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NAME: Arnold Balais
BIRTHDAY: March 16, 1974
BIRTHPLACE: Dinalupihan, Bataan
OCCUPATION: Prosthetics Technician/Patient Advocate
Some people succeed, some don’t. Among those that didn’t, many of them gave up too soon. This is why when someone comes along that seemingly overcame all the odds life has to offer and reached all his goals and more, it is truly awe-inspiring to say the least.
Enter, Arnold Balais, 41 years old
Arnold was born in Dinalupihan, Bataan. Like many, he idolized famous athletes growing up and played basketball. In 1990, Arnold suffered a bone injury while playing in a game. For over a year, he was bedridden because of an infection and eventually, an amputation was necessary to save his life. The news devastated Arnold, but he used this setback as a way to motivate himself to do even better. He didn’t let his disability hinder his quest to become the best version of himself that he knows he can be.
Despite his situation, he took it upon himself to rise above it. He started lifting weights and building his body. Weightlifting has its fair share of challenges. For Arnold, those get doubled due to his amputated leg. During his training, he went through a gauntlet of pain – from headaches, back pain, pain in his leg, knee, arms, and hands. Through all those he didn’t give up. He kept pushing himself. And he counted on Alaxan FR to get him through the pain. His perseverance amidst all the setbacks led to him becoming a part of the Philippine delegation to the 1996 Paralympics, finishing 12th out of 24 competitors.
After his initial Paralympics stint, Arnold wasn’t satisfied. He wanted to push himself and face more challenges. So, he moved to Cebu where he took up swimming and soon enough, he was participating in competitions like the Philspada meet where he earned gold, as well as silver and bronze medals at the 4th ASEAN Paralympic games. But for Arnold, there was a bigger mountain to conquer, literally. So in 2013, Arnold became the first amputee to reach the peak of Mount Apo.
Aside from his day job as a prosthetics technician, Arnold has also dabbled in teaching, holding classes as a laboratory technician for physical therapy students. He also spent the last year in competitive dragon boat racing after a patient turned him on to the sport. Together with his team, they have won competitions.
For Arnold, he finds joy and happiness in giving people hope. Whether it’s children with disabilities or amputated adults, he says it means a lot to him to be able to speak with people and giving them hope and strength to get through difficult times. He also tries to encourage his patients to try sports in order to change their attitude about their situation, much like what he did back in the day.
Arnold is living proof that if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish great things. Your situation right now doesn’t determine your future. It’s what you do despite of it. Throughout his life, Arnold has shown that he went through seemingly insurmountable odds only to come out on the other side bigger, better, and more successful than ever before. Anyone can do this because with the right mindset, and most of all, the right partner to get through the pain, you can succeed, you can power over pain."Basahin ang tagalog version dito."