TOBY Kable describes it as "the best knock on the head" he's ever had.
Seven years ago while on a night out in Canberra, the then 19-year-old was involved in a life-changing incident with a taxi driver. After a misunderstanding, the taxi driver sped off as Mr Kable exited the car, and Mr Kable hit the gutter.
He sustained a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain and his family was given no guarantees he would survive.
It took more than six months of rehabilitation for Mr Kable to heal, and still suffers from memory loss to this day.
During his rehabilitation, Mr Kable would often sleep 18 hours a day, battling fatigue and depression, usually only waking to spend time with friends and family.
His girlfriend, now wife, Jasmin Kable encouraged him to enrol in a teaching degree at Newcastle university.
Mr Kable decided to focus on special education and in his spare time volunteered with a university-run camp for children.
With his life back on track, Mr Kable started to shine. He volunteered with the World Rare Disease Association, and even wrote a song for 2013 World Rare Disease Day, which he performed in Martin Place, Sydney.
Mr Kable started to work as a full-time permanent disability support worker and juggled a range of volunteer roles in his spare time. As the Redhead Cricket Club president, he encouraged people with special needs to play cricket.
He also founded the Newcastle All Ability Touch Association, was the Hunter Valley Special Olympics coach and the NSW Special Olympics coach.
"I wouldn't have been able to do it without Jas; I would have struggled without her," he said.
"Since the accident I found out what my strengths are - connecting with people and accepting all kinds of people - whether it's someone with a rare disease or someone with a disability."
For his efforts, Mr Kable has been nominated in the inaugural Lifeline Newcastle and Hunter Brass Blokes Award. The award recognises the spirit of men who have been through adversity yet still find the time, courage and inspiration to give back to the community.
The event will raise funds for Lifeline Newcastle and Hunter.
■ The Brass Blokes Award will be presented at Souths Merewether next Friday, July 18. Go to lifelinehunter.org.au to book tickets for the awards night.
Lifeline Newcastle and Hunter's Brass Bloke Award nominees
- Brendan Willis, Anna Bay
- Peter West, Thornton
- Fergus Campbell, Lambton Heights
- Jade Mann, Fletcher
- Bill Carr, Dora Creek
- Graham House, Windale
- Simon Burt, Belmont
- Toby Kable, Redhead
- Edward Cross, Newcastle
- Howard Marshall, Toronto
- Graeme Irwin, Merewether
- Angus McConnel, Merewether