Miracle Man - Keith Tucker inspires others despite being paralysed
Keith Tucker met with a terrible car accident, which broke his neck in three places and left him paralysed from the neck down, but his zeal for life was not crippled.
He has overcome adversities, and is now gainfully employed at one of the island's top financial institutions. He also teaches part-time, and is a published author.
"I heard a voice saying, 'You're going to die,' but I said, 'No, I shall live and declare the works of the Lord'," Tucker said, recalling his near-death experience in 1998.
Before the accident, which occurred when he was 23 years old, Tucker described himself as being a very active individual, employed as a teller at the Bank of Nova Scotia. He had been accepted to study at what is now the University of Technology, but tragedy struck before he could enrol.
"I dropped a friend's mom in May Pen, and while we [Tucker and his friend] were heading back to Kingston, going around a corner, a truck came around for a head-on collision. I had to swerve from the truck, and my car got out of control and took us over a precipice," Tucker said.
Helpful passers-by rushed both men to hospital.
"The doctors at the time thought I wasn't going to make it because of the level of injuries. They said my neck was broken so high that my ability to breathe should have been cut off. They couldn't understand why I was still breathing, because people with less severe injuries die," Tucker explained, adding that his friend also survived a broken back and is paralysed from the waist down.
Tucker spent a year and 10 months in hospital and later in physiotherapy, where he had started showing great improvements, including standing with the assistance of parallel bars. His remarkable recovery landed him the name 'Miracle Man', but then he suffered what he describes as a "major attack".
It started with a severe headache followed by multiple seizures. When Tucker was finally stabilised, he realised that he lost all the abilities he had regained.
"I was a little discouraged, but I mustered courage in my heart. I didn't look at the situation, and kept my focus on God and where I wanted to be," he said.
Soon after, Tucker was discharged and enrolled in a nursing home, but the mundane lifestyle of sitting and watching television was not to his liking, as he knew he had more to contribute.
He got re-enlisted in a rehabilitation centre, where he underwent aggressive therapy. Through that, he learnt to write and do simple tasks with his left hand, which has limited mobility.
After being discharged, the baptised Christian moved to a home owned by his church. There, he found great fulfilment in teaching for free Caribbean Examination Council mathematics to the nurses' children and others who were interested. Even university students went to him for help.
Soon after, Tucker began having dreams of working again, and he sent out rÈsumÈs. To his surprise, he again landed a job at Scotiabank's contact centre, where he excelled at his duties and copped multiple awards for his exceptional service.
Tucker has written a book about his inspirational journey and Christian walk, titled God's Miracle Man, Against all Odds. It was published in December 2016, and is available for purchase online.
"Never, ever give up. Life comes with challenges. Take your eyes off the problem and look to the life-giver, Jesus Christ, and you will be able to rise above your situation," Tucker said.