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Focused on helping others after two near-death experiences

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A fight for life as a result of being struck by an impaired driver became a life-changing experience for 19-year-old Shakir Amory.

Hit by a car being driven by a woman who was more than two-and-a-half times over the alcohol limit, he is committed now more than ever to help those in need.

That commitment was reinforced following a near drowning incident this year while swimming with classmates when he was overcome by a wave as he struggled to make it back to shore.

On Saturday he will join members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church to host the second annual Youth Outreach Day on Elliot Street in Hamilton.

In an interview with

The Royal Gazette it was clear that a life threatening experience, not once but twice, has evoked a strong will to focus on paying it forward to help others.

He doesn’t remember the accident that landed him in hospital for four months on March 6, 2010, but it was a day family will never forget.

When the car being driven by Angela Ambrosini on South Road in Devonshire struck him on that fateful night, Mr Amory suffered severe head injuries, two broken femurs, a broken jaw and collarbone and a collapsed lung.

His broken bones were repaired with metal plates that required more surgery to remove later. He is due for more surgery to repair his teeth. The driver was jailed for a year and has since been released with a three-year disqualification from all vehicles.

On more than one occasion Mr Amory said she apologised and he has no bad feelings.

“I saw her after the trial, she hugged me and apologises whenever she sees me. But the accident has changed me as a person, I’m a little more cynical with all the pain and suffering I went through.

“Maybe I haven’t let out what I should have way back when the accident occurred, but the accident definitely turned me against alcohol,” he said.

“People who drink and drive don’t think about the damage they can do to themselves or others, it’s been a hard road back for me, it’s terrible and I still have to have surgery on my teeth. But I must say her insurance company has been very good in providing coverage for my medical costs.

“I’m not mad at the driver responsible, even though she hit me with a car I’m not angry, but I’ve had lots of frustration that turned into anger at times; it comes out in different ways.”

At no point did he ever doubt he was going to make it, but the hardest part was not being able to walk without assistance. His strong determination to play football again kept him going.

“My knees still bother me and I’ve been told not to play football but I still play whenever I can. I’m doing physiotherapy and I’m getting better all the time,” he said.

By coincidence he’s bound for Liverpool, home of his favourite football team, in September to take up Hispanic studies. He hopes to become a translator or a teacher, and plans to see his team play more than a few games.

But those hopes were nearly dashed in February when he went on a swimming exercise with his Environment Science class.

“I took in quite a bit of water so I went to the hospital because when I got home my lungs felt like they were on fire. They told me my vital signs were low; the doctor said I didn’t need to stay for observation.

“But I didn’t sleep for the next three days because I know fluid in your lungs can cause you to drown in your sleep. The doctor said I didn’t take in enough water for that to happen but I wasn’t taking any chances. That second near miss convinced me that I’m on this earth for a greater reason and I know my faith has pulled me through.”

On Saturday he will join other youth leaders and members for the second annual Youth Outreach Day from 10am to 2pm outside Bermuda Public Storage. The theme is ‘Compassion’ to help people in need.

“There’s so many young people who are 25 years old and under who are living on the streets, and a lot of it is alcohol and drug related. There will be lots of food and drinks, giveaways, with free medical and dental screenings at the Washington Mall in a community fun day. We’ll have a free clothing drive and we’re looking for ideas for our next random acts of kindness.”

And despite three years of struggle his main goal is to carry the anti-drink and drive message by spreading the word on what he endured to get back on his feet again.

Life-changing: Church community leader Shakir Amory is surrounded by a pile of shoes that will be given away during the Adventist Youth Ministry’s ‘Compassion’ youth outreach day on Saturday. Food and clothing will be given away from Bermuda Public Storage on Elliot Street, as well as random acts of kindness around the city through the day.
Life-changing: Church community leader Shakir Amory is surrounded by a pile of shoes that will be given away during the Adventist Youth Ministry’s ‘Compassion’ youth outreach day on Saturday. Food and clothing will be given away from Bermuda Public Storage on Elliot Street, as well as random acts of kindness around the city through the day.

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Published June 05, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated June 04, 2013 at 11:04 pm)

Focused on helping others after two near-death experiences

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