Darren Thomas was shot and stabbed in a house robbery but miraculously survived
He played sports his entire life from a young age, eventually even playing for the Lions Sevens Rugby team.
You couldn't really get me to sit still. I was either in the gym, or on the field or doing something.Darren Thomas
He says he had always loved competing against others and being fit and strong.
On that fateful night, he says he was fast asleep when he heard his new puppy barking. He did not think anything was wrong and settled back down to sleep. He says he remembers nothing that happened after that until he woke up in the hospital.
The guys had come into the house, the alarm was going off, and my dad called me on the intercom and I spoke to him - which I don't remember - to tell me there were three guys at the gate and to be careful. But there were already some guys in the house which he didn't know.Darren Thomas
He says he has been told the men opened his bedroom door and he went out to defend himself and his family.
They came into the room and I was stabbed in the head with a screwdriver and then I was shot point-blank in the chest.Darren Thomas
I must have got into a fight with the guys as I had scratches and bruises all the way up my arms.Darren Thomas
After they left the house his father found him lying in his bedroom on his back.
He was rushed to hospital with a ruptured lung.
The bullet missed his heart by a millimeter because it was contracted at that moment and went through the spine.
If my heart had been beating the other way I wouldn't be here talking to you.Darren Thomas
Initially, doctors told him that he was unable to move his legs and he was paralysed.
He is paralysed from the chest down.
Hearing that was probably my worst nightmare coming true.Darren Thomas
He says coming to terms with not being able to do the things he had always loved was very difficult and in the early stages at times he lost the will to live.
Darren says he went through a very dark time where he did contemplate taking his own life but then was able to see how he was surrounded by people who loved him.
He is married to his then-girlfriend Lauren who has been instrumental in walking the journey with him.
He describes his intense anger and desire for revenge while he lay in hospital, but realised this was not helpful.
I realised there is not going to be healing for me physically and mentally because this is going to consume me.Darren Thomas
He describes how he finally reconnected with his trainer and began finding ways to do some of the activities he had always loved. It was like slowly getting some of his identity back, he says.
Listen to Darren's inspirational story below::
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