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BEHIND THE SCENES: New chapter in life for Barrie author

BarrieToday reporter Shawn Gibson takes us behind the scenes to tell John Belanger's personal story of tragedy and triumph

In the lead-up to Father's Day, a daughter proudly shares the inspiring story of her father, John Belanger.

John, a dedicated general contractor from Barrie, worked tirelessly for more than 30 years while enjoying outdoor activities such as snowboarding and cycling with his children.

However, their lives took a tragic turn on Aug. 31, 2014, when John was involved in a severe car accident, resulting in a brain injury and lasting physical challenges.

Despite these hardships, John's remarkable journey of recovery and subsequent achievements have become a true inspiration for his family.

Following the accident, John experienced a dark period of his life, spending hours in a dark room and struggling with his physical and mental health.

But during this challenging time, he began receiving creative ideas in the form of dreams and thoughts. Motivated to capture these ideas, John started writing them down. Encouraged by his occupational therapist, he was provided with an iPad to aid his writing process.

Within six months of the accident, John completed his first book, followed by numerous others, including The Grim Factory and Daddy: Open Doors That Only He Sees.

Prior to the accident, John had little experience in writing and had not been an avid reader. However, his determination and newfound passion for storytelling led him to develop his writing skills significantly.

With the support of his wife, Barb, John acquired a MacBook Air to store his growing collection of notes and books. While his recovery has been remarkable, some challenges remain, including memory issues, depth perception, and peripheral vision.

John's daughter, Alyssa Rowe, reflects on her father's journey, marvelling at his progress since the accident. She highlights how writing became a therapeutic outlet for him, allowing him to explore new worlds and reclaim his mobility. Rowe admires her parents' resilience in the face of adversity and cherishes the joy they have found in their transformed lives.

John's book, Daddy: Open Doors That Only He Sees, is set to be published by Page Publishing in the United States in the near future. With his story, John hopes to inspire others, emphasizing that no matter the circumstances, one should never give up but instead persevere and push through the challenges. John's journey serves as a testament to the power of determination and the possibilities that lie beyond seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

Video Summary:

In 2014, John Belanger was involved in a devastating car accident that left him with severe injuries, including a traumatic brain injury. Initially unable to communicate or engage in daily activities, John's occupational therapist provided him with an iPad, realizing that he was writing down words and stories. This marked the beginning of his journey as a writer.

Despite having no prior experience in writing, John went on to write over 40 books, including stories about a father with magical powers and abused children. His books received positive responses from publishers and readers alike.

While John's newfound passion for writing has significantly impacted his life, he still faces challenges. He spends hours in a dark room due to sensitivity to light and has memory issues. However, he and his wife have found joy in spending time with family and witnessing his remarkable progress. Although it is a full-time job for both of them, they have embraced their new reality and remain a strong team.

John's story is a testament to resilience and determination in the face of adversity. His journey from a construction worker to a published author showcases the transformative power of pursuing one's passions, even in the most unexpected circumstances.