Athlete who lost his arms but found love

adam_kamis_n_ally_kuan

When marine engineer Adam Kamis lost the use of both arms in a devastating motorbike crash, his promising career lay in tatters. But in a twist of fate, the accident led him to find love – and the chance to represent his country at athletics.

Mr Kamis was 23 when the crash left one arm paralysed and the other needing to be amputated. His doctor later advised him to take up running, but he was scared to be seen in public with his changed body. In need of support, he looked online, which is where he met his future wife, Ms Ally Kuan. With her by his side, he began running and went on to represent Singapore in the Commonwealth Games.

Last Thursday, Ms Kuan, a customer service representative, tearfully told The Straits Times Mr Kamis is “sweeter and nicer” than any man she has known. When they tied the knot last November, it was a modest affair as Mr Kamis had to use his savings to pay hospital bills. But he said: “Even though I only managed to give her a plain ring without any diamond, Ally told me that she is very contented.”

The couple’s love story began when they met on Facebook in 2009. Mr Kamis had spent the past six years battling to recover from his accident but still required occupational therapy. He found the support he needed in Ms Kuan.

“She was willing to accept me as a friend, despite my condition, unlike many who rejected me and turned away,” said Mr Kamis, who is now 33 and working as a technical support assistant in the maritime line. When he told her about his shyness at running in public, she offered to run with him. They began jogging together regularly. Ms Kuan, also 33, then encouraged him to enter a race, during which he was noticed by the Singapore Disability Sports Council and invited to train with the national disabled track and field team.

She watched him at every training session. And when he was selected for the Commonwealth Games in India, she quit her job after being unable to get more leave. “I wanted to give him strength and show him I believed in him,” she said.

While others celebrated Valentine’s Day with fancy dinners, the couple did so quietly, talking on the phone on the eve of Feb 14 until the clock hit midnight. Ms Kuan is in Malaysia visiting her family. It was a reflection of their life together, which has to be simpler due to the cost of Mr Kamis’ care. For their wedding, they had a one-table dinner for family and friends at a restaurant. But Ms Kuan said: “He’s always giving me small, sweet surprises. I’m very happy to just be with him.”

Friday, Feb 15, 2013
The Straits Times

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