Dr Limbie Kelly Kelegai’s book tells of his journey from becoming a quadriplegic to obtaining a PhD, writes MALUM NALU
A POWERFUL new book, Through the Eye of the Storm, by Dr Limbie Kelly Kelegai, tells of how he overcame being a quadriplegic to achieve his dreams.
Dr Kelegai, from Ialibu, Southern Highlands province, sustained a spinal injury in 1980 in a rugby league accident in Lae and became a quadriplegic while studying at the University of Technology.
On the night of Sept 22, 2005, Dr Kelegai received his PhD in information technology from the Vice-Chancellor of the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia.
His two sons were on either side proudly groomed in their traditional Ialibuan attire.
The rest of his family was very close in the rows soaking the accolade with pride and joy – it was a momentous evening.
This was the pinnacle of Dr Kelegai’s career.
This is the story of how this young man lived through trauma with hope to achieve his dreams: never giving up regardless of the enormity of the trauma.
It is a love story of how he met his wife Rose, a nurse at the Angau Memorial Hospital in Lae, and how she stuck by him through good and bad times,
In these times, this book reminds us of the values we have lost: self-worth, self-belief, courage in the face of adversity and the power of hope.
It is a celebration of our heritage and our people and is a much-needed source of inspiration to instil hope in the hearts of many throughout this country.
If ever there was a perfect example of the power of human spirit and of love, this is it.
It is the extraordinary journey of an ordinary person who refused to succumb to negativity and hopelessness and allowed God to take control in every aspect of his life.
This book is a demonstration of the strength of positive thinking and has been highly recommended by notable members of society including Governor-General Sir Paulias Matane and managing director of PNG Sustainable Development Program David Sode as a must-read for everyone.
“I have read dozens of books in recent years but have not read anything like Dr Limbie Kelegai’s most impressive and positive life story,” Sir Paulias says.
“Limbie does not accept difficulties.
“In fact, he converts difficulties, negative to positive thoughts and actions.
“He believes that nothing in the world is impossible to achieve.
“To him, words like impossibility, can’t or difficulty are not in his vocabulary and actions.
“To know more about this positive thinker and performer, we must read this book, which I now recommend to the Department of Education to buy copies of and distribute to all schools in PNG.
“I want to see our young people learn from Dr Kelegai’s examples to change them to be positive in life and actions.”
Mr Sode said Dr Kelegai and his family had been on an amazing journey through life.
“This is a story of an ordinary young man with an extraordinary twist in life: born free, reaching for his dreams and then, his world was turned upside down,” he said.
“Limbie starkly reminds us that life can shift you into reverse gear without notice.
“In a matter of seconds, he was transformed from a healthy, promising, energetic young man, to a quadriplegic in a football accident in Lae on March 9, 1980.
“As you read this book, you can’t help but enter with Limbie into the fellowship of the dark room of despair, pain, broken-heartedness, shattered dreams and a crashed life – inconceivable, leaving the option of death as a very valuable and sweet relief.
“But you will also feel the triumph as he defiantly clung on to life determined to live. “And amazingly, he struggled on, overcoming scores of obstacles, and in the midst of this turmoil found amazing love, and against all odds persevered to, remarkably, achieve his dreams.”
Dr Kelegai writes: “By the time I reached 18, I had lived my life.
“It was all but over.
“And the events that followed were like nothing I had imagined.
“I offer my personal story in the hope that it helps others elegantly clear hurdles of aloneness, grief and fear far faster than I did.
“I hope it encourages those enduring life’s challenges and who are in dire need for a ray of hope – you are not alone.
“And for others it might perhaps enlighten their hearts to appreciate the passing moments and value life a little more.
“It is by far the toughest thesis I have tackled.”
Dr Kelegai was born in 1961 in Yamex village, Ialibu, began his primary school education at the Lutheran Mission Primary School in 1968, and completed Grade Six in 1973.
In 1974, he attended Ialibu High School and completed his Grade 10 in 1977.
He then undertook mechanical engineering studies Unitech 1978.
At the time of the accident, he was undertaking his third year of studies at Unitech.
After a year-long rehabilitation at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney, he returned to PNG.
Despite his disability, Dr Kelegai enrolled for an undergraduate programme in computer studies at Unitech in 1981.
At the end of 1983, Dr Kelegai graduated with a bachelor of technology in computing.
On Aug 1, 1980, Dr Kelegai married his sweetheart, Rose. They have six children.
He began his career with Unitech in 1984 and was with Unitech until his resignation in 2007.
In 1994, Dr Kelegai studied for his post-graduate masters in information technology, at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane, Australia.
He successfully completed the studies in 1995 and was awarded his masters degree.
In 2000, Dr Kelegai began studying for his PhD in information technology at the QUT.
He was awarded his doctorate in 2005.
Dr Kelegai and his family live in Brisbane, Australia.