17 Dec 2012 by Adeline Lum CM-
Daniel Lee was born with brittle bones, a condition both of his sisters had but they grew up walking normally. Daniel, on the other hand, was an “active” boy, falling and breaking his bones many times, which confined him to a wheelchair since young.
He grew up as a shy, reserved, low self esteem boy.
“In the past, I never said hi to people before they say hi to me,” recalled Daniel.
Growing up in Jerantut, Pahang, he attended church and believed that Jesus is his Lord and Savior when he was 16 years old. However, he did not grow much in his faith until he came to study in Kolej Tunku Abdul Rahman (KTAR) where he stayed with housemates who joined the campus Christian Fellowship (CF).
“At that time, I didn’t know much about Christianity and denominations,” said Daniel.
But his CF mentor took him under his wing and taught him leadership skills which help to build his confidence. Hence, even after graduation, he is still actively mentoring the students in CF.
Looking back into his life, his suffering has a reason.
“Through my condition, I hope to encourage people,” said Daniel who felt that God had given him a grace to impact people from his sharing.
Although he had an option to do an advanced diploma in UK, he rejected the option after praying for eight months. He felt that God wanted him to become a motivational speaker to touch lives. Around that time, he also met Alex Au Yong, ambassador for RUN NAT, and Victor Chua who is the founder of RUN NAT. Daniel was then hired to become the RUN NAT ambassador around that time as well.
His first run was the 10 km Standard Chartered run. After that, he was asked to join in a fully-funded OKU (Orang Kurang Upaya) run in Facebook, involving 180 participants!
“I saw a lot of people on wheelchairs like me. It was like a paralympic and I wanted to win,” said Daniel whose hopes were dashed when he met the number one wheelchair runner.
When he was on a wheelchair, he felt that it was easier for him to make a difference and impact people with his life. But when he was amidst the crowd of people also on wheelchairs, he suddenly felt normal which humbled him.
“I was there to encourage people along the way. The race was 3 km and I still remember this buffed, tattooed and cool guy with a bandana. I thought he was going to win!” recalled Daniel.
The race started and he focused in passing the person in front of him. Before he realized, he was already at the third place! And finally he won the race by a 43 seconds lead from the cool guy at the second place.
Because of that, he was offered a wheelchair racing training and scholarship from Negeri Sembilan. But he knew God wanted him to be in Kuala Lumpur, so he declined the offer and was offered a position in KL for wheelchair racing.
However, while his heart is in wheelchair racing, he wrestled with God because he was also offered training to volleyball training after a trial session.
“Both of the coaches (volleyball and wheelchair-racing) wanted me to represent these two sports nationally. Both are good opportunities but I wanted to race,” said Daniel. “However, after thinking, I wanted wheelchair training because in wheelchair race, it is only Daniel winning. But in a volleyball league, it’s the whole team winning.”
He realized his love for the race was due to the desire to self-glory and self-recognition. So, he chose volleyball training, whereby he would participate in the National Paralympic Youth hosted by Malaysia in 2013. A total of 41 countries would be taking part!
“Character is tested working in a team especially when you lose… Do you show Christ?” said Daniel realizing God’s way in humbling him.
With talent endowed in both sports, only after two weeks of training in volleyball, he represented Selangor to Kuantan for volley ball training.
“I only fear that I’ll lose sight of God amidst everything. I need to remember to seek his face, not only looking at his hand in giving blessings,” said Daniel quoting Psalm 119:105
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
In 2016, he will be representing Malaysia in a short-term Paralympic Sports in Rio De Generia in Brazil.
“I never see myself in sports and how God has blessed me with this unknown talent,” said Daniel seeing sports as an avenue to inspire and share the gospel.
God has a plan for you, even though you think you do not have anything to offer. When you take tiny steps to follow God through His Word, He would show and light your path like Psalm 119:105.