Written by Corinne Jeanmaire and Anja Hoogendoorn, April 2017. Translated by Beverley Saunders.
Today’s cult of happiness drives us to profile ourselves in a bright light always. How else would we get “Likes” from our Facebook friends and maintain the interest of our followers? Nobody likes a sad face. In any event don’t publically discuss your problems because you will be expelled from the Happy Cool Tribe!
Celebrate your disability!
Disabled persons are, for example, expected to portray a blissful existence and to (almost) celebrate their handicap. A paraplegic will often receive the encouragement that happiness is not to be found in his/her legs. In a sense this statement is true; coming to terms with a disability and perseverance to live with the handicap is more likely to create a state of happiness. Wishing for another life can be the same as banging your head against a brick wall over and over again. A causal effect in society is the regular examples provided by the media of disabled persons doing extraordinary things. There is little or no mention of those who are also worthy of praise: numerous individuals who fight in silence and endure extreme pain to simply get through a day. Bas deserves this recognition.
Bas passed away on February 1, 2017.
Ten years earlier, Bas, a friendly, sociable 15-year old has an accident during school gymnastics. The teenager falls out of the rings and suffers a high (C4/C5) spinal cord injury. The additional complication of a scarred trachea requires placement of a trachea cannula. For Bas, this is the start of a life filled with pain and constant medical care.
A bleak and uncertain future.
Bas was just beginning to discover the world when his world suddenly crashed and tumbled around him. His dream to go to hard core and hard style parties was crushed. But Bas’s parents were determined to not let that happen. So that Bas could still enjoy the party scene, they brought him and his friends in a specially equipped bus to all the parties and then returned to collect everyone, sometimes very late at night or in the early hours of the morning.
Because of all the hospital visits and medical procedures, Bas was unable to finish his school education. Learning to cope every day with a high spinal cord injury and a trachea cannula drained all his energy.
Yet he managed, in the last years of his life, to continue homes studies via the internet. Working with Photoshop and modern graphic techniques, he was even working towards obtaining a Bachelor in Communication and Multi Media Design.
Picture: Bas Hoogendoorn.
A ten-year battle for Bas and his family
His dream … to one day be free of pain, to enjoy a normal physical existence …
It was not to be and no-one could rid him of his useless body. The terrible pain, the tortures of a spinal injury, uncontrollable spasms, regular trachea operations, unbearable nights, absolute loneliness, his and his family’s helplessness… caused him to lose the courage to continue the battle.
Bas fought and held on for 10 long years but it eventually became too much for him to handle. Hopefully Bas has now found peace and been released from the pain, frustration and never ending struggle to survive.
Compassion for others ; donation for spinal cord injury research
During his memorial funeral service, almost 1700 Euros were collected from donations. It was Bas and his family’s decision to collect funds for spinal cord injury research instead of receiving flowers. “Because it can happen to anybody, anytime!”
A damaged spinal cord cannot be repaired ………….YET! Bas’s family fiercely hope that their donation to endParalysis foundation will contribute to the long and lengthy road of costly research necessary to obtain the cure for paralysis. Their donation will be used for 100% for research into curing spinal cord injuries.
Feature picture by B. Saeys: from left to right Corinne Jeanmaire (endParalysis), Ben Hoogendoorn, Irene Hoogendoorn, Anja Hoogendoorn, Elise Adriaanse (endParalysis) with a picture of Bas Hoogendoorn himself, Fons Weijtens (endParalysis). R.I.P. Bas