Having his legs severed off in an industrial accident in 2008 abruptly changed the direction of Ben Hekenui’s life. He talks to freelance photojournalist Sharyn Smart about life after the accident.
“It was either all of me or a part of me. And I said you aren’t going to take me!”
Ben’s positive attitude throughout his horrific ordeal comes from a life-time of playing top level sports.
“Through all my sport I’ve had that determination, courage and that never give up attitude – this won’t beat me.”
After 26 years together, his wife Chrissy keeps him in line and keeps him focused. She has lovingly stood by his side and supported him throughout his ordeal.
“Usually they say the man is the rock but in this case she’s the rock.”
Today the 43-year-old double amputee has a passion for wheelchair basketball and captains the Taranaki RollersTeam. He has recently been named in the New Zealand training squad.
“If I was still an able-bodied person I wouldn’t have known what wheelchair basketball was like. I wouldn’t have been Taranaki Person of the Year, Countdown hero or nominated for the Spirit category at the Attitude Awards held on World Disability Day.