News Local

Ontario man staying positive after trampoline accident

By Liz Braun, Toronto Sun

Joshua Noronha, who is paralyzed after a recent trampoline accident, is seen outside of Toronto's Lyndhurst Centre on Saturday, September 23, 2017 with his  mother Leslie Pocklington and her husband Chris Dopp. (Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun)

Joshua Noronha, who is paralyzed after a recent trampoline accident, is seen outside of Toronto's Lyndhurst Centre on Saturday, September 23, 2017 with his mother Leslie Pocklington and her husband Chris Dopp. (Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun)

TORONTO - 

Joshua Noronha turns 26 in October.

This will be his first birthday in a wheelchair.

Noronha broke his neck at Collingwood Trampoline in mid-August and is paralyzed from the chest down.

His response to this life-altering incident can be summed up as follows: Impossible is nothing.

To meet Noronha is to understand the role of attitude in the healing process. He’s an athlete, avid skier and Level 2 trampoline coach, so his physical strength will serve him well as he adjusts to his new circumstances.

Luckily, his spiritual, emotional and psychological strength are just as well developed.

Noronha remains entirely hopeful and positive. His attitude is so transcendent it’s almost like a super-power.

As his mother, Leslie Pocklington, says, “Josh has the heart of a lion.”

Noronha is currently at Lyndhurst rehab centre, undergoing physio, occupational and recreational therapies. He should be ready to leave around the end of November, and the hope is that he will eventually live in a special condo to develop his independent living skills. Until then, he’ll live at home in Collingwood, where his parents are refitting their house to accommodate his wheelchair.

Noronha’s ability to embrace life may be partly heredity. His mother has kept a blog since the accident to keep family and friends updated, and her sense of hope and upbeat determination are obvious.

About two weeks after the accident, Pocklington wrote of her son, “There is sure to be a miracle in his lifetime.”

Noronha is already propelling himself around in a wheelchair and practising transferring — moving his body from the bed to the chair, and back, using his arms. It is hugely painful and difficult.

“But he can do it. And he wants to do it,” says Pocklington.

“He looks forward to physio every day because he knows with each passing day he’s learning more about how to live independently.”

Noronha studied cognitive science at Carlton. After university, he had moved home for a year to save up for his own trampoline centre — his business plan is still sitting on the coffee table at home.

He may open the centre yet, says Noronha, although he is also thinking about going back to university.

Noronha offers the details of his harrowing accident, explaining that he never lost consciousness. He also knew immediately that he was in serious trouble.

Still, “Apparently I made a lot of bad jokes along the way. When they took an X-ray I said, ‘Cheese’.

“When my mom showed up, that was the first time I cried.”

Was he scared?

“No. I just didn’t want to be a burden on my mother.”

Is he hopeful that science will ameliorate his situation?

“Stem cells are all the rage,” he quips, but then he’s serious when he adds, “I’m positive that no matter what happens, we’re going to be all right.”

Asked if he ever wonders, ‘Why me?’ Noronha says, “Absolutely not. I think about how lucky I am to even have my arms.

“Half the things I love to do involve my upper body. I’m a complete nerd. I need my hands to type on computers. The fact that I have this, and people like this in my corner…” He looks over at his family.

“Do you know how lucky I am?”

ADDING INSULT TO INJURY

Joshua Noronha’s accident at Collingwood Trampoline was not the first serious incident at the facility. And the owner had no insurance.

He has since closed the place down.

Insurance would have covered the estimated $1 to 3 million it will cost going forward for changes in Noronha’s life, starting with renovations to make his house fully accessible. It’s a huge financial burden.

There’s a gofundme campaign to raise money for Noronha’s care. They are half way to a goal of $250,000 and donations have come in from as far away as Thailand and New Zealand.

You can donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/Josh-Noronha

And you can read his mother’s wonderful blog here: www.caringbridge.org/visit/josh2 

lbraun@postmedia.com