‘I just want to better myself’

  • Positive outlook: wheelchair-bound Eusebio Raynor is looking for a job to help him gain independence. He lives at Summerhaven and spends his afternoons at John Smith’s Bay (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

    Positive outlook: wheelchair-bound Eusebio Raynor is looking for a job to help him gain independence. He lives at Summerhaven and spends his afternoons at John Smith’s Bay (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

  • Looking for work: Eusebio Raynor is looking for a job (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

    Looking for work: Eusebio Raynor is looking for a job (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

Eusebio Raynor doesn’t want much in life, just a job, money to spend and things of his own.

Unfortunately, when potential employers find out the 28-year-old is paraplegic, and in a wheelchair, the doors slam shut.

“A couple of people have said to me that I should volunteer,” Mr Raynor said. “People think that since you are in a wheelchair, that your brain doesn’t work.

“They think you don’t have one. They try to make decisions for you before you can make your own.”

Mr Raynor said his brain works just fine, thank you.

He has the use of his arms, and believes a data entry job would be good, but he’s open to any kind of job.

In 2003, he became wheelchair bound at age 12, after an accident while cliff diving at Admiralty Park.

“When I first jumped into the water everything was fine below,” he said.

After his feet left land, he saw another person surface in the water below him.

“The other person was bigger than me and older,” Mr Raynor said. “He was fine.”

Mr Raynor broke cervical vertebrae four and five. Today, he doesn’t feel any particular animosity towards cliff jumping.

“I’d do it today if I could,” he said. “I just hit someone, the water didn’t have anything to do with it. I did everything I was supposed to do.

“I looked before I jumped. I was under the water for about two minutes before a friend pulled me out and called an ambulance.”

He was flown out of Bermuda on a private plane, and spent over a month and a half recovering at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.

When doctors there told him he’d never walk again, he took it so calmly they called in a therapist.

“They thought something was wrong with me,” he said. “But I knew. It’s hard to keep something like that hidden.”

He left Johns Hopkins when his health insurance ran out.

“Then I just went with the flow,” he said.

After his recovery, he went to school for a year in Frederick, Maryland, where his mother lived and then went to high school in Florida.

There he started doing freelance video-editing and graphics work.

He got clients through word of mouth.

“Here there’s not so much of a market for that,” he said.

Eusebio says that if he could do anything in life, he’d be a graphics designer.

He believes he has the experience with it, but not the credentials.

He graduated from high school in 2009, and returned to Bermuda in 2013.

Last September he started his first semester at the Bermuda College.

In March, he developed a staph infection during surgery, and had to withdraw. He was in hospital for two weeks.

“I just got a bill from the Bermuda College for $2,000,” he said.

He hopes to go back and try again. He has been living at Summerhaven in Smith’s since September 2016, and shares an apartment there with someone.

“I do peaceful things,” he said. “I go on nature walks and picnics.”

He can often be found hanging out at John Smith’s Bay in the afternoons.

It was there that he met his friend Tanya Stafford, a community advocate.

“I smiled at her, and she said since I smiled at her she thought she should speak,” he said.

They started chatting and have been friends ever since.

“She has been trying to help me find a job,” Mr Raynor said. “Recently, we got together a few times to talk about me finding a job, and fundraising and anything else I might need,” he said. “Honestly, I would do anything to have my own money.

“I want to work for myself and buy my own things, as anyone else would, in any situation.”

He said he tries not to get too discouraged. “I don’t let myself, because things could always be worse,” he said. “I tend to think positively. I have my health when I do, I have a roof over my head.”

He also has good family support around him.

“My ultimate dream would be to have my own everything like everyone else,” he said. “Honestly, I just want my own space and to support myself.

“I don’t want much, at all. I just want to better myself, as any normal human being would, nothing more and nothing less.

“I just want the same opportunities as anyone else.”

He says he would be able to offer a potential employer time, energy, dedication, and ambition.

To contact Eusebio Raynor, e-mail Eusebioraynor228@gmail.com

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Published Aug 22, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Aug 22, 2019 at 9:28 am)

‘I just want to better myself’

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