It was a motorcycle accident several years ago that resulted in Grace Tan experiencing a life-altering brain injury and serious physical injuries.

In hospital, coming in and out of a coma, with some amnesia and no concept of time, Grace was suffering from a broken back and pelvis, a fractured skull, dislocated ankle, and a broken bone in her ear.

Her family was warned that when she emerged from the coma, there was a risk she would present as a five-year-old. While that didn’t happen, her cognitive and short term memory was affected and her significant injuries meant life would no longer be the same. Instead, it became something else – a journey infused with Grace’s own remarkable optimism and positive attitude.

Key to Grace’s recovery was the desire to work again. Previously employed in strategic management, following rehabilitation for her injuries she was referred to the BC Centre for Ability for vocational support.

Assistance with her resume, cover letter, job identification and searching was all important. But it was the Centre’s wise counselling and encouragement that strengthened Grace’s damaged confidence. The Centre consistently reinforced that she belonged in the workplace and could contribute in new ways.

Speaking of her vocational counsellor, Grace says, “He made me realize that I am a very valuable employee and I have a lot to offer…I didn’t think I could do anything really challenging, but he helped me realize there was still a lot that I can do.”

Putting a life back together takes time, understanding, belief and incredible courage.

With the support of the Centre, Grace found a job where she could add value – and where she was hired on merit. Work is a means to regaining independence and rediscovering what is possible.

“I’m learning about my new self,” says Grace.


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