No burden is too much for Anthony Lue, not even his inability to walk again.
Seven years ago while working as a mechanical apprentice at a Pickering recycling facility, the aspiring Olympic hurdler and major league baseball player was crushed inside a vehicle he had taken to be scrapped.
Sustaining a broken back, fractured neck, broken ribs and spinal cord damage, Lue is confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
Most young people with a partial scholarship and full life ahead of them would have been unable to recover from the devastating blow.
‘Things didn’t turn out the way I hoped they would’, is his perspective.
“Everything happens for a reason,” he said.
Last Saturday, Lue was the recipient of the Madiba Award presented at the ninth annual Cultural Expressions Black History Month event at J. Clarke Richardson Collegiate Institute in Ajax.
The award was created two years ago to honour an individual for outstanding community service.
“This is my first award and I am really blown away,” he said. “Just to be nominated is a big deal.”
The second award was presented posthumously last year to successful Pickering High School track & field coach, Cyril Sahadath, who succumbed to a heart attack in March 2013.
Sahadath was Lue’s coach in high school.
“Coach was a like a second father to me and he had a huge impact on my life,” said Lue. “I spent so much time with him and he taught me a lot. He was one of the best coaches I had and I am so delighted to be following in his footsteps in terms of receiving this prestigious award a year after his family was presented with it on his behalf.”
Event co-chair, Dane Lawrence, nominated Lue for the award.
“Anthony along with my daughter and many others were part of the winning tradition that Cyril Sahadath cultivated at Pickering High and we all saw the natural talent he had,” said Lawrence. “With the tragic accident, my concern was how he would find the life ahead. His no-quit attitude despite the emotional and physical challenges has been so impressive that I had nominated him for this honour.”
Event founder, Esther Forde, said Lue is a fitting recipient for the award.
“Anthony embodies the essence of Nelson Mandela’s struggle and is working to ensure that his voice matters as he motivates people to surmount barriers,” she said.
Unable to pursue a career as an able-bodied athlete, Lue has turned to para-cycling which has been an Olympic sport since 1988.
Though able to raise the funds to purchase a new bike, he’s unsure he will qualify for this summer’s Rio Olympics.
“I am only now getting back on the bike after being off for almost a month,” he said. “I also missed a training camp in Florida and three races. When you take into consideration I am new to the sport and I have been unable to get in the necessary work, getting to Rio doesn’t look good.”
However, Lue is confident that he will qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Games.
In the meantime, he will continue to volunteer, share his story with young people and deliver motivational talks about workplace hazards and persevering in the face of challenges.
“I am cleaning my apartment right now and I am thinking it would be so much easier if I was able to use my feet,” he told Share. “I have some tough days when I experience a lot of nerve and muscle pain. It’s not easy. I am however a very positive person and that has made a huge difference in putting a smile on my face and keeping me going. I am not going to give up.”
Only losers throw their hands up in defeat and he’s not one of them.
By RON FANFAIR