'Inspirational' Jan wins SIA award
PUBLISHED: 13:30 26 June 2015
A Banwell engineer has received an award for his tenacious recovery from an accident that left him paralysed from the waist down.
Jan Stam, aged 57 and originally from Holland, was presented with the Inspirational Adult Award by Countdown’s Susie Dent at a ceremony hosted by The Spinal Injuries Association earlier this month, having been nominated by his sister-in-law, Cara.
After falling from a tree in 2005, Jan suffered a T-12 category injury and lost the use of his legs.
During this period he was in charge of building the roof and raising the arch of the new Wembley stadium in London.
He began working again two days after being hospitalised, setting up an office at his bedside that included filing cabinets transported from his Wembley office.
Many of his colleagues and clients were not even aware of what had happened.
Jan ignored his negative prognosis and managed to learn to drive using hand controls, so he could once again travel for work commitments.
Reflecting on his six months in hospital, he said: “I saw so many amazing people facing greater difficulties than mine, but they just got on with their lives and this inspired me to do the same thing.
“I have always been a hard-working person and I have not allowed myself to think or act differently at all since what happened.”
Jan has fundraised for both the SIA and the air ambulance and even asked for donations instead of wedding gifts when he married wife Niamh last year.
She said: “Jan is the most beautiful and inspirational person. He embodies the ethos of SIA and shows integrity and respect for all. His life is an example of what is possible.”
A list of all of the 2015 SIA award winners and further information about the charity, can be found at www.spinal.co.uk