Keijo Kettunen never thought a fun afternoon of motorbike riding would turn his world upside down.
An unlucky accident left him with a shattered heel bone and broken ankle, unable to bear weight.
Recovery took over fifteen months, with six of those on crutches, the ongoing pain from the injury is something Keijo has adapted his life to manage.
Despite his willingness to 'give anything a go' and applying for hundreds of jobs, Keijo was unemployed.
His injury also made it difficult to find work, so in January 2019 he joined WDEA Works.
By September 2019, a family breakdown meant Keijo was homeless, he spent eight months living out of a tent in a local forest. Keijo found it difficult to stay positive.
"What people don't realise about being homeless is that you have to be really careful with your thoughts.
"There were days when I wanted to cry all day," he said. "I knew I needed to keep a positive mindset. I kept trying to keep everything in perspective - to keep thinking bigger and try not to let the negativity creep in."
During his turbulent journey, Keijo was supported by Luke, an Employment Consultant at WDEA Works.
Luke put Keijo forward for positions and provided him with support to keep his confidence up. Together they explored career options for Keijo, including upskilling and studying a Certificate III in Logistics.
Previously, Keijo had missed out on a position with Don KRC, a local smallgoods producer, but a second try proved successful. Don put Keijo on as a casual cleaner.
"We are thrilled to have Keijo join the business and pleased that we have been able to provide career opportunity," said Steve Kennedy, Operations Director at Don KRC.
Since beginning with Don KRC, Keijo progressed to a full-time contract and has also been able to obtain his forklift licence.
"I'm so happy to be working. I'm so grateful for the support Don has shown me. The kindness they've shown is incredible."
While working at Don KRC, Keijo continues to be supported by WDEA Works, with Luke sourcing lace-up boots to help support Keijo's recovering ankle. Keijo is no longer homeless and has been able to secure a rental property.
"You've got to try and stay positive. Despite everything that has happened, I really believe that good things are coming and life is turning around for me. "Right now I'm grateful to have a roof over my head and I'm focusing on working and living.
"I want to save up as much money as possible and move forward with my life."
National Pain Week is the national voice of people living with chronic pain. It champions the needs of the many Australians living with chronic pain.