Michael Coss spent more than six months in a coma after a car accident. Now, he’s working to help others with brain injuries and mental health issues. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Michael Coss spent more than six months in a coma after a car accident. Now, he’s working to help others with brain injuries and mental health issues. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Never expected to live, Michael Coss is now giving back

Langley brain injury survivor raises money, offers support to those living with mental health issues

By Robyn Roste/Special to Langley Advance Times

A local traumatic brain injury survivor is giving back by raising funds for the Coast Mental Health Foundation.

After being critically injured in a 2006 motor vehicle crash, Langley’s Michael Coss was in a coma for more than six months, and wheelchair-bound for seven years.

He had to re-learn how to do basic tasks most of us take for granted, such as eat, speak, and use the bathroom.

His family was told he would never speak or walk again, but Coss has made “tremendous progress” after continually working with health professionals, such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and other rehabilitation specialists.

“It has been a major roller coaster ride the past 16 years, but I see nothing but a smooth gold paved road on the horizon,” he shared with the Langley Advance Times.

This summer, Coss is taking on a Courage 2 Go Further challenge, where participants raise support for people living with mental illness by adopting a personal “Courage 2 Go Further” challenge.

“Just over two years since the start of the pandemic, more support than ever is needed for people living with mental illness to ensure they stay off the streets and out of the hospital,” he said.

“My goal is to raise $1,000.”

Already, Coss has doubled his fundraising goal, by raising $2,000 – and that number continues to grow daily. Anyone interested in helping can still donate through the Courage 2 Go Further challenge site at: coastmentalhealth.akaraisin.com/ui/2022C2GF/p/MichaelCoss.

RELATED: Langley brain injury survivor celebrates 15 years of recovery by climbing 48 storeys

For more than 15 years, Coss has focused on his physical recovery – such as walking, balancing, and maintaining a proper body position. His challenge this summer is to work on his cognitive skills.

As part of this challenge, he has also launched two other projects, a Facebook group called “Anything is Possible – Brain Injury Survivor Support Group,” which has gained more than 120 members in the few weeks since launching, and bi-monthly Zoom calls with 50 other brain injury survivors in collaboration with Genwell Project.

“I’ve made new friends, contacts and support through this challenge,” he said. “I could not speak for six months and now you can’t shut me up!”

One year from now, he aspires to do a TEDx talk on the topic, “What is your purpose in life?”

While he works towards that, he’ll continue supporting others and fulfilling his self-proclaimed calling of giving back.

He spends his time speaking to students in an effort to provide hope and a positive outlook on life, and fundraising for organizations such as the Coast Mental Health Foundation.

On Saturday, May 14, the foundation is holding its 24th annual Courage To Come Back Awards, bringing inspiring and courageous stories to viewers’ living rooms. Ten years ago, Coss was a recipient of the award.

READ MORE: Langley man organizes cross-country video conversation for brain injury survivors

ALSO: VIDEO – How a group of Langley brain injury survivors came to help a Surrey mom

“This award gave me a new wind in my rehab sails, a new bounce in my step and a new purpose in life,” he said, he aid at the time.

The commercial-free event begins at 4:30 p.m. on Global TV and online at vancouver.citynews.ca. Learn more at couragetocomeback.ca.

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