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You have to believe in yourself - Khadag's story

You have to believe in yourself - Khadag's story

Khadag Bista was born in Hariyon, Nepal. He was a chef and worked for many restaurants around the world. He was an active man and had a love for travelling, swimming, and most of all, food.

On the 31st of January 2018, Khadag had a serious car accident on Arundel Rakaia Gorge Road near Mayfield. He sustained a traumatic brain injury as well as many broken bones.

Following his accident, he spent 22 days in a coma in Christchurch Hospital. Ten days after the accident, his wife Sabita arrived in New Zealand from Nepal.

“His whole body was like a statue; he couldn’t walk, talk or eat. Little by little, there was progress. Slowly, slowly over a long time,” she says.

After 41 nights minimally conscious in Christchurch Hospital, Khadag moved to the rehabilitation unit at the Laura Fergusson Brain Injury Trust. He saw many therapists over his six-month stay. Speech-language therapists to help him relearn how to speak and eat again. Occupational therapists to help him practice everyday activities. Physiotherapists to help him stand and walk. Psychologists to help him adjust to his new life. And nurses to help him with his day-to-day life.

“Everyone tried hard to help me, and I slowly improved,” he says.

Khadag has put an incredible effort into his rehabilitation.

“Khadag is a very resilient and perseverant man,” says Naomi Siva a Rehab Coach of Khadag’s. “I have never seen him give up on any task we attempt. He is always keen to give a task his best go no matter how hard it is.

In August of 2018, Khadag, Sabita, and their two sons moved into a house in Christchurch. Khadag remains in ongoing rehabilitation but can now walk with a walker, eat, drink and communicate again.

He became an essential member of the Can Do Catering service, a social enterprise that employs residents and clients of the Laura Fergusson Brain Injury Trust. Can Do Catering allowed Khadag to rekindle his passion and to achieve what had seemed impossible, by once again becoming a chef.

“Khadag started working with the Can Do team as a volunteer,” says Vicky Harris, Catering Manager at Can Do Catering. “In those days peeling a carrot was quite challenging for him. However, it gave him great joy to be involved with food preparation again. In 2021 he became a paid employee and would often provide his own recipes. With support from our rehab staff, he prepared a main meal for our small group living clients. Cooking feeds his soul!”

After an incredibly challenging few years, Khadag has a positive outlook on life and encourages people to stay positive.

“I think my positive thoughts help me to recover. Whatever happens, happens. What will be, will be. What can I do? You need to accept help from others. You have to believe in yourself – if you do, then you can do it!”

ACC Traumatic Brain Injury Strategy and Action Plan (2017 – 2021)