During an extended Dharna Group session yesterday, our Year 12 students had the privilege of meeting and listening to an incredible guest speaker – former Barossa Valley winemaker John Weeks shared his inspirational story of surviving a horrific accident, one that left him with severe burns to 75% of his body.
John is currently touring South Australia to launch his photobiography “Living Without Fingerprints: A Point in Time” – in the book, he explains how his life profoundly changed the instant a connected phone charger in his car created a spark, igniting a jerry can of petrol and causing the vehicle to explode.
John’s story is one of remarkable resilience. Following a month-long induced coma in the Royal Adelaide Hospital, he was the world’s first burns surviving recipient of a revolutionary new medical technique for skin regeneration. Living Without Fingerprints captures the time prior to the accident before concentrating on the two years of immense pain, nightmares, drug reliance, rehabilitation, achievements, and ultimately returning home to a new life direction.
As John puts it: “Each chapter has photography from my travels around the world which is impeccably incorporated into messages. My scars are a mark of my resilience, and I dedicate my book to all those who carry scars, visible and invisible.”
John is an incredibly engaging and motivating speaker – his positive outlook and key life messages were well absorbed by our students, and should stand them in good stead for the remainder of their studies and beyond.
We offer our sincere thanks to John for sharing his time, experiences and wisdom with us; we hope to see and hear from him again at PLHS one day soon.
“I found John’s speech inspiring because he spoke about his recovery and how he didn’t give up, even though he had serious burns over his entire body.” ~ Charlotte Stigwood
“It was evident within John’s story that he required tremendous resilience, from when his accident occurred and throughout his recovery. John spoke to us about the importance of resilience as this is a skill we will need moving through to the end of Year 12 and into our futures.” ~ Mitchell Paterson
“John’s talk was really good; he seems like a lovely man just trying to spread positivity.” ~ Calli Thompson
“I asked John a follow-up question about the extent of his inability to regulate his body temperature. He explained that he can no longer sweat or retain body heat in cold weather – he uses air conditioners and cold showers to cool himself down.” ~ Jae Morton
“You don’t drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there.” ~ John Weeks