Jules’ Story

30 March 2022

August 31, 2014 was a life-changing day for Jules. What started out as a quick ATV ride with his friends ended with him waking up in a hospital five months later.

At just 32 years old, Jules had lost control of his quad outside of Kelowna and fell 75 feet down a cliff. He was wearing a helmet but had not secured the chin strap – a decision he regrets to this day. He sustained a brain injury, a broken jaw, and awoke from a coma with no memory of the last six months of his life.

Once he was well enough to begin his rehabilitation, he was transferred to Riverview Health Centre to be closer to family supports in Winnipeg.

Now the only Acquired Brain Injury rehabilitation program in the province of Manitoba, Riverview Health Centre staff help many younger people like Jules regain their lives after such an accident.

Jules remembers arriving in Winnipeg, feeling sick to his stomach from the air and car travel and being so weak that he could barely push himself in his wheelchair. In fact, he could only use his legs to move his wheelchair as his hands were so contracted from his accident.

He also remembers being angry – “I did not appreciate my life right after the accident.”

But the staff at Riverview believed in him and showed kindness. Their belief motivated him and gave him hope that he would walk again.

Jules became very focused on walking again with one goal in mind – to get back to his son Jamon.

So Jules began to work. He spent five days a week in the gym at Riverview with the therapy team. “The parallel bars were the hardest but also the most rewarding for me. That is where I took my first steps!”

Patients like Jules are able to take those first steps because of kindness of others. 

Through the generosity of the community, the Foundation is able to purchase the equipment needed in the rehabilitation gym. This support ensures all patients have the tools they need to get the most out of each therapy session.

“The staff have a special place in my heart, they let me vent when I needed to and they pushed me to do more each day. I would not be walking again without them.”

The therapy team fondly remembers Jules and his time at Riverview “A positive outlook, perseverance, and setting personal and meaningful goals during a course of rehab can result in good outcomes for survivors of traumatic brain injury.  Jules always showed up each day, and never gave up.” says Susanne Boyd, physiotherapist at Riverview.

One goal that Jules had set for himself while building his strength at Riverview was to participate in the Riverview Foundation’s Cycle on Life Event held each June.  In June 2016, Jules was able to accomplish this goal.  “I was nervous but ready at the same time, members of the therapy team where there to support me so deep down I knew I could finish the event” Jules remembers.

Through hard work and the care of the staff at Riverview and his family, Jules began seeing results and after 18 months Jules was able to walk with the help of a walker. It was now time for Jules to get back to his son.

Jules’ recovery journey was not complete however.

From Riverview, he was transferred to CONNECT Lake Country in BC, a program for people with brain injuries to help them regain their independence; teaching them to cook, grocery shop and take the bus.

Trained in culinary arts Jules was excited to learn how to cook again and shop on his own.  “The kitchen is definitely one of my happy places.  I love cooking great meals for my son” says Jules.

He is now proud to say that he has been living independently for three years, with no walking aids.

Jamon, now 14, is able to spend every weekend with his father and they are so thankful for each day they have together. 

Jules is an incredible role model for his son, showing him that through perseverance and hard work anything is possible. 

“I have a renewed appreciation for my life, I am right where I should be, beside my son” Jules reflects gratefully.