has that energy about him as soon as he walks into the gym there’s an energy he brings into the gym is unexplainable.’
The type of energy one gains with a new appreciation of life.
‘The only one that’ll ever stop you is yourself so as long as you keep moving forward and follow your dreams you know nothing’s unachievable.’