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Man smashed head first into parked car in horror kitesurfing accident and it left him paralysed – Wales Online

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Kevin Chunisingh and his wife Becky arrived in Dorset in September, 2009, for what they hoped would be a two-week holiday action packed full of cycling, kayaking and kitesurfing.

On one grey and gloomy day –  the kind of day most people would rather go to the shops or stay in – Kevin decided to make the most of it and went kitesurfing.

He wanted to use the opportunity to get better at the sport. He felt it was a “privilege to be physically capable and able” to pursue his dreams.

An experienced kitesurfer, Kevin felt like everything was under control – nothing seemed out of the ordinary about his day.

That was until a freak gust of wind threw him a few feet up in the air, out of the water, and head-first into a parked car.

Kevin fractured his neck and was left paralysed from the chest down.

 

He spent 15 months in various hospitals, and for the first eight months was completely flat out on bed rest.

Since his accident, he has lost 95% of his upper-body strength and has only very limited movement in his arms.

Kevin with wife Becky exploring before his accident
Kevin has always been passionate about adventure
Kevin has always loved the outdoors

Over the last 10 years, Kevin, now aged 43, has spent his time rebuilding his life in Burry Port, and doing so, has found an unlikely hobby – painting.

Before his accident Trinidad-born Kevin had never taken a real interest in art.

From childhood, his whole life had centred around adventure and sport.

He said: “At seven years old I joined a karate club and I progressed very quickly.

“I spent more time training and exercising as a child than most.

“When I was 10, I entered a Caribbean-wide fighting and kata competition. 

“I had to face off against a group of 30 including a black belt who was four years older than me and won it for my age group.”

Afterwards, Kevin was selected to go on the national team and to travel, but missed out because of money.

Kevin moved to Wales to pursue his sporting dreams
(Image: Jonathan Myers)
He has now found a passion for art
(Image: Jonathan Myers)

He said: “Other than that I didn’t have much opportunity to do the sports I wanted to do in Trinidad, so I would train at home twice a day.

“It wasn’t safe to explore the countryside where I was from.”

In 2001, Kevin moved to the UK searching for a better life.

After spending seven years in Guildford, Kevin moved to Burry Port with Becky to follow his dream of outdoor sports.

He also secured a job as an information management officer at Carmarthenshire Council.

 

He said: “I kept coming back to south west Wales on holiday to do water sports and mountain biking with Becky, so we thought ‘why don’t we just move here?’

“So we did and everything was great. I had a new job, did lots of sports and everything was falling into place – I was really enjoying it.”

Following his accident, Kevin said he needed some sort of outlet to fulfill him since he was no longer able to do sport.

So, in 2014, when Becky started art classes, they found a way of securing a pencil to Kevin’s hand using his feeding strap so he could start drawing.

Eventually, Kevin progressed from pencil to acrylic paints.

Kevin prefers to work with acrylic paint
(Image: Jonathan Myers)
He found a way of securing his feeding strap to his arm
(Image: Jonathan Myers)
He usually paints floral scenes
(Image: Jonathan Myers)

He said: “Painting doesn’t fill the void sport left me, but when I do get painting, I get some good sense of achievement and that’s a good feeling.

“It takes me two hours to get up in the morning and holding the paintbrush with my arm in that position is the equivalent of someone holding a brick.

“But I have the drive now to keep going and to take it as far as I can.”

Because of the strain on his body, Kevin said he could only manage two to six hours a week painting.

He tries to paint every Monday and Friday with the help of his personal assistant who will turn the canvas after every few strokes so Kevin can fill the space.

(Image: Jonathan Myers)
(Image: Jonathan Myers)

“Painting has taken over everything because it is the only outlet I have to make me feel as though I am actually achieving something,” he said.

“Mondays and Fridays were originally dedicated to the gym to rebuild my strength, but I find that so tedious compared with what I did before and it gives me a lot of anguish, so I choose to paint.”

Kevin said he found summer to be a particularly difficult season.

 

“I love the sun. If it is sunny, I want to go outside which means I can’t paint as much, but it’s also where I get my inspiration – I love painting flowers and coastal scenes,” he said.

“However, summer is the most difficult time for me because naturally, I feel like it’s a good time for me to go for a cycle, kayak or walk, but I just can’t do it now.

“Watching everybody else going past on a bikes is hard despite it being nice being outside – it’s a mental battle.”

Kevin also loves coastal scenes
(Image: Jonathan Myers)

Kevin’s wife Becky is his primary carer and said she was really happy that Kevin had found art.

“We still have his first sketch, so it’s amazing to see how far he has come since then,” she said.

“Mondays and Fridays are my days off looking after Kevin so it’s exciting for me to come back and see what he’s done that day.”

Kevin said: “Becky is a massive help and we are always trying to find things that might improve my situation, like diet, relaxation, essential oils and my standing frame.

“Without her, I wouldn’t be able to do anything – I wouldn’t have a nice life at all.”

One of Kevin’s works
(Image: Jonathan Myers)

In February this year, Kevin entered a competition and was given an exhibition at the Oriel Bevan Jones Gallery in Carmarthen for six weeks in May and June.

Kevin said he found it overwhelming to see his own art on the walls and hoped to do more exhibitions in the future.

“People were interested in my work and bought it without knowing about my disability,” he said.

“They only realised when I gave them the pieces they had bought in person, and it was really important for me to know that.

“Although paintings do take a lot for me to do,  I am pushing to do more galleries in the future because it was very successful.

“None of it would have been possible without Becky.”

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