WRITING has helped a Shoreham man to overcome many obstacles in his life.
Now, he hopes his experiences will help to inspire others and show that anything is possible.
Patrick Souiljaert, of Emerald Quay, Shoreham Beach, has written the book Stairs For Breakfast and is now working towards getting it published.
The 40-year-old has cerebral palsy, so he typed it all with his left index finger.
“I thought about it for two-and-a-half years, then I started and I did it every day for 15 months,” he said.
“I feel I have got a gift, I inspire people and my story is full of humour. I have overcome so many obstacles that people don’t realise.”
These include a tough time at boarding school, as well as dealing with his condition.
“By writing the book, it helped me to overcome these obstacles and it is only by writing the book that I have found peace with myself. It will help so many people.
“The thing I want to do most of all is to become a public speaker because it will enable me to help and inspire people to overcome and achieve what they want in life and my book will provide me with a platform to become a public speaker. I would like to inspire the world.”
Mr Souiljaert had his first experience of public speaking at Shoreham and Southwick Rotary Club earlier this month.
“I did extremely well and it was a good first step into public speaking,” he said.
Born in Bromley, Kent, Mr Souiljaert moved to Belgium when he was two but returned to England in 1984 and Shoreham is now home.
He was a BT software engineer for some years but moved into property investment four years ago.
“At BT I was getting frustrated,” he explained. “I knew I wanted to do something a bit special. When I went to my first property investment meeting, I understood it and thought this was it.”
Having bought two flats in Worthing, he then started to think about writing a book about his life.
The title came from a comment he made to an estate agent in 2011. He was waiting to view a second-floor flat and when told there was no lift, he said ‘don’t worry, I eat stairs for breakfast’.
Mr Souiljaert learned to walk with a frame at the age of 10 but he could go down stairs at eight years old, by going sideways and holding the bannister.
“When I was little I could crawl up and down the stairs at home,” he added.
Writing the book has taught him a lot, he said.
“I have learned a lot about success and how to be successful. When you do something you love, you will do well.”
The book starts at the beginning of his life. His mum had to be induced due to extremely high blood pressure and he was born nearly two weeks early.
The umbilical cord was twisted and wrapped around his neck, so he could not breathe for the first four minutes. Although his parents were warned he might have difficulties, it was not until he was nine months old that he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
“You might see me as being very disabled but in my mind I’m a regular independent guy because there’s nothing I cannot do,” he said.
Visit stairsforbreakfast.com to pre-order the book and find out more information.