Almost paralysed after stunt gone wrong, he endured 12-hour surgery and will compete again next month
When he fell after trying a stunt in gymnastics class last month, there was a chance he might be paralysed.
That was why Manhunt Singapore (Senior) 2015 finalist Kenneth Ting thought he would not be able to participate in next month's competition.
But after undergoing a 12-hour operation, where metal plates with screws and rods were inserted into his neck, he can walk again.
Now the 34-year-old is determined to make the most of his second chance to do his best on stage.
On Oct 13, Mr Ting had attempted a backflip during his lesson at local gymnastics school GymKraft and ended up falling awkwardly.
He broke his neck and felt his body go numb.
Mr Ting, who is the owner of an online supplement business, was rushed to Tan Tock Seng Hospital. Doctors told him and his wife, Mrs Sharlene Ting, that he would definitely be paralysed unless he underwent surgery.
In a phone interview last Friday, Mr Ting told The New Paper: "The surgeons told me that the surgery was the most complicated they had experienced.
"My physiotherapist said that the odds of my paralysis were very high.
"I was worried but figured there was nothing else I could do but pray."
When he woke up after the operation, he felt things went well because he could feel his hands, despite them being a little numb.
While in hospital, Mr Ting had to rely on the nurses and his wife to bathe and feed him, as he could not bend his neck low enough to see the food in front of him and feed himself.
He said he can now can get out of bed for short periods of time, even though his neck and back ache after two hours.
He can also bathe and feed himself.
He added: "The doctors said that I may take as long as a year to make a full recovery. But I am thankful. (From almost being paralysed) this is a miracle.
"I've lost 5kg so far but I am most grateful to the surgeons, my family and relatives for getting me through this difficult time."
Manhunt Singapore organiser Samuel Seow was just grateful that Mr Ting is alive and well.
He said: "I think you can tell a man's character by how he reacts to the tough situations that he is put in. Despite all that has happened to Kenneth, he did not once say he wanted to quit Manhunt. "The other finalists and I went to visit him at his house and it was so heartwarming to see him as we are all inspired by his story."
Added Mr Seow: "I want to stress that Manhunt is not a 'physique competition'. We are looking for someone who has the commitment and drive to be a star."
Mr Ting, a cosplayer who also works as a freelance personal trainer and parade performer at Universal Studios, had jokingly asked doctors if the inserted metal plates would trigger alarms at metal detectors at airports.
To his surprise, the doctors said no.
Jokes aside, the trauma of Mr Ting's injury had affected his family the most.
Mr Ting, who has four older sisters, said that one of the worst moments for him in hospital was hearing from family members that his mum and sister had cried.
Mrs Ting, who had to care for her husband, also had to make sure that she got in touch with his many business partners to inform them of his injury. Financially, Mr Ting said the cancelled jobs in the last month alone had cost him a four-figure sum in lost income.
Not being able to work out has also caused him to lose muscle mass.
While Mr Ting did not compete in the Manhunt prejudging event at Wave House Sentosa last Sunday, he spent an hour in the audience. He will take to the stage at the Dec 5 Manhunt finals at Hotel Jen Orchardgateway.
Said Mr Ting: "Ultimately Manhunt is holistic, it's not just about physique. I have to shine in areas such as personality and charisma.
"(Though) I can't work out, I intend to make up for it with my other traits. Who knows? Maybe the judges may appreciate my new lanky frame."
This article was first published on Nov 10, 2015.
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