Re-learning

Playing tennis, soccer and lots of outings with friends. Until I was fourteen, I was actually always moving around a lot. I played tennis three to four times a week, but my shoulder became extremely painful. After examinations by the family doctor, physical therapist and orthopedist, it turned out to be an aggressive form of bone cancer. My world stood still and I entered a tough period full of surgeries and chemotherapy. In the end, amputation of my left arm was the only option. Since February 2009, I have been going through life with one arm.

I had to relearn almost everything; from buttering a sandwich to serving with tennis. Yet even then I knew one thing for sure: I will not let my physical challenge become a limitation. For that, I didn't go through all the misery. I learned to play tennis again, got a job at the supermarket and became a goalkeeper on the Dutch soccer team for people with amputations. I was back in full swing.

Over the years, the cancer returned six times. Not only are Bibian's and my stories somewhat similar; we ran into each other more and more often. In the hospital, at lectures or during sporting events. Meanwhile, I was volunteering at Stichting Amputatievoetbal Nederland and helping to organize the Paragames. When a vacancy appeared at the Mentelity Foundation I didn't have to think long. Although for me it is a matter of course to keep playing sports, I now know that this is not the case for everyone in the Netherlands. Because of poor facilities or a lack of opportunities. Now working daily to get children and young adults moving again often doesn't even feel like work. I want everyone to see that life doesn't stop with a physical challenge. Much more is possible than people and their immediate environment often think.

"Much more is possible than people and their immediate environment often think."

Thijs Kroezen (26)
Communications & Project Management